Madam Tulip: An Irish Cozy Mystery by David Ahern, 309 pages, Malin Press, May 1st 2016, Genre: Mystery/Cozy Mysteries. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
Madam Tulip is a delightful cozy mystery with quirky, interesting characters and just the right blend of mystery, suspense, and fun. The pacing was excellent; I completed it in one evening. The plot was intriguing and the villain, human and believable. The twist to this novel is the O’Donnell’s gift of visions. I found this aspect fascinating.
Derry O’Donnell is an out-of-work actress, waiting for her big break to arrive. When her mother, an American art dealer divorced from her Da, cuts Derry off financially, Derry is forced to take stock of what talents and skills she can put to use in pursuit of an income. She and her friend Bella get together one evening and Derry reads her tarot cards for her. Bella suggests Derry become a fortune teller. With a little help from her theatrical friends, Derry costumes up and transforms into Madam Tulip, celebrity fortune teller. With the help of her father Jacko, Derry lands a gig at a posh celebrity charity event. Derry gets wrapped up in the world of models, celebrities, and drug dealers over the weekend at the lavish castle. The celebrities confide in her and enjoy their sessions with Madam Tulip. Her future seems assured until a famous musician ends up dead and her best friend is jailed as the prime suspect. In order to free Bella and ensure the safety of her family, friends, and self, Derry must solve the crime against a ticking clock.
Derry has visions, but she can neither control the visions nor understand what they mean. The visions are highly symbolic. It’s only once the event happens that it becomes clear what Derry’s vision was trying to warn her about. Derry expresses exasperation with the visions. What’s the use of having a family gift that doesn’t seem to help? Her father reminds her that because of the visions, Derry is keenly aware that things aren’t random. She doesn’t need faith in a higher power, she knows it exists. And the cost of the gift of knowing, well, that may sometimes be high.
I loved this book. It was charming. From Derry’s relationship with her parents to her romantic yearning for an old flame, I found her graceful and capable in her dealings with difficult people and situations. The characters were engaging. The humor arrived at just the right moments. In fact, I’ve just purchased the next book in the series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts . I’d recommend this to anyone who likes cozy mysteries.
This book can be found at Madam Tulip.
Living in Ireland, out-of-work American actress Derry O’Donnell is young, talented, a teeny bit psychic … and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, and with a little help from her theatrical friends, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madam Tulip, fortune-teller to the rich and famous. But at her first fortune-telling gig – a celebrity charity weekend in a castle – a famous rap artist will die.
As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of celebrities, supermodels and millionaires, she finds herself playing the most dangerous role of her acting life.
Trapped in a maze of intrigue, money and drugs, Derry’s attempts at amateur detective could soon destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.
Madame Tulip is the first in a series of Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.
About the Author:
David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.
Madame Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. The second in the Madam Tulip mystery series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, was published in autumn 2016. He is now writing the third Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.
David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.
You can learn more about David Ahern and Madam Tulip on his website David Ahern.info .
Connect with David Ahern on Facebook: facebook.com/davidahernwriter
and Twitter: twitter.com/daveahernwriter.
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