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Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery

Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery [Kindle Edition]

M. Louisa Locke
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

It’s the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie’s husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt.

Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl’s clients, Matthew Voss, has died. The police believe his death was suicide brought upon by bankruptcy, but Annie believes Voss has been murdered and that his assets have been stolen.

Nate Dawson has a problem. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to believe that Matthew Voss didn't leave his grieving family destitute. But that would mean working with Annie Fuller, a woman who alternatively attracts and infuriates him as she shatters every notion he ever had of proper ladylike behavior.

Sparks fly as Anne and Nate pursue the truth about the murder of Matthew Voss in this light-hearted, cozy historical mystery set in the foggy gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco.

Maids of Misfortune is the first book in M. Louisa Locke’s historical mystery series, see also, Uneasy Spirits, and Bloody Lessons, as well as the two short stories based on the characters from the novels, Dandy Detects, and The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage.

About the Author

M. Louisa Locke is a retired U.S and Women's history professor who has embarked on a new career with the publication of her best-selling Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, including Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, Bloody Lessons, and her short stories.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3152 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Z13UGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #872 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

For over twenty years, M. Louisa Locke was a professor of U.S. Women's history. Now retired, she has taken her story telling in a new direction with the publication of Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery, based on the research she did for her doctoral dissertation on working women in the U.S Far West.

Maids of Misfortune was a finalist in the historical fiction category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and is currently on the historical mystery bestseller category in the US and UK Kindle Bookstore. Her short story, Dandy Detects, is based on characters from the novel.

For those of you have read Maids of Misfortune, or Dandy Detects, Locke would love to hear from you, and would really appreciate if you could spend a few minutes writing a review on

Locke is currently living in San Diego with her husband and assorted animals, where she is working on Uneasy Spirits, the next installment of her series of historical mysteries set in Victorian San Francisco. If you are interested in learning more about the Victorian San Francisco and the events portrayed in her books, join her author page on facebook at

Locke also writes about her experiences as a self-published author in her blog, The Front Parlor, and she is a regular contributor to the website on self-publishing, Publetariat.

For more about M. Louisa Locke and her work, see

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and absorbing 2 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this during a free promotion, and I'm so glad I did! Not only is it one of the best freebies I've ever read, it's also right up there amongst my favourite books of the year. The characters are so well drawn - historically accurate, but with enough contemporary relevance to bring this story fully to life. I hate it that I've finished the book, already I'm missing Annie and Nate and the world they inhabit, and I can't wait to download more of Lousia Locke's books. This is engrossing, satisfying, cleverly plotted, historically fascinating, and just downright well-written. Buy it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing historical tale 17 April 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved the character of Annie Fuller from the first page. Already a widow at the age of twenty-six, she's been pushed around, mistreated, gone from wealth right down to destitution and still pulled herself back. As the story opens, we find her the owner of a respectable boarding house, enjoying the independence she deserves. And if I had to describe Annie Fuller in one word, 'independent' is the word I would use. Nobody tells this lady how to behave!

She augments her modest living by masquerading as a clairvoyant, specialising in business advice. It's the only way that men of the 1870s would accept financial guidance from a woman - a pity, as Annie is very good at it indeed. Then one of her favourite clients is killed. The police say it is suicide, but Annie is certain it was murder.

To make matters worse, a creditor of her dead husband's is trying to collect an old debt from Annie which she cannot pay. The only way she can avoid losing her home is to solve the mystery of Matthew Voss's death - and in the process find out what became of the assets he left to her in his will. Annie's a determined woman. With the help of the stubborn but loveable lawyer, Nate Dawson, there's nothing she won't do to learn the truth about the mysterious Voss family and the night that Matthew was killed.

I enjoyed the historical details in this tale, and the writing style is lively and easy to read. Its real strength, though, is the characters. They're believable, interesting, and they really do seem to be visiting straight from the 1870s. I'm looking forward to the next book from this author.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the first book in the new Victorian San Francisco Mystery series by M. Louisa Locke. In 1879 San Francisco, young widow Annie Fuller struggles to survive after her late husband left her penniless and in debt, with only a boardinghouse to provide her a small income. Although Annie is a financial genius, being a woman prevents her from finding work as a financial consultant, thus she creates as her alter ego, Madam Sybil a clairvoyant specialising in business advice. Surprisingly as Sybil, she becomes successful as it seems that men prefer getting advice from a fortune teller than from an intelligent woman who understands the economy. When her client and friend, Matthew Voss is found dead, Annie starts to investigate his murder with the help of the Voss family lawyer, young and attractive Nate Dawson.

This historical mystery is very well written and gripping and the atmosphere of 1870's San Francisco is excellent. The characters, especially Annie and Nate, are very well developed and likable. What I loved most however, is the very realistic way the author describes women of that period; apart from Annie, there are most 'stereotypes' of Victorian women, from the upper class housewife to the poor young maidservant. Annie in particular is a fine example of how difficult it must have been for intelligent, active women to remain proper and ladylike, and for proper gentlemen to accept them as equals. Also, there are some details of everyday difficulties women probably had to endure; my personal favorite was sitting gracefully for a picnic, wearing an 1870's dress.

In total, a great atmospheric mystery with well developed characters and fascinating plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 20 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book. The story was coherent, characters interesting and the historical background, as far as I could tell is accurate. It was also a pleasure to read a Kindle book so free from errors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sceptical clairvoyant 12 Aug 2012
By AnneDon
Format:Kindle Edition
A very enjoyable, lengthy mystery, with a cast of interesting characters, and a well-plotted story.

Annie Fuller lives in a large house in San Francisco in 1879, which she has inherited. She supplements her income by posing as a clairvoyant called Madame Sybil, in order to give advice to members of the public. She uses her ability to 'cold read' people, and her understanding of the financial markets, to give advice to business people and others.

When one of her clients dies, apparently by his own hand, Annie is convinced he would not commit suicide, and investigates the case.

I enjoyed this story, which I found detailed and convincing. Several possible suspects appear, and the conclusion is very satisfying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved the way I was drawn straight into the life of Annie, a young widow running a boarding house and who mascarades as a clairvoyant to make ends meet. One of her clients dies and to all intents and purposes it looks like suicide, but not to Annie who find anomalies in the subsequent reporting of his death as well as vital business papers missing that lead her to suspect murder. Then she leaps on the trail even though she is discouraged at every turn because she is 'a lady' and this kind of activity is deemed as 'unbecoming' and thus frustrates her so. But she is unstoppable, knows her own mind and no one is going to tell her what to do...not even Nate, the lawyer who becomes involved in the case and against his better judgement it looks as though he'd like to get equally as involved with Annie (adding a bit of 'will-they-won't-they' to the overall storyline)

The story was enthralling and there were a sufficient number of red herrings and twists that made you think you knew who had committed the crime until another twist sends you off in a different direction. I am absolutely thrilled as an avid reader to have discovered M.Louisa Locke. Think Murdoch Mysteries and you will find Ms Locke's mysteries along similar lines but with a female sleuth, and heaps better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Love this author, strong female character struggling at a time when women did not really have careers. Have read 2 of her books now and will be looking out for some more!
Published 4 months ago by dm
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
Really enjoyed this as it's set in an unusual time period and well written, especially the characterisation.
Published 4 months ago by Solo
5.0 out of 5 stars A great mystery story with a Victorian heroine ahead of her time
I lapped up this pacy mystery featuring a feisty young Victorian widow who doesn't let herself be bound by convention and social pressure. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Debbie Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical crime novel
I actually read this third after the second and third in the series, and as such it made a nice prequel. Annie Fuller is a well drawn character with whom we can easily identify. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Orion
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual setting
And an interesting tale. 19th century San Francisco is well conceived and presented and the story ha satisfactory twists and turns. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ferdinand Po
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall very entertaining
If the site allowed I would give 3.5 stars, but as it does not I will round up

The blurb for this book hooked my attention, and when I started reading I was instantly... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Laura of Lurking
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical romance thriller
This is a very readable historical romance which is also a thriller. There is a mixture of characters, although some of them are stereotypes. Read more
Published 14 months ago by DJW13
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful read
I loved this book and the character of Annie Fuller. Would recommend this it is a great who dunnit, it is exceptionally well written in a way that draws you straight into the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ms Judith Connett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, couldn't put it down.
I loved this book. The feisty heroine was real and I felt for her situation. The picture of San Francisco society was vivid and convincing and the love story certainly had me... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Misha Dragonfire
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, I Love it
If you like historical crime drama but also a strong female protagonist then give this a try, its well worth it.
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
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