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Daisy Gumm Majesty Mystery #1
on 20 November 2013
Set toward the beginning of the twentieth century. At the young age of ten, Daisy Gumm found her calling as a Medium. Back then Daisy considered it fun to set up an Ouija Board, pretend to have a spiritual control named Rolly, and communicate with the dead. Daisy was often paid to attend parties and conduct séances. At the age of seventeen, Daisy married William "Billy" Majesty and the United States entered the "Great War". In a chain-of-events, Daisy wed Billy in April, he went off to war, and in June the Kaiser's men gassed Billy out of his trench before shooting him. When Billy was finally well enough to return to his home in Pasadena, California, he was confined to a wheelchair, his lungs were ruined, his legs were bad, and Daisy suddenly had to make a living for their families. (Other relatives lived with them.)
Once the war is over, the spiritualist movement booms. Those with money turn to people like Daisy for comfort. By this I mean Daisy and her Ouija Board are hired to perform séances to help ease the minds of family members who have lost someone unexpectedly. Daisy considers what she does as spiritual healing. Daisy's best customer is Mrs. Madeline Kincaid, who has been hiring her since Daisy first found her calling. Daisy knows others who work for the Kincaid family. Aunt Vi is the cook and her best friend, Edie, is a maid. In fact, Edie has just become engaged to another Kincaid employee, Quincy. Now that you know a few, but not nearly all, of the people involved, on with the mystery.
Daisy is not surprised when a hysterical Mrs. Kincaid phones and claims that she is needed right away. Daisy arrives at the Kincaid mansion to find chaos. (Nothing unusual.) This time, Mrs. Kincaid's handicapped husband, Eustace, has disappeared during the night after having a heated argument with Quincy, who has also vanished without a trace. Detective Sam Rotondo, who makes it clear that he does not approve of Daisy's profession, seems to be jumping to conclusions. To make matters worse, several thousand dollars worth of bearer bonds have gone missing from the bank (owned by the Kincaid family.) Edie is worried about Quincy. Mrs. Kincaid's spoiled daughter keeps having tantrums and screams about Quincy killing her father. The son seems to be the only sane member of the Kincaid family. The detective is doing everything possible to irritate Daisy. And Aunt Vi is totally calm as she cooks and keeps repeating that all would be okay because Daisy will handle it. Good thing Daisy loves a good mystery.
***** FIVE STARS! This entire series is perfect for fans of old detective shows and mystery novels. The author has chosen an interesting time period of America's history in which to set the series too. Women have (just been given) the right to vote, the nation is still devastated by the World War, families often live together in order to make ends meet, disabled vets receive little in compensation, party phone lines, automobiles need to be hand cranked...As you can see, so much is changing and life is uncertain. I do not believe the author could have picked a better time for someone as strong as Daisy to live in.
The author's writing style is also interesting. Everything is told from Daisy's view point. Picture yourself going over to your best friend's house and sitting down in a cozy living room with hot coffee or tea within reach. Now imagine your friend's name is Daisy. Daisy is loving, energetic, her world is insane, and yet Daisy is calmly telling you about her day. Nothing strange to Daisy; just a typical day. This is exactly the feeling I had throughout the entire story. Daisy became my friend. I came to know her and respect her while, at the same time, I got to test my wits against a good old fashioned mystery. I cannot explain how terrific this story actually is and I feel sorry for anyone who misses it. Highly recommended! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.