“Hey I like it! Engaging characters, good story line.”see full review » see other reviews »
“Good clean victorian era story. Annie is a bording house owner and palm reader on the side. She gets involved in crimes and has help from a lawyer... good looking lawyer this is book 2”Kristy B wrote this review Wednesday, October 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Hey I like it! Engaging characters, good story line.”S V M wrote this review Saturday, August 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“388p 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, the first is Maids of Misfortune, and there are currently two short stories based on the characters from the novels, Dandy Detects, and The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage.”
“Exciting and Entertaining
The year was 1879. Annie Fuller, a widow, had inherited a large old house in San Francisco from her Aunt and she turned it into a boarding house as an income for herself. But she couldn’t make enough income in order to financially live. She had been well trained by her father who had been a successful stockbroker and if she had been a man, she could have earned money advising men how to invest their funds, but no one would listen to a woman. So she donned a wig, made up her face and called herself Madam Sybil who could advise people on how to invest their funds. Sometimes she was asked other personal questions, but she used her common sense with her answers. She actually didn’t believe in fortune tellers or mediums and she explained her routine with all of her boarders so they wouldn’t be surprised and none of them seemed to care. She made appointments with clients daily in a little room off of the parlor. To help her with the boarding house were Beatrice O’Rourke, a widow, who did the cooking. Kathleen, an eighteen year old Irish girl who acted as a maid and washer woman.
Annie was rather bitter about her marriage as her deceased husband John had been very abusive. Then she met a young man, Nate Dawson, age thirty, who was a lawyer. He had been raised on a cattle ranch in the hills west of Santa Clara, but wasn’t too interested in the ranch so his brother ran it and inherited it after his father’s death. Nate worked for his Uncle who was a lawyer, but his Uncle never handled anything but wills, probates and no trial matters. Nate after several years hardly made enough to financially survive and was looking for a way to improve himself professionally. He had met Annie before when they had solved the death of a Matthew Voss. But she had misunderstood something he said, they had a spat and he hadn’t been able to fix it. Now he would seek her out as he was enamored with her.
Lucy Pinehurst one of her boarders, knowing that Annie knew something about mediums, was upset because her sister, Sukie Vetch, who had lost her son at age six, was spending much money seeing these mediums Simon and Arabella Frampton as they claimed they were putting her in touch with her son, Charles. Lucy felt that the Framptons were frauds and wanted Annie to find out if they were. Finally Annie agreed. She made up a story about having a deceased son and her father actually was deceased, and made an appointment to meet the mediums and go to their séances.
The story continues with a cast of colorful characters whom Annie meets at the séances, plus those who help Framptons put these séances on and includes many explanations of séances, mediums and can the dead be contacted? There is danger waiting for Annie at every step she takes because of her snooping. This story was a page turner for me and thoroughly entertaining and exciting. I highly recommend it.
“Kindle”Margie wrote this review Saturday, November 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book is the second book in the Victorian San Francisco series, but it was the first on that I read. I had no trouble reading it without having read the first one without it spoiling the earlier mystery though it does take up with the inter-character relationships where it left off.
There is a prologue and little flash away bits at the end of each chapter that are seemingly detached from the main story line, but they do eventually make sense when it all ties together. The prologue tells us about a murder from the victim's perspective.
The main part of the story opens with business as usual for the widowed boarding house owner Annie Fuller. Her husband's death left her destitute so she has turned a home inherited from her uncle and aunt into a boarding house. This does not quite pay the expenses so she tried using her good head for business to become a financial adviser, but that failed because in Victorian times nobody took a woman seriously when it came to that sort of thing. So this forced her to get creative and offer the same advice in disguise as a palm reader and maker of horoscopes. She does not believe in the clairvoyant, but if that's what it takes to give the advice and get paid for it then so be it. It is because of this very knowledge that one of her boarders seeks her out with a family dilemma. Miss Pinehurst's sister is in the snares of an unscrupulous pair who hold seances and the sister Mrs. Veck believes she is now communicating with her lost child. Annie agrees to participate in de-bunking the Framptons by attending their seances.
Meanwhile, Nate Dawson, Annie's lawyer clerk friend and love interest is just returning to town after helping with round up on the family ranch. He is disappointed with the changes at the ranch that have come now that his father is getting too old and his younger brother is now the boss. He is nervous because he left things with Annie in a bad way when he left. A tentative reconciliation takes place as they pair up once again to solve the mystery. Besides the mystery, Nate is also concerned by a possible future career move that might take him away from his place with his uncle who seems content to allow the law firm to stagnate which keeps Nate from the possibility of earning enough to support a wife and family.
He has the typical Victorian male mindset in many ways which are even more exasperated because of his deep feelings for Annie which make him want to protect and provide. Annie's past has caused her to mistrust men and have a strong streak of independence which will not allow her to accept this. Through much of the story, there is a lot of tension which leads to regrettable moments between the two of them. Nate has gradually learned his lesson and is moderately more supportive, but Annie's way behind him on working through her own issues. Her desire to go it her own way has dangerous consequences and may drive the final wedge between them.
The historical backdrop is so authentic and amazing. I'm very familiar with San Francisco so I truly appreciated all the historical references regarding the city, the culture, and even the transportation mentioned. The references to the time period and even the Victorian 'voice' of the story were fascinating. Ms. Locke has a real gift for balancing the historical description without bogging down the plot.
The plot was engaging from the very beginning of the prologue. I liked the blend of the slow way the detecting teased out the facts, relationship building between Annie, Nate and the other characters, and the suspenseful drama that interspersed with the rest. I actually worked out the solution to the mystery of the Framptons and Evie May as well as the prologue murder well before the final solution, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment for the story itself.
The characters are so well written. I love the opportunity that a series can give to a longer story arc for the 'regulars' in the story like Nate and Annie. They dynamics just within Annie's boarding house are pretty interesting as minor characters go. The characters at the seances both who lived in the Frampton household and who came seeking advice were not cardboard characters at all.
It was an enjoyable read and I definitely plan to re-visit this series both to get the first one, but the next one when it comes. If you love a light historical mystery or stories set in the Victorian age, I recommend this one. ”
“I love this series. Locke did a wonderful job. I almost wished it never sneer.”Violet wrote this review Wednesday, March 28, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was such a fun read. Annie Fuller, a part time fortune teller, investigates a family of spiritualists, certain they're frauds and up to something actually sinister. The personal conflict for Annie is very honestly handled and I appreciated that. The relationship between her and Nate develops, which I also liked. But I think what made this so fun was the cast of truly unusual characters, well drawn, complex, and at times downright strange. I'm looking forward to more from this author.”V.R. Christensen wrote this review Monday, February 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This has some very interesting and potentially modern features. I'm impressed with the growth in the plotting from the first book to this one. Usually the second book isn't as good as the first, but I think this one is better.”Cathy E wrote this review Sunday, January 15, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“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.
RPDahlke,, $.99 Kindle author of:
A DEAD RED CADILLAC & A DEAD RED HEART
Mysteries/women sleuths http://tinyurl.com/6hdg3bf