From the title of this book to its satisfyingly complex tale, everything in Maids of Misfortune, a Victorian San Francisco Mystery conspires to make this book a winner. Within this work, author, M. Louisa Locke demonstrates both mastery of the mystery genre and an innate ability to build a fictional world filled with complex and satisfying characters.
Take Anne Fuller, Ms Locke's bright and promising new sleuth. Anne's a widow, a somewhat unorthodox spiritual advisor, and the mistress of a boarding house, a boarding house she could lose thanks to one of her deceased husband's unsecured debts.
But Anne is no stranger to the ways of money. The daughter of a gifted financial wizard, Anne learned her business acumen at his knee and is now passing it on to some of her most valued male clients; like Matthew Voss, a successful furniture manufacturer in the city, who is now dead. Suicide is suspected in his death because of alleged business reverses. But Anne knows Voss's business was improving and that the man had no reason to kill himself because of money
So Anne goes under cover to get the goods on what was really going on inside the Voss house -- partly to correct the wrong she feels is being flung at Voss with the thought of his committing suicide and partly to help track down his missing assets. A small part of that money is coming her way through a bequest to her in his will. Anne realizes that those missing assets might help her retain her boarding house, the only means she has of maintaining her independent lifestyle.
And with verve, creativity and pluck, Anne Fuller steps forward to track a killer in what is described byLocke as the first in a series of adventures for this new sleuth. We certainly hope it is the first of many stories for her, as we doubtless will be following the rest of the series with great delight.