14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
GRIPPING & ATMOSPHERIC HISTORICAL MYSTERY,
This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (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. So far, there is also a short story; Dandy Detects: A Victorian San Francisco Story, and the second novel Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery, published in this series
A note on the Kindle edition: I only found a few errors and for some reason some sentences were underlined, other then that, it was extremely easy to download, and a pleasure to read.