Spirits and Smoke

Let Madame Carlotta, Chicago’s Leading Medium, Connect You with the Spirit of Your Loved One, Satisfaction Guaranteed.
December 1924. Young widow Maddie Pastore feels fortunate to be employed by the well-meaning but fraudulent medium Carlotta Romany. Investigating Carlotta’s clients isn’t work she’s proud of, but she’s proud of how well she does it. 
Maddie’s talents, however, draw them unwelcome attention: sharped-eyed Officer O’Rourke from the Chicago Police. He doesn’t believe in spiritualism – but in a city packed with mobsters, con artists and criminals, he’ll take any help he can get. 
It’s not long before Maddie has a case to bring him. Why did teetotal banker Herman Quillen die of alcohol poisoning? And who is the gold-toothed man claiming to be his brother, and demanding the spirits reveal where Herman hid the money?
All Maddie wants is to uncover the truth – but to her horror, she’s soon mixed up in a tangled web of secrets and deception that leads to the heart of Chicago’s violent gangs . . . and she’ll need all her wits about her if she, and her loved ones, are going to make it out alive.
A Review from Kirkus:

Miley’s follow-up to her exciting series debut, The Mystic’s Accomplice(2021), plunges her intrepid heroine into even greater danger in 1924 Chicago.

Maddie Pastore has been doing everything she can to support her baby ever since her mobbed-up late husband Tommaso’s first—and apparently still legal—wife reappeared after his murder, claiming Maddie’s house and all her savings. She works for a woman calling herself Madame Carlotta Romany, the mother of a childhood friend who has established herself as a medium, doing the research that enables Carlotta to convince her clients she’s the real thing. A new name to investigate is that of the late Herman C. Quillen, a victim of alcohol poisoning whose brother has made an appointment for a seance. Checking Quillen’s will, Maddie discovers that he was a bank cashier whose only siblings were two sisters. When the phony brother is thrown out of the seance, trouble follows with the news that he’s a mobster looking for stolen money. At first the police are uninterested, but Maddie wants to help one of Quillen’s sisters, who’s in dire straits, and teams up with Lloyd Prescott, a reporter with connections and moxie. They sense that there’s something wrong at the bank where Quillen worked—after all, that’s where the money is, or was. Finding the missing cash involves Maddie with the mob her husband worked for and raises the novel question of how to turn Al Capone down when he wants to be godfather to your baby. Maddie will have to outsmart the mob and a clever thief to survive.

All the colorful characters and historic details from the heroine’s debut, fortified by a stronger mystery.


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