Another fun Daisy Gumm Majesty mystery, with just a bit of bite…
Wedded Spirits is the seventeenth in the Daisy Gumm Majesty series, which I’ve been quite fond of over the years. And Wedded Spirits, which will be coming out on April 5, is a fun addition to the series, albeit with occasional serious moments.
Long-time readers of the series might guess that the “wedding” referred to in the title would be Daisy’s own, since she has been engaged to Pasadena Police Detective Sam Rotondo for several books now. But, although Daisy’s wedding IS on the horizon, long-time readers would still be wrong. Rather, Daisy is serving as Matron of Honor for Regina Petri, her favorite librarian, when she finds a dead body in the bride’s dressing room – after the wedding is over, thank heaven. At first, it seems that the unknown man has been poisoned, but Daisy’s family doctor, Dr. Benjamin, soon figures out that things are a bit more complicated. So Daisy, Sam, Lou Prophet, and the usual crew are off: figuring out who the dead man was, talking to witnesses and suspects, tracking down clues, and of course, eating Aunt Vi’s amazing food, before they finally figure out whodunnit, and why.
Like all of the Daisy Gumm Majesty books, this is first and foremost a cozy. Although she makes her living as a medium, holding (presumably) fake seances for the rich society ladies of the Pasadena, California area, Daisy retains an essential goodness of heart that somehow hasn’t been spoiled by her seventeen-books worth of experience with dead bodies. But she’s not a push-over either, standing up for herself and her friends when she needs to, and expressing some pretty firm, and rather enlightened for her time, views on subjects ranging from spousal abuse to attitudes towards gay men. Still, even with occasional moments of slightly uncomfortable reality, if you don’t like cozies, this series probably won’t be for you.
Author Alice Duncan also does a great job with the historical background, right down to wedding dress styles, china and silverware patterns, hair styles (I had to check Wikipedia for “marcelled hair”), car makes/models, business establishments and street names. I’m a little bit biased here, since I myself lived in Pasadena for many years, several decades ago, and I get a little extra zing when I recognize places or buildings. But Duncan provides enough details that folks who don’t know the area well will also get a nice sense of time and place.
Overall, Wedded Spirits is a fun, quick read, even though the motive for the crime, and its eventual aftermath, were a bit tough to take. I’ll now be eagerly waiting for the next one to come out! And finally, my thanks to the author, who was kind enough to provide me with an advance copy to review for this blog.