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3.7 out of 5 stars27
3.7 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 23 January 2014
this is the first Daisy Gumm book I have read and I will certainly read the others in this series. The heroine, if you can call her that, is young and doesn't take herself too seriously! She seems to fall into death and disaster by accident rather than choice, but her kind heart ensures she follows through to the end. By the end of the book you actually care about the characters and hope for the traditional happy ending ,not "she married the prince and they all lived happily ever after ", but rather that good triumphs! I think this will appeal to anyone who wants an entertaining read on a wet weekend to cheer themselves up.
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on 8 January 2014
Strong Spirits is set in America just after the end of World War I. Daisy Gumm is a delightful character, smart, pretty and with strong moral values despite or maybe because of her chosen profession of spiritualist and clairvoyant. The fact that she chose her calling points fairly and squarely to her being a fake and she certainly believes she is but is she? The descriptive writing is superb, vividly stimulating the senses of smell, sight, touch and taste. The book gives you a fascinating insight into the political and social scene at that time and into the huge divide between rich and poor, privileged and working classes. Despite Daisy's job, which is very lucrative for her and her family, she can be very naïve and she is very much an innocent and not nearly as sophisticated as she would like to be. Although I very much enjoyed reading about the fascinating characters in the book, at times I did wish Daisy would get to the point and get on with the story. Apart from that, it was a fun read with characters that draw you in and leave you wanting more.
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on 27 January 2014
sorry alice duncan but this book is so boring. if you cannot sleep at night then this is the book for you. you will have a good nights sleep after a few pages. l just wanted to shake daisy gumm. not for me.
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on 29 October 2013
After reading the two five star reviews I downloaded this book as it sounded fun. I managed two chapters before boredom set in. What book were the other reviewers reading?
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on 3 January 2015
This is a good story but there are frequent mistakes in spelling and sense. It would benefit from proofreading and revision. It's also marred by too much irrelevant detail and waffling such as the details about the gardens and the society gossip that Daisy doesn't like. The gossip plays no part in the story and doesn't need to be there. It felt difficult to keep on reading sometimes but I managed to get to the end.
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on 27 October 2013
Honestly, I only downloaded Strong Spirits because it was a freebie and I needed to "load up" my Kindle for a week's holiday so I was very pleased and surprised to enjoy it much much more than I expected to. Daisy is a delightful character and her "voice" is so well written - the story speeds along nicely and all the characters are well-formed and easy to imagine. Enjoyed it so much that I've since paid for the next two in the series and will soon be buying number four. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a quirky bit of mystery and humour.
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on 27 December 2014
Nicely drawn characters and a feisty heroine though I did feel that she was inclined to repeat herself too often regarding her views on rich people and her own and her husband's situation. There was a hint that she might not be quite the fake medium she thinks she is but I t think I'd have liked a bigger hint! That said, a very enjoyable read that left me wanting to get to know Daisy better.
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on 30 January 2016
Grabbed when it was free and glad that is the case as I wouldnt want to spend too much on it!
Its not brilliant and to be quite honest I began to flag somewhat and had to more or less make myself stick it out. It did have some good points but not enough to lead me in to the next book if it involves parting with my hard earned cash.
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on 12 February 2015
Quite a modern turn to an early 20th century setting. Daisy is an almost believable heroine, very forward thinking for her era. A bit more info on the villain and his antics would have been good as his dastardly ways were only touched on really. It was a good read though and kept me entertained.
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