Uneasy Spirits by M. Louisa Locke

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    This is a skillfully crafted mystery with wonderful recurring characters who are the kind of people that live with the reader long after the book is finished. And of course, the bad and really bad characters get what’s coming to them… perfect!

     

    In this sequel to Maids of Misfortune, it is the fall of 1879 and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, has a problem. Despite her growing financial success as the clairvoyant Madam Sibyl, Annie doesn’t believe in the astrology and palmistry her clients think are the basis for her advice.

    Kathleen Hennessey, Annie Fuller’s young Irish maid, has a plan. When her mistress is asked to expose a fraudulent trance medium, Arabella Frampton, Kathleen is determined to assist in the investigation, just like the Pinkerton detectives she has read about in the dime novels.

    Nate Dawson, up-and-coming San Francisco lawyer, has a dilemma. He wants to marry the unconventional Annie Fuller, but he doesn’t feel he can reveal his true feelings until he has a way to make enough money to support her.

    In Uneasy Spirits, this cozy historical mystery of romantic suspense, Annie delves into the intriguing world of 19th century spiritualism, encountering true believers and naïve dupes, clever frauds and unexplained supernatural phenomena. She will soon find there are as many secrets as there are spirits swirling around the Frampton séance table. Some of those secrets will threaten the foundation of her career as Madam Sibyl and the future of her relationship with Nate Dawson, and, in time, they will threaten her very life itself.

    Uneasy Spirits is the second book in M. Louisa Locke’s Victorian historical mystery series, followed by Bloody Lessons. There are currently two short stories based on the characters from the novels, Dandy Detects, The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage and Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong.

    Review by Cate G:

    M. Louisa Locke
    M. Louisa Locke

    Physic mediums, real or not. That is the question Annie Fuller must figure out. With the help of her friend Nate Dawson she starts investigating.

    Little does Annie know what dangers lay ahead for her and her friends. She must try to save a very mystical young lady who is held virtually captive by some very bad people. She appears to be free to do what she wants, but they really do control her live. Annie is determined, with help from Nate to free the young lady. Danger is in store for all.

    Review by R. P. Dahlke:

    This is Ms. Locke’s delightful sequel to Maids of Misfortune, and the second in the Annie Fuller historical mystery series. Set in the late 1800’s in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco, California, I felt like I was there, walking these streets as they were a hundred years ago.

    By day, Annie Fuller makes her living as the proprietor of a respectable and well established boarding house, but at night, she becomes Madame Sybil, fortune teller. Annie may have been brought up studying finance at her father’s knee, but this is the only way any grown man in the 1800’s will accept the financial advice from a twenty-six year old woman, much less pay for the privilege. And, Annie, has finally found someone who isn’t like her dead husband in the attractive young lawyer, Nate Dawson whose awkwardness around Annie, is both touching and charming.

    The story opens with the scene in which we witness the murder of an elderly woman, and in a totally separate venue, we’re introduced to a very strange young girl. The two incidents, we later learn, are intricately woven together and the result will culminate in a surprise ending.

    Annie gets involved when one of her boarders, Miss Pinehurst, fearing for her sister’s sanity, begs Annie to help her prove that the clairvoyants her sister insists upon paying, are fake. Stepping into the world of Simon and Arabella Frampton, Annie is sure that Miss Pinehurst is right and determines to expose them… until she meets with Evie May, the odd child we saw in the beginning.

    Evie May is a chameleon, a child whose different personas are used by the unscrupulous Simon and Arabella Frampton as a way of making lots of money.

    But, there’s a more sinister plot underway here between the Framptons and a shadowy figure who is actually directing the whole show from the sidelines.

    Nate and Annie become pawns of this person’s nefarious plans, and though we don’t find out who this person is until almost the end, there’s every reason to believe that one or both of these young people may become the next victim.

    This is a skillfully crafted mystery with wonderful recurring characters who are the kind of people that live with the reader long after the book is finished. And of course, the bad and really bad characters get what’s coming to them… perfect!

    Last, but not least, when I read this book I was reminded of one of my favorite historical mystery authors, Anne Perry. I’ve read almost all of her books, and I can honestly say that Ms. Lock’s work is right up there with Anne Perry’s.