This is a short story based on characters from 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. This little story is set one month after the events of the first novel in the series; Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery. When Barbara Hewitt, one of Annie's lodgers is alarmed by her dog Dandy, she suspects that her unsympathetic neighbor is guilty of a vicious crime, which she investigates with Annie's help.
This historical mystery story is well written and interesting and the atmosphere of 1870's San Francisco is good. However, it is too short for the mystery to be developed and for the characters to become familiar. If you haven't read "Maids of Misfortune", I think that it will be difficult to understand who each person is, as very little information is provided for each person's history.
Considering that it is a very short story, which actually took me about fifteen minutes to read, it seems a bit dishonest to charge so much for it. As this seems to be the first in a series of short stories that feature minor characters from the original novel, it would be better if it was published with the novel or in a collection of short stories.
A note on the Kindle edition: luckily I found no errors, it was extremely easy to download, and a pleasure to read.
I have read and enjoyed several of the books in this series, but this was a real disappointment. I have read much shorter stories with more characterful characters and better plots. It seemed to me obvious from the start what had happened to the missing lady, so the ending was no surprise. I shall continue with the novels, but I won't be bothering with the short stories again.
This is a short story featuring a minor character from M. Louisa Locke's Victorian San Francisco series. Pretty much a classic mystery but with Dandy the dog in a starring role. I liked it, and look forward to more.