Friday, August 17, 2012

A Cozy Mystery: A Fortune's Fool

Fortune's Fool
A Psychic Socialite Story
Author Jane Sevier
When her husband dies and leaves her penniless, a 1930s Memphis socialite becomes a fortuneteller, only to discover she has the true sight. Nell Marchand has never worked a day in her life. When her philandering skunk of a husband suddenly drops dead, leaving her without one red cent to her name, she lands smack dab in the middle of the hard times she has only heard about in newsreels. Nell tries to find a job to support herself and the household that depends on her, really she does. Her typing is a disaster, she cuts off every call in her one day as a telephone operator, and laundress leaves her back aching. There has to be an easier way. A reluctant visit to prosperous Joseph Calendar, her flighty mother-in-law's medium, persuades Nell that there are fortunes to be made in, well, telling fortunes. As society fortuneteller Madame Nelora, she is soon the toast of Memphis. But when a desperate father begs Nell to find his daughter, she has a true vision of the missing girl. Terrified that she's losing her mind, Nell turns to Calendar. She may suspect he's a charlatan, but he is the only man who can help her embrace her gift and the responsibility it entails. To find the girl-and unravel a secret from her own past-Nell must outwit a corrupt banker and his gangster pals who will do anything to keep her hidden.
Review:  Fortune's Fool is a cozy mystery that reads as if it could easily be adapted to a play.  The characters move around, interacting similar to a dinner theater scenario with a whodunit aura. The depth is shallow, but is a fun read for a rainy night. If you're looking for a light read to curl up with along with a cup of hot cocoa, this would be a great choice.  It does start off a little slow and the repetitive dialogue of the main character, Nell, is distracting, but it picks up speed mid-way.  A touch too fluff for my particular taste, especially, in the the psychic elements, as well as, the complexity of southern culture.  Everything is touched on and accounted for, but it skims too much along the surface giving it an 'episode' feel rather than a series starter.  There is a slight twist, but for the most part fairly predictable with little consequence to anyone, happy endings ensue, and a fizzle towards the end of prohibition.  If I had to describe Fortune's Fool with a single word it'd be, quaint.
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