The Mystic’s Accomplice
Miley, Mary. The Mystic’s Accomplice. Severn House. (Mystic’s Accomplice Mystery, Bk. 1). Jun. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780727850423. $28.99. M
Grieving pregnant widow Maddie Pastore didn’t know what her husband did for a living, until the Chicago mob shows up at his 1924 funeral. She ends up broke and loses her house, but she’s determined to make a living without calling on the mob for help. When the mystic Madam Carlotta, asks her to a séance, Maddie sees opportunity. She offers to research Carlotta’s clients, and discovers she’s good at digging through newspapers and wills and talking with servants. One of the mystic’s clients always cancels her sessions, claiming illness; Maddie learns the woman lost her husband and a nephew to tragedy and she begins to worry that the client could be the target of a killer. Courageous Maddie uses her new skills to attempt to save a life and trap a murderer. VERDICT Miley (“Roaring Twenties” series) returns to the jazz age in this mystery introducing a remarkable amateur sleuth, widow, and mother. It skillfully combines the tantalizing atmosphere of a speakeasy- and mob-filled Chicago, historical figures, and an intriguing mystery.—Lesa Holstine,
Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN
For Maddie Pastore, the narrator of this appealing series launch set in 1924 Chicago from Miley (the Roaring Twenties mysteries), the good times of the Jazz Age end with the gangland shooting death of her husband, who helped supply bootleg hooch to the city’s speakeasies. Homeless, pregnant, and with few resources, Maddie finds refuge at a shelter, where she gives birth to a son. Fearful she’ll be drawn back into the world of organized crime, Maddie has the good fortune to run into a friend who now styles herself Madame Carlotta Romany, a mystic. When Madame Carlotta offers Maddie a job aiding her séances, Maddie readily agrees, even if it means duping innocent people. Maddie begins to investigate clients’ backgrounds to augment her new employer’s visions, and when she stumbles across a murderer about to kill again, she must use every trick in the book to bring about some justice. Miley smoothly inserts real-life notables such as Al Capone and philanthropist Jane Addams into the twisty plot. This new historical mystery series is off to a flying start.
THE MYSTIC’S ACCOMPLICE. Mary Miley. Severn House (224 pp.) $28.99 ISBN 978-0-7278-5042-3
A young widow’s job turns her into a determined sleuth in this series debut from Miley.
Maddie Pastore was living happily in 1924 Chicago with a handsome husband and baby on the way. Unfortunately, her husband Tommy’s well-paying job driving for the mob ended when he was shot dead. Maddie’s money and her house vanish in an instant when Tommy’s first, and still legal, wife turns up, leaving Maddie broke. Desperate, she goes to Hull House waiting for little Tommy’s birth but fails to find a job until she meets Mrs. Burkholtzer, the mother of a school friend, who’s reinvented herself as the spiritualist Carlotta Romany. Beginning by playing a grieving widow at seances, Maddie graduates to doing research on upcoming clients while Freddy, a youth Madame Romany’s taken in, provides the ghostly effects. Maddie quickly takes to her job and enjoys chatting up people until she realizes that one of their clients may become the victim of a determined murderer. The wealthy Mr. Weidemann has left his house and half his estate to his wife, with most of the rest divided between two nephews. By chance Maddie runs into one nephew being thrown out of a speak-easy and then learns that the other one has drowned. She suspects that the persistent stomach problem that’s kept the widow Weidemann from coming to a seance stems from poisoning. Helping the widow may draw on every ounce of Madame Romany’s psychic abilities.
Plentiful historical detail and a sparkling cast of characters.