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Strong Spirits (A Daisy Gumm Majesty Mystery, Book 1) by [Duncan, Alice]
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Strong Spirits (A Daisy Gumm Majesty Mystery, Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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From Booklist

With her husband, Billy, an invalid as a result of mustard gas during the First World War, Daisy Gumm Majesty is doing her part to support her family. Daisy and Billy live with her parents and her aunt in a little bungalow in Pasadena, and although her parents approve of her unusual work, her husband is not too happy. But Daisy, a medium to the rich and famous, perseveres. Holding seances and interpreting tarot cards, she has built up quite a reputation. One client, in particular, has a great need for her services. Mrs. Kincaid relies on Daisy's advice on a regular basis. When the wealthy Kincaids become involved in bank fraud, Daisy is asked to keep her eyes and ears open by Detective Sam Rotondo. Although Sam and Daisy bristle in each other's company, she does agree to help him out. Duncan's tale teems with period detail, but it is her characters who make it so enjoyable, especially effervescent Daisy. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Description

It's the 1920s and Daisy Gumm Majesty is doing her part to support her family as a medium by holding séances and interpreting tarot cards for the rich and famous.

When the wealthy Mrs. Kincaid comes to Daisy to help solve her husband's disappearance, Detective Sam Rotondo isn't far behind.

Sam isn't fooled by Daisy's choice of "vocation" and blackmails her into spying on the Kincaids.

Then Daisy reads Sam's cards... and the tables turn.

Romantic Times Top Pick
Reviewer's Choice Awards, finalist

"...teems with period detail... [and] characters who make it so enjoyable, especially effervescent Daisy." ~Booklist

Strong Spirits
Fine Spirits
High Spirits
Hungry Spirits
Genteel Spirits
Ancient Spirits

In an effort to avoid what she knew she should be doing, Alice folk-danced professionally until her writing muse finally had its way. Now a resident of Roswell, New Mexico, Alice enjoys saying no smog, no crowds, and yes to loving her herd of wild dachshunds.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2807 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: ePublishing Works! (Aug. 23 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #346,732 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
Twenty-year-old Daisy Gumm Majesty makes her living reading tarot cards and communicating with the deceased relatives of rich clients. Daisy’s favorite client, Mrs. Kincaid, desperately needs her services when her family begins to unravel. Wild daughter Stacy is arrested for drinking in a speakeasy. Days later, Mrs. Kincaid’s nasty husband goes missing. Stacy accuses the stable boy, Quincy, of murdering him, but Daisy isn’t sure that Kincaid is even dead. Unfortunately, the investigating detective thinks he is. Given that he doesn’t approve of Daisy’s career, she also comes under suspicion.

Strong Spirits is the first in this cozy mystery series set in 1920, Pasadena, California. The author provides so much detail about Daisy’s life that I wouldn’t have guessed this was a mystery in the first half of the book if it hadn’t been labeled as such. Only at the halfway point, when Kincaid goes missing, does the mystery really get going. Even then there is only one clear suspect, yet two or three others have motives that could have been fleshed out a great deal more. There’s not a lot of tension and suspense, but there is a great deal of historical flavor that reflects different social and moral codes from today. Fans of this genre will no doubt be entertained.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Set toward the beginning of the twentieth century. At the young age of ten, Daisy Gumm found her calling as a Medium. Back then Daisy considered it fun to set up an Ouija Board, pretend to have a spiritual control named Rolly, and communicate with the dead. Daisy was often paid to attend parties and conduct séances. At the age of seventeen, Daisy married William “Billy” Majesty and the United States entered the “Great War”. In a chain-of-events, Daisy wed Billy in April, he went off to war, and in June the Kaiser’s men gassed Billy out of his trench before shooting him. When Billy was finally well enough to return to his home in Pasadena, California, he was confined to a wheelchair, his lungs were ruined, his legs were bad, and Daisy suddenly had to make a living for their families. (Other relatives lived with them.)

Once the war is over, the spiritualist movement booms. Those with money turn to people like Daisy for comfort. By this I mean Daisy and her Ouija Board are hired to perform séances to help ease the minds of family members who have lost someone unexpectedly. Daisy considers what she does as spiritual healing. Daisy’s best customer is Mrs. Madeline Kincaid, who has been hiring her since Daisy first found her calling. Daisy knows others who work for the Kincaid family. Aunt Vi is the cook and her best friend, Edie, is a maid. In fact, Edie has just become engaged to another Kincaid employee, Quincy. Now that you know a few, but not nearly all, of the people involved, on with the mystery.

Daisy is not surprised when a hysterical Mrs. Kincaid phones and claims that she is needed right away. Daisy arrives at the Kincaid mansion to find chaos. (Nothing unusual.) This time, Mrs.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Heroine:  average
      Redheaded Daisy Gumm Majesty is not your average 1920s spiritual medium. Rather, she's a canny and perceptive girl who lacks an actual connection to the "other side", but who uses her unique understanding of the human condition as a "spiritual counselor" to make a good living for her family, including a young husband ruined from fighting the Huns in Germany.
Unfortunately, Daisy's chosen career is just a tad bit illegal as the police would see it more as fortune telling than psychological and emotional assistance. Not that any of her wealthy, satisfied (if a bit flighty) customers would ever dream of turning her in, but Daisy's wheelchair-bound husband's new best friend is none other than her own archenemy Detective Sam Rotondo, a cranky police officer who just misses catching her in the act of her questionable occupation with alarming frequency. But the brusque cop may be willing to overlook Daisy's profession as it appears that her countless social connections would make an excellent unofficial snoop for his cases.
Now if only this card-carrying choir member con-artist can just get past her morally superior ethics and agree!
What worked for me:
Sweet and lovable Daisy is just darling, if a bit garrulous! She's so sincere in her belief that she is helping people that you almost forget that she's truly a con-artist in the eyes of the law. The rest of the cast of characters are also very real and sympathetic. I easily could envision before and after "the Big War" images of Daisy's broken young husband Billy. (Shades of Lord Chatterley, anyone?)
Size-wise Daisy is a bit curvier than is fashionable for the era of boyish flappers, but she doesn't reflect on it very much.
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Alice Duncan has published a couple dozen novels, mainly Western
romances. With "Strong Spirits," she ventures out into the comic
romance arena to wonderful effect. The book stars Daisy Majesty, a
bright, somewhat cynical young lady who reads fortunes and holds
seances for a living, and who tells us -- in a chatty, charming, and
humorous voice -- of her misadventures in the world of the rich and
cunning in 1920s Pasadena. Her main client is the beleaguered Mrs.
Kincaid, whose wealth cannot shield her from many family problems,
chief among which is her penurious, cranky, mean husband. When Mr.
Kincaid disappears, along with a pile of bank notes, pandemonium
ensues, and Daisy must navigate skillfully between the demands of
Mrs. Kincaid and the suspicions of the attractive, albeit rather
grumpy, Detective Sam Rotondo. Meanwhile, Daisy has a war-invalid
husband smouldering at home, and her love for him is tempered by her
frustrations with his moods. How will she deal with all this? Much,
but not all, is resolved in this book, and Daisy is scheduled to
appear again in subsequent volumes.
Daisy's voice is often sardonic, sometimes hilarious. The author
achieves the breezy charm of someone telling a wonderful story off
the cuff, as if over coffee and biscuits, though sometimes Daisy
indulges her every thought to the reader's dismay. Still, she can
elicit guffaws. Here are a few samples (one or two of which bring to
mind Mark Twain):
"According to my mother, a sharp smack delivered to the rear portion
of the anatomy did wonders to clear up fuzzy thinking in the head
portion of the same body.
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