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Madam Tulip #1

Madam Tulip

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Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs.

Derry O’Donnell, out-of-work actress, is 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.

Madam 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.

308 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2016

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About the author

David Ahern

14 books68 followers
David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland. He worked as a stagehand, a piano mover, a research psychologist and an IT guy before becoming a television writer, director and producer. He created international documentary series and won numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

He played in great bands, all doomed to obscurity, and wrote equally obscure plays before taking to novel-writing. He now creates the Madam Tulip mysteries, mostly to make himself laugh and scratch his head. David Ahern loves pretending this is actual work.

David lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, a cat, a tame pheasant, a clan of badgers and a vegetable garden.

You can learn more about David Ahern and the Madam Tulip mysteries from his website davidahern.info
Connect with David Ahern on Facebook: facebook.com/davidahernauthor
and Twitter: twitter.com/daveahernwriter

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews574 followers
May 16, 2016
Come in, sit down and relax. What can Madam Tulip do for you? Do you want me to work the cards? The crystal ball? What is an unemployed actress with “the gift” supposed to do to pay the rent? Derry is determined to make it as an actress, but little did she know she was about to become the Seer to the rich and famous. Too bad on her first day as Madam Tulip, a famous rapper dies from ingesting cocaine laced with poison.

Derry finds herself going from picking Dad’s sure fire winners at the track to amateur sleuth in a murder case that just won’t give up, and as they say, the plot thickens. Who knew the beautifully rich and powerful could have such a seedy side, a dark and deadly side and who knew Derry would find herself caught right in the middle of it all?

Madam Tulip by David Ahern is comedic mystery at its funniest. Take one psychic actress, a group of quirky friends and family, a famous model, her wealthy husband and few drug lords and kick in some spot on dialogue, and this tale is going to keep turning each page just waiting to see what fiasco Derry can fall into next! Follow along as this tale unfolds from Derry’s point of view, get a few laughs from her internal monologue and hang on tight, because this tale is leaving the station, full speed ahead!

Light-hearted mystery with a twist from an author who must really enjoy his work!

I received this copy from David Ahern in exchange for my honest review.

Publisher: Malin Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2016)
Publication Date: May 1, 2016
Genre: Light Mystery / Comedy
Print Length: 309 pages
Available from: Amazon
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Virginia.
Author 11 books75 followers
March 3, 2017
Madam Tulip is the first book in what promises to be a refreshing new mystery series. In this blend of mystery, suspense, humour, a whisper of the supernatural and a hint of romance, Irish writer David Ahern deftly combines different elements to spin a tale that will have readers enchanted.

In a genre overloaded with predictable plots and tired twists, Madam Tulip is a breath of fresh air. Instead of the usual over-rehearsed routines, Madam Tulip���s encounters are anything but usual, creating a whole new mix of humour and drama.

Starving out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell has to find a way to pay her rent and feed herself. Over a few drinks with one of her larger-than-life friends – expect to meet a few of them along the way – she cooks up a scheme to use the psychic abilities that she occasionally uses to entertain friends, to transform herself into fortune-teller-for-hire Madam Tulip. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe … everything?

One of the things I love is when a book leads me into a world I know nothing about. Ahern’s background in the theatre makes him a reliable guide as Derry takes us behind the scenes of: a seedy theatre that’s seen better days; the wardrobe room where its resident characters shoehorn Derry into her new ‘skin’; the glittering castle brimming with starlets where Madam Tulip performs her first gig; and the sights and smells of urban and rural Ireland.

Add to this the clever but cryptic clues that spring from Derry’s psychic insights, creating glimpses into the dark motives lurking below the surface. Then there’s the social depth as characters from different classes collide – the opposing pulls of their obsessions and peccadilloes give the story its momentum.

Derry’s interactions with her dissolute but loveable father produce dialogue at its unpredictable and hilarious best. In fact both Derry’s parents are forces to be reckoned with, and her attempts to deal with them and keep them apart is a delightful thread full of tangles and knots.

The characters are quirky, the writing is witty, the dialogue funny and the mystery of how the rap star met his death remains elusive as the clues mount. Suddenly being Madam Tulip is no longer fun and Derry might be out of her depth. As her life begins to unravel, Ahern manages to keep an almost perfect balance between the entertaining mayhem that’s his signature and the mounting tension of the mystery.

If I have a criticism it’s that the build-up of clues was a little too long, but these concerns are swept away by the rush of adrenaline when the final scenes arrive. Even then – as imminent death threatens – circumstances still inspire humour from characters we’ve come to know, maintaining the book’s unique flavour till the end.

All loose ends are tucked away, but Ahern has sprinkled some tantalising crumbs that will have readers reaching for the next book in the series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts.

Thanks to Being Anne for hosting this review on her blog: http://beinganne.com/2017/02/guest-re...
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,218 reviews229 followers
December 21, 2017
Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog: https://whatcathyreadnext.wordpress.com/

This book was a light, easy read although I have to say this reader found it mildly humorous rather than laugh out loud funny. The author has laid the groundwork for future books in the series by giving us a little of Derry’s back story and creating a cast of colourful characters, not least of which are Derry’s mother and father who despite being separated seem to maintain a volatile on-off relationship. I especially liked Derry’s Irish father, Jacko: an artist, gambler and a bit of a lad with an eye for the ladies. He’s the total opposite of Vanessa, Derry’s super-efficient, chic American mother.

Although the book is entitled Madam Tulip, Derry actually spends relatively little of the book in that persona. However, her creation gives her access to Dublin high society and allows her to be privy to information that proves both useful and, it turns out, dangerous to her and those around her. As she says: “Fortune-tellers get told things!” Derry’s gift for fortune telling doesn’t mean she always get things right though as often her visions come in the form of riddles or symbols she can’t necessarily make sense of at the time. The author’s experience as a screenwriter is evident in some of the set pieces which are well-imagined and described.

I guess I would classify Madam Tulip as a ‘cosy’ mystery even though the plot involves drugs and one character does meet a particularly sticky end (but ‘off screen’). It's an entertaining, light-hearted mystery that put me in mind of the US TV series “Murder She Wrote” or the UK TV series, “Jonathan Creek”. If you like either of those, I’m sure you will enjoy this.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Joanne Robertson.
1,363 reviews556 followers
August 10, 2016
I was really attracted to this book, first by that fabulous cover and then by the blurb as I'm always on the look out for something a little bit different, a story to surprise me and take me away for a few hours. And thankfully Madam Tulip did just that! The adventures of Derry O'Donnell, who has her dad to thank for her psychic abilities due to him being the seventh son of a seventh son, made for a great few hours reading. When issued with an ultimatum by her mum, jobbing actress Derry decides to use those abilities as Madam Tulip, psychic to the rich and famous. But it looks like those abilities are about to lead her into trouble when murder makes an appearance during her first major "performance".

In fact it's pretty difficult for me to slot this into any particular genre! It's part Bridget Jones and part cosy mystery but with a slightly wicked edge. It's very readable thanks to the quirky character driven plot told with an underlying dark humour and I found it a refreshing change so couldn't put it down! My favourite character was of course Derry, she was so down to earth and I just loved the way she became Madam Tulip. I also took to Jacko, her gambling addict of a Dad and Vanessa, her bossy gallery owning mother. In fact I had a pretty good connection to Vanessa and didn't think she was as bad as Derry made her out to be! All mum's just want the best for their children no matter how old they are!

This was a very entertaining murder mystery that is definitely worth checking out especially as this one is actually the first in a planned series!

Many thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,943 reviews1,898 followers
October 8, 2016
Full review on www.novelgossip.com

Though this is categorized as a mystery I found it to be much more than that as it fit under a wide variety of genres. It had a cozy mystery feel to it as well as humor and bit of romance. Set in Ireland, it had a certain charm that I don’t think would have been there had it been in a different country. While not filled with my usual preference of tension and intrigue, this still had enough heart to keep me engaged.

Derry is a great character, she’s funny and a bit wacky. She reluctantly decides to use her gift of seeing bits of the future to make money because she’s flat broke as struggling actors tend to be. With some encouragement from her friend Bella, she decides to attend a celebrity event and take on the persona of Madam Tulip. She gets far more than she bargained for when one of the guests winds up dead. Thus ensues some madcap hijinks as Derry is unwillingly involved in a zany adventure full of drug dealers and generally unsavory characters.

This was a quick and enjoyable read for me with not a lot of heavy thinking. The characters are what make this book as the plot is a bit far fetched and silly. But Jacko, Derry’s outlandish, gambling scamp of a father and Bruce, her gay out of work actor friend really added to the fun. While I found it to drag a little in the middle, the action thankfully picks up in the end. Though it blends genres pretty skillfully, I think cozy mystery fans will enjoy this the most.
Profile Image for Fictionophile .
1,062 reviews339 followers
November 12, 2020
For my full review of this novel, visit: https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/2...

What a joyful romp of a read that was! I suppose you could class it as a humourous ‘cozy’ mystery. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it, as I don’t usually care that much for cozies. If I had to tell a stranger about Derry O’Donnell I would say she is a cross between Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Mahone and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones.

Derry’s ex-love, Lawrence FitzAllen of the Metropolitan Police plays a minor role in this novel, but I’m sure we will make his acquaintance further in subsequent Madam Tulip novels.

The characters and setting in this novel were vividly portrayed. The author uses humour to tell his story, and he uses it to good effect making me smile often and cause me to laugh aloud at one juncture. The author’s joy in his character shines throughout the narrative.

With wealthy ne’er-do-wells, drug smugglers, stud farms, and a buffoon-like Jacko, the ending chapters were suspense-filled, though admittedly a little over the top.

There are two more Madam Tulip novels and I do plan to read them both. They are just the ticket for a literary palate-cleanser between dark and disturbing thrillers. Well done David Ahern!
Profile Image for Liis.
585 reviews111 followers
December 6, 2016
This is exactly the kind of shenanigans that goes on in Ireland! Also- I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, you’re all probably wondering what does a frog have to do with anything? Let me assure you, in this book, we won’t be dealing with a frog-to-prince scenario. That little bugger is indirectly connected to the story! I also think it was a really cool idea by David Ahern.

I have a strange relationship with mysteries. I do.. I love ’em, I hate ’em… I want to read them, I don’t… Fussy! So fussy!

But here’s what I thought about Madam Tulip:

Do you believe in fortune-tellers and the ability to see someone’s future as predicted by cards or a crystal ball? If yes, you will enjoy this quirky mysytery. If not, you will still enjoy this book, but close the door to Mr Logic and Miss Reality.

Derry O’Donnell, an aspiring actress is the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son giving Derry the psychic abilities. She does card readings for her BFF Bella and it is actually Bella that comes up with the brilliant plan for Derry to create Madam Tulip. Why not make money on one’s abilities? I don’t know why Derry didn’t think of the business idea herself… Actually, I do… Derry is, how to put it… shy and in denial of her abilities? Yeah, I think that’s the case.

As a result of helping out her artsy father at a horserace, she ends up mingling with the rich and famous. Marlene O’Mara and Peter Doyle. Rich and not maybe as happily married as they seem. Marlene takes to Derry’s abilities straight away and invites her to a charity event to do readings for the guests. Marlene also asks for a private reading… She has a life changing plan and she wants to know how it will turn out. Dun-dun-duuun!

The charity event, however, turns sour when Mojo, a musician, meets a very unfortunate fate (not a spoiler, it’s in the blurb!) and Derry gets swept into a mystery which involves Bella getting arrested, and Derry receiving advice on how to act when you’re getting raided by the police. At first glance the mystery seems quite straight forward but then some ‘big guns’ are introduced and the whole thing gets more dangerous. I guess the ‘ and the plot thickens’ would be a good phrase to use here.

Did I like the book? Sure. It was an interesting read with some quirky characters. Derry herself being one of them. The ‘big revelation’ of what’s actually going on made me smirk because I have heard so many stories involving the … ahem… ‘criminal activity’ in Ireland… I know, I’m being vague, but no spoilers, right? When cocaine is involved, be prepared to mingle with dealers, users and crime bosses.

It’s hard to write this review… I’m sure the regular mystery fans will enjoy this read. I’m somewhere in between with this book. I’m an addict for the extreme and this story was quite safe in my terms. It didn’t make my blood boil or my heart thump however it will appeal to the cozy mystery fans who can’t deal with graphic and brutal scenes.

Having said that- Yes, the ending was explosive, quite literally, and there was some decent action. Yes, there’s this certain Irish pixie dust sparkling back from the story and the relationship dynamics. Yes, there are many characters who David Ahern has managed to effortlessly introduce to the story and yes, the progression of the plot was well done but when I think back to this book in years to come what or who will still be in my memory?

It will be Bruce. Ex Navy SEAL, honourably discharged for being gay, moved to Ireland to be an actor and ended up working as security. Towards the end, I started hoping for a major plot twist because the blurb mentions ‘a little romance’. I was hoping, with all my fingers crossed that Bruce wasn’t gay after all. That he was undercover and eventually ends up with Derry… no such luck though. Sigh. I liked Bruce. I really did. Instead of Bruce, the little bit of romance was around someone else… I didn’t really like him – Fitz- because he didn’t come across as the most ‘approachable’ when needed… but I’ll just have to trust that Derry has good taste.

So, my rating will be 3 stars. It was enjoyable, entertaining and I recognized a certain charm about the whole setting. The pace was good and everyone out there that loves a little thrill and mystery will enjoy this book. There’s nothing graphic and will easily offer some good downtime with a book.
Profile Image for Clare O'Beara.
Author 21 books345 followers
February 20, 2018
This is a madcap jaunt into the life of a not-so-busy Dublin actress, who decides to pass herself off as a Tarot reader during a festival weekend at a country mansion. The tale starts quite gradually as our pal Derry (who gets occasional flashes of second sight) sits gloomily with her friends and counts her debts, then goes to meet her dad at a racecourse and haphazardly predicts some race outcomes. A few predictions later, dressed as Madam Tulip among the glitzy and famous, Derry is involved in drug crime and sudden death. They do say the Tarot doesn't like being mocked.

I'm giving a star for the Irish setting and abundant character, plus namechecking of plays. I like the ex-Navy Seal who fell foul of the don't ask, don't tell. Taking off a star as the writing style, a bit breathless without making the effort to get me empathising with anyone, comes across like someone making up a soap script as they go. This may suit some readers fine and it is intended as a light read.

One point that baffles me is why Derry didn't agree to go to New York with her wealthy mother. They have theatres in NY too.

I was sent an e-ARC by the author. This is an unbiased review. I would read more by this author.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
1,129 reviews56 followers
July 12, 2017
I was pleased to have won 'Madam Tulip' in a recent Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This was a little different to the usual mysteries that I enjoy and made a welcome change. I enjoyed this book and whilst I seldom write what a story is about for fear of spoiling for others, I do recommend. I hope to read more by this author.
Profile Image for Cathy Ryan.
1,174 reviews64 followers
June 23, 2016
Derry O’Donnell, sometime actress, latterly of Trinity College, Dublin, from where she graduated summa cum laude in Theatre Arts, has been broke and, more often than not, unemployed for the last five years. A job offer from her mother, as a PR for her art gallery, and an ultimatum regarding her rent, prompts Derry to seriously consider her best friend, Bella’s idea of using her fortune-telling talents, she’s the only daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son, to top up her non-existent bank balance. And so Madam Tulip is born.

Attending the races with her father, Jacko, and persuaded to use her talents to pick a winner, Derry spots well known supermodel, Marlene O’Mara, with her obviously rich husband, Peter Doyle. Jacko can’t help himself and brags about Derry’s abilities. One thing leads to another and Derry is invited to the Doyles’ charity event as Madam Tulip, Celebrity Psychic, complete with makeover and her assistant, Bella.

All is going well at the event, Madam Tulip is a success, and then one of the celebrities is found, on the brink of death, by Bella who then becomes a suspect and is taken into custody. As events escalate, Derry and her friends find themselves in all kinds of trouble, involving thugs and drugs. Derry needs all her acting skills to try and keep herself, and everyone else, safe.

I enjoyed this book very much, right from the start. The humorously engaging writing, the really well-rounded, memorable, and sometimes exuberant, characters. Not to mention great dialogue. Derry is down to earth and unpretentious, unlike her flamboyant father and very successful mother. Bruce is a great character too, a gay, ex navy SEAL, who is as nervous as a kitten when it comes to auditions, but he shows what he’s made of when it counts and does all he can to help Derry.

The characters’ backgrounds are integrated well into the story, giving a rounded and believable, even if slightly over the top, portrayal. The plot, although a little convenient at times is nevertheless a lot of fun, skilfully done and still holds surprises, with action, suspense and humour aplenty. I look forward to future adventures with Derry and co.

This review is based on a free copy from the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Sandra Lopez.
Author 3 books317 followers
June 29, 2016
“Ask anyone about Madam Tulip’s legendary talent with tarot and crystal ball or her astonishing knack for detecting crimes, and you’ll be told her father is the seventh son of a seventh son. Everybody knows that in Ireland seventh sons of seventh sons have extraordinary powers and can do all kinds of mystical things.” (9)

Madam Tulip’s story begins with Derry O’Donnell, who was as broke as you can get. And just a little bit psychic.

Yes, there is some prestige to being an actress, but, of course, there’s a correlation between “artistic success” and “financial failure.”

With the help of her friend and at the insistence of her overbearing mother, Derry takes on a job as a fortune teller named Madam Tulip. Actually she was advertising herself as a “celebrity psychic.” I guess that’s where the real money would be.

Characters were Irish so they had a flare of that theatrical wit and blasphemy. Of course, some of the banter struck me as vapid and overrated, and certain expressions may not be easily understood (I know I didn’t get all of it.) Still, readers will be enchanted by Derry’s good-hearted nature and folksy charm.

I honestly just love stories about psychics and this one certainly seemed interesting; however, it lagged a little too much. Yes, Derry did have visions during the card readings, but they were far more downplayed and I thought they could’ve been a lot more interesting than they were.

The writing was okay, but, again, story dragged too much.

Overall, I’d rate this okay but not great.
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,757 reviews2,580 followers
October 13, 2016
Mix together a fashion model, a navy seal, an artist, a very British love interest, a few Colombian drug dealers and the most delightful heroine you can imagine — a fortune telling, slightly overweight, less-than-successful actress. Then drop everyone into the verdant Irish countryside for a highly unrealistic but humorous romp.

Madam Tulip isn’t a mystery per se: there are no clues for the reader to knit together; we know who the bad guys are right from the beginning; we know the gaggle of good guys are going to get themselves into a hopelessly sticky situation and will definitely need a deus ex machina.

It’s much like an amusing action film (no surprise: the author, David Ahern, did work in television.) But the sparkling repartee does keep pages turning, and Ahern’s many clever apothegms would be lost on film (‘giving thanks was, after all, the way humans tried to grab a piece of luck and persuade it to stay’)

Reviewed by Jill at www.whisperingstories.com
Profile Image for Leigh Holland.
Author 2 books17 followers
August 2, 2017
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.
72 reviews2 followers
November 4, 2020
This book was a delightful read. It starts a bit slow and this reviewer wasn’t sure it would be enjoyable, but luckily, it picked up speed as well as the reader’s interest by the second chapter. Don’t give up on this one based merely on the first few pages. Keep going for a richly described tale with compelling and fully fleshed-out characters.
Derry O’Donnell is a financially strapped actor and, needing to earn some cash, with some help from her friend, recreates herself as Madam Tulip. She naturally has the gift of premonition and can read cards intuitively and accurately. What better way to try to make a living when her mother threatens to stop her financial assistance?
Little does Derry know she’s about to get herself in way more trouble than just her mother cutting off her funding.
When someone dies at an event where Madam Tulip is reading cards, Derry finds herself in the middle of the drama—certainly not like a stage drama—this is real. Life and death.
She gets by with some help from her gay former navy SEAL friend and her outrageous painter father. She also stumbles upon an old love who is operating under cover. Friend or foe? That is something she can’t tell even with her psychic gifts.
The heroine is plucky and irreverent. Her internal dialogue is wonderful. The father and SEAL friend are both unique characters and so well-done personality-wise, this reader wanted to hang out in the pub with them all.
The author clearly has a wonderful sense of humor. There were a number of places that made this reviewer laugh out loud. I love a smart story and this one fits the bill. An adventure with serious moments as well as humor to lighten the mood. A perfect read- not great, heavy literature, but an amusing way to spend some time.
I was glad to learn there’s a whole series of these stories as I’m not ready to let them leave my life yet. This one is a keeper. Highly recommended for a fun read.
Profile Image for Ciclochick.
543 reviews14 followers
September 1, 2018
This is a book crammed with improbability, non-credibility, silliness and a bit of nonsense. Totally, totally delightful.

Derry O'Donnell is an American actress living in Ireland, struggling to find work. Needs must…and so Madame Tulip is born, fortune-teller for hire. Derry assumes she’ll walk away from her first engagement at a celebrity-attended charity ball with nothing more than a happier bank balance and a healthy name-dropping list. But when one of the attendees, a famous rapper, dies, she has to get her Miss Marple boots on.

This is very much a perma-smile book, enjoyable because of its aforementioned silliness. There are some lively and colourful characters in Jacko and Vanessa, Derry’s estranged parents, Bruce, her gay friend, Bella, her also-out-of-work actress friend, as well as those celebrities whose lives aren't quite as deserving of idolatry as you’d think…who’d have thought it!

This could have very easily flopped, but in Ahern's hands, it triumphs: an intelligent, articulate, witty and funny writer. It’s all great fun and I’m eagerly anticipating smiling through book number two.
Profile Image for Yvonne.
1,436 reviews105 followers
May 4, 2018
Madam Tulip A.K.A Derry O’Donnell is an actress (when she has a job). Bella is Derry’s friend and is the one behind the advice for Derry to use her psychic abilities for gain. Leading them to a world of glitz and glamour that initially sounds wonderful until a deadly side to this social world reveals itself.

This is a wonderful introduction into what I feel will be a really good series. It has the feel of an old style cost mystery with a female sleuth but in a modern setting. The characters are as dysfunctional as they are fun. Derry’s mother is a high flyer in the art scene, her father a horse race gambling drunk and then throw in an ex-model, an old friend who is more than a little cagey and hopefully you will start to see what I mean. With all these different traits you definitely start to remember who is who in the story.

As I said the plot has a cosy mystery feel to it as Derry starts to look into things which would be better left to the professionals. Something she had been told on more than one occasion, and I am glad she didn’t pay any heed to them. Instead we follow Derry through mishaps and adventures as she does what she thinks is the right thing landing her in very deep water.

There are a few characters I really liked and it will be interesting to see if they make an appearance in future books.

If you like you crime and mystery books on slightly a lighter side but with some darker moments, then this is one I would definitely recommend reading. The perfect book to sit and read over an afternoon.
Profile Image for Barb Taub.
Author 10 books63 followers
May 24, 2016
He had me at “Derry O’Donnell was fully qualified for unemployment in three different dialects”. I fell in love with the hapless heroine of David Ahern’s new cozy urban fantasy mystery as she’s confronted by her mother, Vannessa.

[QUOTE:]Her mother had never understood her career path. More than once she had demanded to know how it was possible to be an artistic success, as Derry insisted she most certainly was, and a financial failure? To Vanessa that sounded suspiciously like Communism. [END QUOTE}

For the five years since she graduated from Trinity College Dublin with her MA (Theatre Arts), Derry has been trying to make it as an actress. Not coincidentally, for five years she’s been broke, surviving only with the support of her financially successful mother. Then Vanessa issues an ultimatum: come back to New York, work for Vanessa in PR, and become a normal person. "Normal. Like everybody else, darling. Pedicures. A decent bag. Someone to go to the Oscars with who owns their own suit."

When Derry’s friend Bella urges her to make a list of her strengths, Derry can only come up with two: she’s kind to animals (or she would be if she could afford a pet), and she’s inherited her father’s family gift of second sight. With Bella’s urging and support, Derry hatches a plan to become Madam* Tulip, world-famous psychic and fortune-teller. (*That’s Madam without an “e”, because she’s not married to Monsieur Tulip.)

With some appropriate accessories and a wig liberated by friends in a theater wardrobe department, Derry falls down the rabbit hole. Thanks to her father, artist and compulsive gambler Jacko, Derry meets power couple Peter Doyle and his supermodel wife, Marlene O’Mara. When her erratic and unreliable psychic gift results in a horse racing tip that comes in for both Jacko and Doyle at 40:1, Derry receives her first gig as Madam Tulip—telling fortunes at a society charity weekend with Bella as her ‘assistant’.

But it doesn’t take Derry’s psychic gift to tell that something is very wrong when the first guest dies and Bella becomes a suspect. In short order, her attempts to help Bella put Derry, her father, her ex-boyfriend, and her other friends in danger.

This may be author David Ahern’s first mystery novel, but he nails the cozy mystery/fantasy mashup while blessedly avoiding the usual chick lit tropes. Derry has few illusions about herself. She doesn’t protest that she’s ugly or too-normal—her attractive appearance is as much a professional tool as her voice or acting skills—but she also knows when that appearance is outclassed. ‘Next to Marlene, Derry felt like a hobbit—a hobbit overweight and round even by the famously relaxed standards of hobbits.’ Nor does she suffer from horribly unrequited love for her ex-boyfriend, aristocratic policeman Fritz. And like most children, she wavers between love for her divorced parents and the wish that she could divorce them as well.

I love a book with fully rounded three dimensional characters, and Madam Tulip certainly delivers. Not only does Derry grow over the course of the novel as she embraces her roles of fortune-teller and friend-rescuer, but supporting characters such as her father Jacko (artist/gambler/feckless ladies man), and her friends Bella (black/Belfast-born/actress with catch-phrase ‘Say No to Negativity!’), and Bruce (gay/ex-Navy Seal/actor/computer expert) all have slightly over-the-top tropes that make them unforgettable. Even more fun is the conscious evolution of Madam Tulip from her ‘birth’ to her debut at the celebrity fundraiser as Derry constantly debates about whether she is adhering to the psychic’s code.

The book’s pacing is great too, with a slower info-dumping start picking up speed as frightening events start piling up, and finishing with an edge-of-the-seat chase scene, complete with bullets and bombs.

My only (slight) complaints are that the character of Derry’s mother Vanessa is, we’re told, terrifying and overwhelming. But we have to take that on faith, because she actually never shows much of that. Also, while the fast-moving plot has a nice balance of humor and excitement, the mystery is not all that mysterious, the bad guys are telegraphed early, and some of the actions just don’t really seem to make sense in the plot scheme. But with the snarky dialog and quips, great characters, terrific settings (Dublin! Yay!) and nicely-delivered humor, these are actually minor concerns.

I would give Madam Tulip an enthusiastic four stars. If you’re up for a funny, well-written genre mashup with memorable characters and a great sense of voice and style, I’d recommend Madam Tulip. And I hope that David Ahern has the next book coming soon in this wonderful new series!

*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
26 reviews
December 28, 2018
Madam Tulip gets caught up in a tangled web

Madam Tulip, an alter ego of an Irish actress, has seventh sight and finds herself caught up in a tangled web of intrigue and deceit as she tries to help a supermodel acquaintance with the help of her friends. There are many wonderful examples of typical Irish humour which made this such an enjoyable and entertaining read I read it far into the night until I finished it. Kudos to the author.
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,651 reviews175 followers
September 26, 2016
Set in Ireland you really get a sense of the wonderful Irish countryside through out this novel. The luxurious castle that Derry finds herself visiting, I especially would have loved to have been able to stay at, though hopefully when there is less mayhem going on there.

Derry is a likeable character who somehow finds herself being talked into becoming a fortune teller. Even though she does have a slight gift, which has been passed down the generations in her family, she probably isn’t the most convincing one, though luckily a few of the characters in the book struggle to see that.

I loved Bella, Derry’s friend, she has a certain energy about her that drew me in. She’s certainly a fun loving gal, who would be great to have around.

Derry ends up finding herself being somewhat involved when a death happens at the hotel and even though she doesn’t want to get involved, after her friend is wrongly arrested, she decides she has no other choice but to try and find out what exactly has gone on and get to the bottom of it all.

Madam Tulip isn’t by any means a fast paced crime novel, I would say it is more bordering on the cozy mystery side of crime. It is more suspense/mystery than action/thriller. I think readers that are looking for an enjoyable but more light hearted crime/mystery will really enjoy this book. I can see it working really well as a series on television.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Susan Hampson.
1,522 reviews58 followers
November 21, 2016
There are times when you just need something quite light to read, a book that you can cosy down with a hot chocolate and a packet of digestive biscuits, well this is how I felt with David Ahern's debut novel. It had loads of vibrant colourful characters that thoroughly entertained me as the mystery was unravelled by Madam Tulip. I think that David Ahern and myself most have got our humour from the same place because he continually made me giggle, which I love in a book.

There is a saying that the clothes make a person and it is very true in the case of Madam Tulip. The transformation from meek and mild Derry O'Donnell in her twenties, that couldn't quite decide if she had super natural abilities or not, to the middle aged rounded Madam Tulip were amazing. Derry had some super relationships with a few characters two of my favourites were with her dad and particularly one of her besties when being instructed on how to be a boyfriend. Loved the closeness of them and continually laughed at their conversations, hilarious! There is so much happening in this book that will keep any reader happy. Looking forward to reading book two very soon.

Profile Image for booksofallkinds.
1,013 reviews159 followers
November 17, 2016
**RATING 4.5**

MADAM TULIP by David Ahern is the perfect blend of cosy mystery and comedy which will keep you entertained from start to finish. Derry is just trying to make a living doing what she loves, but when her mother threatens to stop helping her financially, she knows she has to do something and fast. So Derry decides to use her slight psychic abilities and become Madam Tulip, and when she is booked to attend a celebrity bash in the countryside, what could go wrong? Everything as it so happens. With murder, drugs, millionaires and supermodels, Derry is going to have to really get to work to figure out the mystery. Throw in some romance and a unique cast of quirky friends and family members, and MADAM TULIP by David Ahern will have you laughing and playing detective at the same time. A really easy, enjoyable read.

*I voluntarily reviewed this book for the author
November 7, 2016
‘Everybody knows that in Ireland seventh sons of seventh sons have extraordinary powers and can do all kinds of mystical things….Hasn’t the gift been male since time immemorial? But Tulip isn’t in the least concerned.

Times change even in the realms of the supernatural.’

Madam Tulip is a novel with a difference!!

After reading a number of psychological thrillers recently I was looking for something a little lighter and whimsical. I had received a copy from the author David Ahern a few weeks back so decided it was the perfect timing to sit down, put the feet up and head off on a mysterious journey with Madam Tulip…..

Derry O’ Donnell is an out of work actress. Twenty-seven years of age and without any prospect in her sight, Derry is at a stage in her life where decisions have to be made. She is currently being financed for her stay in Dublin by her mother, Vanessa, who is the owner of a very upscale Art Gallery on Fifth Avenue, New York. Derry receives an ultimatum. Her mother gives her three weeks to get her act together or she is stopping funding Derry and will insist she return to the States with her.

Derry’s father, Jacko, seventh son of a seventh son, is a completely different character. An artist with a very relaxed approach to life, Jacko very much lives in the moment. He grabs life seemingly without a care in the world and very little grasp on reality.

In her bid to remain in Dublin, Derry embarks on a new venture. She has always had a sixth sense and has used this psychic ability with friends who ask for occasional requests. With the assistance of these friends, Derry transforms herself into Madam Tulip.

‘Derry turned to the mirror. If it were possible not to recognise oneself she wouldn’t have. The woman looking back at her had an unnaturally pale face that somehow looked chubbier than before. Her bosom was ample. Her dress was silk. Around her neck hung multiple strings of heavy beads. To top off the ensemble, they settled on a headdress – a delicate creation with three small feathers and two bigger yellow ones laying back over the hair.’

As Derry is soon to discover, life as Madam Tulip unleashes a whole new world, not all so good….

What follows is a mischievous tale of mystery and fun.

Derry is invited to a castle for a celebrity charity event as Madam Tulip. The guests are a mix of supermodels, singers and business people, all relishing in the wealth they have accumulated and only too ready to let everyone else know about it. Derry is completely unfazed by all this extreme show of riches and plays her role perfectly as the psychic to these famous people.

Unfortunately, events take a serious twist and Derry finds herself in the centre of a very dangerous situation.

Using all her wits Derry has to be inventive and intuitive to survive…

Will Madam Tulip save the day?

Well you will just have read Madam Tulip to find out…

Madam Tulip is a perfect read for those days when you want nothing more than to lose yourself in a bit of fun. The characters are a mix of farcical and humorous, all adding colour to this light hearted mystery set in the Irish countryside with a very lovable heroine at the fore…
Profile Image for Rebecca Stobart.
51 reviews16 followers
May 28, 2017
I was really excited to read this book for two reasons, one being the description of the book -different from the mystery novels I'm used to reading, Derry O'Donnell is a fortune-teller-turned-detective and I thought this was such an original and intriguing idea that I couldn't wait to get round to reading it. The second reason I was looking forward to this book so much was that it is my first read and review request, as a new book blogger getting an email from David Ahern asking me to review his book was an honour, so thank you so much for that David -now on with the review!

Derry is an aspiring actor but her successful mother is pressuring her to get a job and if she can't find one within three weeks she must concede her loss and move to New York to work in her mother's art gallery. Pushy, controlling parents aren't typically a trope of crime fiction but it drives Derry to pursuing a career as Madam Tulip, and exploiting her gifts in the art of fortune-telling.

Madam Tulip is a very safe read, take it to the beach on a Sunday afternoon or on holiday like I did and enjoy reading a quirky book, full of well-plotted characters without having to do much thinking as the story unfolds quite neatly for you.

One of those well-plotted characters is Bruce, I loved reading about Bruce. Honourably discharged from the Navy for being gay, Bruce is another aspiring actor currently out of work -if anyone is looking for actors last minute my best bet would be to check Ireland if there's any truth in this book. There's something very Bridget Jones about Derry and her friends, Bruce and Bella and then Derry's quirky father Jacko, and no Bridget Jones-esque story would be complete without a love interest, though in my opinion the less said about him the better, I wasn't overly drawn to him but maybe that's just me.

As I mentioned the book is set in Ireland, I've never been to Ireland and I'm not sure if that's why I got a little english town/city vibe from the book -I might just be applying what I know to the book and I read a lot of crime fiction set in the North East of England, which is where I live and I could picture Madam Tulip working just as well if it said it was set here or in Scotland, but that could be said for a lot of books, I just didn't get an overly Ireland vibe from the description.

I think the premise behind this series is incredible and I'm so glad David Ahern reached out to me as I'd never heard of these books, there's a second out right now; Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, and Ahern is working on a third! The second book is on my TBR pile and I'll be keeping an eye out for the third. I'd recommend the Madam Tulip series to anyone who enjoys a tamer crime novel, it's more about the characters and mystery here than being overly gruesome, even I'll admit it was a nice change of pace and I've been enjoying darker books lately. I'll have a review of Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts coming out in the summer, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Profile Image for Nada Sobhi.
Author 3 books210 followers
March 16, 2018

Note: I received a copy of Madam Tulip from its author David Ahern in exchange for an honest review.

"An image materialised in Derry’s mind like an apparition. Where had it come from? The effect was like a thousand different parts of her brain had caught fire all at once as her terrified grey matter blazed out a storm of random thoughts. And out of the chaos, in a slow-motion explosion of colour, emerged a man on a throne, the man with the magnificent headdress, the man with a severed head on his lap."

Madam Tulip by David Ahern is the first instalment in the fast-paced, exciting, Ireland-set paranormal mystery series Madam Tulip.

Derry O'Donnell is an actress in search of a job and with a possible ability to see the future through tarot cards and visions she cannot understand.

Derry is offered an opportunity to pose as a Madam Tulip at a charity event. Invited by the dashing supermodel Marlene, Derry goes to the event, at a castle on an island, accompanied by her actress friend Bella.

"Derry O'Donnell was fully qualified for unemployment in three different dialects."

At the event, Derry and Bella discover a host of celebrities and Bella chances upon one of them before they drop dead.

Although the mystery does not take place till the middle of the book, there are lots of events in between, with Ahern carefully building the setting of the novel and the series to follow.

Madam Tulip is narrated in the third person and has a host of quirky characters and some absolutely farcical situations.

I loved Derry, her friend – although no hopes of being a boyfriend – Bruce, the army guy who switched into an acting career. I'm glad to learn that Bruce will be appearing in the next instalments of the Madam Tulip series.

"Next to Marlene, Derry felt like a hobbit - a hobbit overweight and round even by the famously relaxed standards of hobbits."

There is character development for Derry, hardly any for her father or the other characters. But this is normal for mystery books and series. Although doubtful of her abilities, which she had previously limited to free teacup readings, Derry slowly learns more about herself and her vague abilities as the book progresses. At one point she doubts her ability to glimpse the future and wishes it would all go away.

Apart from the characters and setting, Madam Tulip is filled with beautiful imagery and lots of laugh-out-loud moments. (There were so many parts I would like to quote but had to be picky).

I tend tread carefully when it comes to humour, but Ahern has a knack for it.

"What do you say to an internationally famous supermodel? Slept with any rock stars I know of? Eaten any good celery lately? How are your legs— still long?"

Last but certainly not least, Ahern builds his novel from his previous work in the acting and art industry, which gives depth to the novel and characters, and how they act and react. It was a lot of fun reading about what actors do, how they try to be free at any time so their agent can get them a job but at the same time they struggle to pay their bills and with their lives.

The book does not have an open ending. Each book promises a mystery with tonnes of humour for all.

Overall, Madam Tulip is a laugh-out-loud, exciting, paranormal mystery; a must-read by all standards.
Profile Image for Robin Goodfellow.
Author 3 books26 followers
July 10, 2017
Madam Tulip, by David Ahern, is a heartwarming mystery about a young psychic who is thrust into a world of money and drugs. As she tries to prevent innocent lives from being taken, her strength of character and her admittedly frustrating relationships help her realize an inner strength she didn't know she had. 

The novel begins with Derry O’ Donnell, a struggling actress whose mother is trying to convince her to find a conventional job, and whose father is running away from a love he keeps forgetting not to sleep with. One day, Derry accompanies her father to the horse races, where she predicts the winning horse and captures the attention of two important celebrities. She is introduced to higher society, filled with glamor and elegance. However, Derry soon becomes entangled in a plot that threatens to endanger both her and everyone she loves. Derry must use her skills as a psychic and amateur detective to try and save herself and her friends before it’s too late.

I found the characters playfully whimsical, with Derry being the most endearing. From dealing with her somewhat overly enthusiastic parents, to the lovable awkwardness she shares with Bella, it’s clear that Derry is a nice girl who, as is, will not survive a day in the corrupt den of the elite. Well, at least not without the help of her friends. Though I’ve grown frustrated with their antics more often than not, it’s enjoyable to see her interact with them. I also admire Derry’s strength of character, which was one of the pinnacles of the book.

Ahern leaves many plot points to be explored. I still couldn’t help but ponder on if Derry and her love interest would get together, if her best friend would stop getting herself into trouble, if Madam Tulip will continue to aid investigators. But even then, there is a constant in the novel that I found refreshing; that Derry has a gift that, though it will no doubt take her to many horrific places, will lead her to do the right thing in the end. Not only that, but she also has friends and family to support her. It was a little cheesy for me, but relieving nonetheless.

There were certain things I’ve noticed that did detract from the book. For instance, some of the wording was a bit awkward, and there were a few mistakes that were pretty noticeable.

Nevertheless, I would give this book a rating of a 3.7 out of 4 stars. It is certainly different from all the books I’ve read; although Madam Tulip does encompass a wide range of genres usually found in the more sinful places of human imagination, Ahern spun these genres to make it lighthearted, and at times, amusing. Derry’s relationship with her family and friends will be important in the upcoming books, and it’s a nice constant to the screwed up mess around her. The book is a good way to introduce readers to the mystery genre, and I would consider it appropriate for all ages.
Profile Image for Steph Warren.
1,347 reviews25 followers
December 5, 2017
*I received a free ARC of this book. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

I loved Madam Tulip. It was the kind of bright and breezy read that brings a breath of fresh air to my reading pile, and the genuine warmth and humour the author brought to the characters had me smiling (and occasionally grinning) as I read.

The standout for me here was the author's style, which deftly brought the characters and setting to life and carried the (somewhat far-fetched) plot with a cheeky wink. Derry / Tulip is an engaging and endearing protagonist, and her friends and family are all distinct and loudly entertaining, with special mention of Jacko and Vanessa as my personal favourites.

The plot is mostly cosy mystery, with a psychic twist. Derry is an unemployed bit-actress who is persuaded to turn her knack for reading friend's fortunes into a starring role as a celebrity fortune teller. Except that her gift is real, and so is the danger.

There is a distinct change in tone partway through the book. The first half is mainly building up the characters and setting the scene for Derry's talents and the situation she is facing, at a slow gentle pace. The second half explodes into action with kidnappings, weapons and drug dealers and is a fast-paced thrill ride to the end.

Highly recommend this to fans of cosy mysteries in general, and of writing styles similar to Elizabeth Peter's Peabody series. Book 2 of Madam Tulip's adventures has shot straight to the top of my personal wishlist and I can't wait to find out what Derry and her eccentric cohort get up to next!

Derry peered into the crystal ball. Inside she could see the lamp and her face reflected, distorted but bright. She moved her head from side to side, watching the shifting image of the room as if from inside a goldfish bowl. Only curiosity made her look; a fascination with the visual effect created by the crystal had never left her. But there, strangely off-centre, completely unexpected, something stirred.

- David Ahern, Madam Tulip
Profile Image for Courtney Giraldo.
158 reviews1 follower
October 11, 2017
This book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Living in Ireland, Derry O'Donnell is hard pressed to find work as an actress. Hailing from America, she hasn't be cast in anything successful and is on the verge on being financially cut off from her mother when her best friend Bella convinces her to use her...unique talents...to make some money and keep her head above water. As the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son, Derry is a psychic; mainly doing readings for friends she has never considered making a living from her gifts, often times playing them down but desperate times call for desperate measures and her fortune telling alter ego is born, Madame Tulip. Her first gig is for a charity event hosting the rich and famous, and unfortunately, a guest winds up dead. Derry finds herself embroiled in a mystery of drugs, lies, and deceit. Signs and symbols from her readings keep manifesting in the case. Can Derry sleuth out the truth before it's too late? 

This was a really great read guys! Touted as a mystery/thriller, this was a much more light, fun, mystery versus a dark gritty thriller. There was plenty of comedic relief what with the array of unique and flamboyant characters (Jacko was my favorite!), that it almost felt like a lighthearted Nancy Drew type mystery novel. There wasn't a lot of shock and awe as far as the plot line was concerned, everything panned out as I expected, but the ride to get to the conclusion was a fun one. Ahern has definitely laid the groundwork for what could be a fun and exciting series with Madame Tulip. I am already invested in all of the characters, each providing a unique dynamic to the group giving Derry as a character more depth through each of these relationships. I, personally, hope to see more of Fitz (wink wink) in the future. If you are in the mood for a fun mystery that is sure to keep you entertained, this one is for you! 
Profile Image for Annette.
1,609 reviews8 followers
December 28, 2020
Derry is an American/Irish actress. She lives in Ireland in an apartment that is larger than a phone booth, but not by much.

Her American mother, Vanessa, has issued a declaration. Derry must return to America and become part of her mother’s very successful business. She has bee subsidizing Derry’s life for quite some time.

Vanessa believes that Jacko, her ex- husband is not only a bad influence but also a liar and a thief. Jacko is an artist. He likes horse racing. He likes women. And he is not a fan of responsibility. Because Vanessa has tied up sales of his paintings, he may have tried to work around that contract. But, if he did there was no ill will involved.

Derry has a talent that she inherited from her father’s side of the family. She can sometimes see the future. Her friends have made her realize that she may be able to help people know a little about what may happen.

In order to make a living, she invents Madam Tulip. Her first gig is working at a party with very wealthy people. She will make money. She may even be able to pay her rent. And if she can make a living, she will not have to move to America.

There is a mystery. Someone dies, there are drugs involved and Derry’s best friend, Bella, is caught in the crossfire.

This is a fun read.

Mr Ahern has created characters who are entertaining. Derry, Vanessa, Jacko are all part of a family who have put the fun in dysfunctional. My favorite character is Bruce. He is a fellow actor, a security man, a former U S Navy Seal, he can fix plumbing, he cooks and he is very handsome. He also happens to be gay.

The plot is interesting and moves at a good pace. There are no loose ends which are not neatly tied at the end of the book.

Mr Ahern is a new to me author. I feel that I need to read the next book in the Madam Tulip series.

165 reviews5 followers
February 2, 2018
Aiming for the high-flying life of an actress, Derry’s quest isn’t going so well. With a bit of help from her pre-cognitive abilities, Derry dons the alter ego of Madam Tulip after a bit of luck at the race tracks. Things went a little awry at the party she performed at, and now Derry’s trying to prove her friend’s innocence…with a little help from her abilities, of course.

I felt like Madam Tulip had a little bit of everything—except for romance, really, but that was alright in my book. Derry’s character and her subsequent development were more than okay without it. I digress, however. The book had mystery, intrigue, drama at the celebrity level, drug lords…man, Madam Tulip’s life was not boring. I was happy to see that the author significantly nerfed Derry’s pre-cognition. It helped add challenge to the story, though it was hard to maintain.

The mystery was a fairly linear, straightforward one. There were a couple of twists here and there—even with limitations applied, some abilities allow for things to get too easy. There were moments that felt easy, but the way they pushed along the novel was nice. So, there was a balance to find and sometimes it slipped in one direction and then the other.

I liked the characters; Derry’s father especially. I really enjoyed their relationship. It was weird, but at the same time felt realistic. And, I’ll be honest, it’s pretty hilarious. I won’t say he was used as comic relief, but certainly used as a tool to diffuse tension and bring a character or scene back to something of an equilibrium.

This was a cute story with some neat settings. Likeable and relatable characters were at the forefront of this novel. A worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Book Inspector.
274 reviews6 followers
September 17, 2017
More reviews at https://bbookinspector.wordpress.com

When I read the description of this book, I knew it is going to be a fun read, and I was right. This book was my first try of cosy mysteries and I really enjoyed this well deserved treat to my brains, after reading some intense psychological thrillers.

The blurb above, describes this book quite accurately. Derry is broke actress who is “teeny bit psychic”. So, when the chance comes to earn some (good) money out of it, she decided to try. But soon she got involved into murder “investigation”, where she knew more than the police.

The characters used in this book were very well chosen. This is a book about actors and celebrities, so, of course, there were some eccentric, artistic characters, whose charm and charisma has to shine. I really enjoyed the great balance between the “over the top” characters and the casual, “down to earth” ones. Ahern kept a wide variety of well rounded characters to choose from, so I think everyone can find their favourite one, according to their taste. My favourite was Derry; I loved her simple personality and sharp way of thinking, even though her parents are really crazy.

The plot of this novel was very entertaining and enjoyable. I liked the smooth flow of the story, with unexpected findings and turns. The whole story was told from Derry’s perspective, but that was fully sufficient to understand the characters well. As it says in the description below, Ahern grew up in a theatrical family, I think that is why the theatrical life details used in this novel were so accurate and detailed, and I absolutely enjoyed reading all those bits and pieces about actors and theatre.

The writing style of this novel is really pleasurable, filled with Irish spirit. The language used in this book is easy to read and understandable. The chapters are decent length, and divided into smaller parts as well, so it doesn’t drag along and didn’t leave me bored. The ending of the book was unexpected and filled with action, and left some unresolved issues, which, I believe, might come up in other books of Madam Tulip. So to conclude, I think this book was a great introduction to Madam Tulip and her capabilities, and I was very pleased to witness this metamorphosis. I really enjoyed all this extra-ordinariness combined with simplicity and casualness, and I think it is a great read for these cold autumn evenings.
Was given this book by Author for honest review.
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