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Madam Tulip #2

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts

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"Madam Tulip! Actress, fortune-teller, psychic, sleuth!"

When out-of-work actress Derry O'Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash.
Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets.

A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and
abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death.

Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and
reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

355 pages, ebook

Published October 20, 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 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews573 followers
September 23, 2016
Madame Tulip is back and her alter ego, actress Derry O’Donnell finds herself, once again, embroiled in danger and death with a few extra body parts just lying around.

The life of the wealthy can be a bit pretentious, add old money, missing artwork and a title or two, then steep like a good old-fashioned cup of tea for a quirky mystery that just begs to be solved by Derry and Bruce. But could this mystery prove beyond even Derry’s sleuthing abilities? David Ahern’s Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts puts Derry in the midst of murder, robbery, mayhem and those closed, stiff upper lips of aristocracy-not to mention works of art valued at millions…if they are real.

Settle in for a good old fashioned who-dunnit and who belongs to that hand in the sink and why was it cut off? Derry finds herself employed as a fortune teller for an engagement party that may never happen. Along with Her friend, Bruce, ex-military sidekick, these two get into the thick of it while the “titled” are trying to keep things hush-hush. Could there be more than the dirty secrets of the aristocracy behind the cone of silence? Has someone been forging masterpieces for profit? How are Russians involved? Better question, why is Derry involved? Does it have something to do with her quirky parents?

David Ahern has upped his own artistic game and this often quirky, sometimes humorous, tale is, from start to finish entertaining, witty and certainly a mystery as to the just who the bad guy is and how he/she did it! Great plot, fabulous characters in a suspenseful mystery that never bogs down as Derry reads the cards and sees too much in the future.

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

Series: Madam Tulip - Book 2
Publisher: David Ahern; 1 edition (October 20, 2016)
Publication Date: October 20, 2016
Genre: Suspense | Supernatural | Sleuths
Print Length: 290 pages
Available from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,757 reviews2,580 followers
December 6, 2016
It’s a delight to again meet up with Madam Tulip aka Derry, Jacko and Bruce, in David Ahern’s very amusing new release, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts. And, even better, this second book is far more of a whodunit with a real mystery to be solved and a supporting cast of characters who are anything but open and truthful. The setting too is that classic of good old-fashioned mysteries: a stately home in England.

I only balked near the end, when goodies and baddies finally confronted each other. Yes, it has become standard that such confrontations are violent, but Ahern throws it at us full force with unbelievable made-for-television torture, violence, crashes and flames. Even more difficult, there are three entire chapters of the stuff before the story resumes and trots on to its satisfactory finish.

The Knave of Hearts is, nonetheless, a good read, never dull, never serious either, and always diverting.

Reviewed by Jill at www.whisperingstories.com
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,651 reviews175 followers
October 20, 2016
Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, as stated in the description, is the second book in the series following the antics of Derry O’Donnell.

I don’t think it is essential to have read the first in the series but I think it will give readers a better understanding of how Derry got into the fortune telling business.

Derry is back acting in the theatre only for the theatre be in dire need of repair that sees her yet again out of work. She is forced into helping out in an art gallery by her over bearing mother. She also manages to get a gig in a stately home as her Madam Tulip persona.

I don’t know how Derry does it but she always manages to wind up in some pretty glamorous places. The family at the stately home are slightly strange though and there was only really Bryony that I took to. It was understandable that Derry couldn’t wait to get out of there.

It isn’t long of course before Derry manages to get herself involved in yet another crime that leaves her no choice but to try and get to the bottom of.

I found the crime side of things in this novel a lot more intriguing than the first in the series. Even though a lot more light hearted than a normal ‘crime’ book, it is packed full of mystery and suspense and it feels very much like a classic ‘who dunnit’. Things certainly get a lot more exciting towards the end and it was very gripping in parts.

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is another enjoyable read that has a whole array of wacky characters. Even though I have mentioned it in my review for the first book, I still stand by that this series would be great for the television. I think fans of Jonathan Creek and a like, will absolutely love the Madam Tulip series. It’s certainly a series that seems to be going from strength to strength.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 1 book24 followers
March 3, 2018
*I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Cover:

While the cover is pretty simple, I do like the coloring of it. I think the font and size of it is appropriate. The main thing to take from this cover is the title and I don’t mind that.

First Thoughts

I read the first Madam Tulip book and enjoyed it. When the author reached out to me about reading the third book, I wanted to read the second one as well.


This plot turned out to be something that I didn’t expect, but I enjoyed it all the same. There was murder, kidnapping, forgery, and a lot more. While I felt as though the plot took a little while to pick up, once it did, it was a page-turner.

Derry get thrown into another mystery, this one bigger than the last. Still, with the help of Bruce and the others, along with her psychic powers, everything slowly comes along together. I enjoyed every step of the process from the moment the first mysterious package was dropped off.


I still enjoyed Derry’s character as I did the first book and I loved Bruce. I liked all the characters, however there were a lot to keep track of. I didn’t think all the characters were needed and it was hard for me to keep it all straight.

Derry’s parents are as much of a mess as ever and I feel for Derry having to deal with her mother and father. I’ll admit I got a little annoyed with both of them, especially Vanessa. Though I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to have iffy feelings toward them.

Writing Style

The book was certainly easy to read and it flowed well. Aside from it being a little slow in the beginning, I was eager to keep reading as the plot thickened. The mystery is pretty gruesome and is quite the thrill. The writing is so well done that I even had to put the book down and walk away because my own anxiety starting flaring. It was a good thing though.

The book is decent length and I felt as though everything was wrapped up pretty well. The mystery made sense and I didn’t have any questions or wonders by the end.


I’ll admit I enjoyed the first book more. This book took a little while for the mystery to begin and I felt as though there were too many characters who didn’t seem to have a big role. However, it was well written and the plot thickened nicely with a nice tie-up for the mystery.

Favorite Quote:

“What was it about today? The men were behaving like pigeons.” –David Ahern, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts

*This review was originally posted on RachelPoli.com
Profile Image for Steph Warren.
1,347 reviews25 followers
January 3, 2018
*I received a free ARC of this book. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

This second book in the Madam Tulip / Derry psychic reluctant-detective series follows a very similar pattern to the first, but with more Derry and less Tulip this time around.

The book, as per the previous, can be divided into two distinct parts. The first is a psychic mystery investigation of unusual events and strange visions by our underemployed actress hero Derry and her trusty versatile sidekick Bruce, featuring cameos by her humourously aggravating parents as some light relief. The second is a darker action thriller with dangerous types (it was a Colombian drug lord last time, this time it is a Russian crime lord), guns and knives and elaborate James Bond-esque escapes.

The switch between the two sections, in both style and content, should be jarring, but in fact is achieved through a gradual increase in pace and tension, and the characters remain consistent, so the transition goes smoothly and it is only when thinking back over the story that I realised that it almost felt like I had read two books in one cover!

I think that the characters and plot set-up established in this series so far work really well and have great potential for further storylines and plot development. I would like to see the introduction of an overarching story that ties the series together into a larger overall goal, as currently Derry is still feeling her way rather than fully committed to the role assigned to her by the plots to date.

I would also love to see Derry acquire some form of training between this book and the next, in basic self-defense at the very least, as if she is going to accept that her visions lead her into dangerous situations then she needs to also accept that she cannot just rely on Bruce or her parents to show up in the nick of time to rescue her, but needs to be more proactive in matters.

One of my favourite aspects of these books is when Derry-the-actress is subsumed by the older, mature and mysterious Tulip and is able to use not just her ‘powers’ of vision, but her cool demeanour and quick wits to analyse and unsettle the bad guys. These are the moments where our hero makes the jump from being a cosy-mystery Everywoman to someone unique and intriguing, whilst retaining her distinct voice.

And yet again, I would like to know how the author managed to have me suspecting every character (except Derry) at some point or other?! Even the ones that were previously ‘cleared’! I was genuinely still guessing at who was involved in what shenanigans right up until the reveal moment, which is highly unusual for me as a prolific mystery reader.

As you can tell from the above observations, I am fully committed to this series now as a reader, and will be waiting anxiously for the next installment to see whether Derry is ready to embrace Tulip and the responsibilities that come with her powers, and continue to avoid entanglement in the parental snares!

What can you say to the accusation that two unfortunate things that occurred in your life were suspiciously connected by the indisputable fact that they both happened to you?

– David Ahern, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts

(Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog)
Profile Image for Carole Rae.
1,318 reviews41 followers
April 2, 2017
This is the second book of the Madam Tulip series. However, it could be read as a standalone if need be. I do encourage reading the first one first just to really get an understanding of Derry and her entourage.

Again, poor Derry is out of work again as an actress. She really should hang up her acting career and focus on being Madam Tulip and work with the police force. Maybe she can do some undercover work? That takes acting skills! But yes...the stage and her are not meant to be.

She is back at it again and this time there is a lot more mystery going on. I must admit I had no idea who was the baddie and I had no idea where the story was going to go. Kuddos to the author on this! 'Tis a hard feat to really throw me for a loop.

Now, I must admit this was not as funny or action-packed as the last one. Sure there was a lot going on, but the pace seemed stretched out and not as well done as the last book. There were a few times it seemed to draaaaaaaaaaagggggggggg, but then an event would happen and I would be hooked again. As for the humor? There were some funny moments especially with Derry and her crazy parents, but it seemed very scarce compared to the last one where I was nonstop laughing. I blame the boring rich people...they are rarely fun.

I must give a hand to the author for his writing style and his character development. He certainly knows how to bring the characters alive and make them feel real. I adore Derry, but she really needs a kick of reality that she is not meant for the stage anymore....solving crimes and future-reading is her trade.

In the end, this was okay. Not as good as the first book in many ways, but it did have a better mystery than the first one. I am curious to see where and what Derry has in her future. I recommend this series to those who like a good mystery. I shall give this a 3.
Profile Image for Karen (BaronessBookTrove).
921 reviews86 followers
March 9, 2018
Fortune Telling, severed body parts, and a royal engagement party what could possibly go wrong?
Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern brings us Derry O’Donnell who is back again with a bit of a problem for herself and her friends. Well acting friends but still a problem. To get acquainted or reacquainted with these character’s please read my first review of Madam Tulip by David Ahern.

The Characters
Our heroine, of course, once again finds herself without work and her mom trying to offer her a job. Except this time, it actually seems to have worked for a bit for a fundraiser idea that Derry had. For the theatre she was working at, as an actress, needs the money. Then again at the fundraiser Madam Tulip gets a job telling fortunes at an engagement party. What could go wrong for a fortune teller at a costume engagement party? Apparently, a lot for the amateur sleuth.

Derry has brought along Bruce to help drive her there with the costumes. Not only Madam Tulip’s but for the party guests as well. Good thing she did since Bruce is a big help with his Navy SEAL training despite being an actor know. These two have been friends for a long time and Derry trusts him with her life more than anyone else. Especially when it concerns severed body parts appearing.

Five Stars
Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern is very exciting and keeps you guessing on with why this is happening to the people that hired Madam Tulip. I honestly didn’t except with why it was going on when we were told the reason with Derry. I was thinking about the reason and then it finally made sense once we get caught up with the bad guys. I am giving this book five stars as it was that good. I will be recommending this book to my friends and you guys looking at my site if you like this type of book.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by
Baroness’ Book Trove.

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If you would like to read more reviews like this one please go to baronessbooktrove.com
Profile Image for Book Inspector.
274 reviews6 followers
September 20, 2017
For more reviews please visit https://bbookinspector.wordpress.com

This book is a second part in Madam Tulip series, and normally, the first part is the one to wow readers to come back for more, but in this case, the second part was way better for me than the first one.

The first part was more of an introduction to Madam Tulip and what she is capable of, in this part things get more serious. Another difference was that, the first part was more like cosy mysteries; the second one loses its coziness and is more action filled, and more intense. Once again, Ahern chose his characters very skillfully. We have some which are incredibly eccentric and real personalities, and others, who are down to earth and very realistic. I honestly do not know how Ahern done his research for his books, but the details about royalty, elegance, old historical houses were a true pleasure to read about. Moreover, the details about historical house and laws of royal inheritance were really accurate and incredibly believable, so, well done to the author.

The narrative was once again told from Derry’s perspective, and in this book I was missing multiple perspectives, as I believe, it helps to understand other characters way better. I really enjoyed that Ahern played with this narrative more, incorporating different approaches in Derry’s life (working for her mom). In this novel there was less of Madam Tulip herself, and more of Derry and her bad luck to end up in dangerous situations. Another well done to the author for increasing the level of action in this novel, I really enjoyed unexpected turns and unusual places chosen for it. One thing what left me debating with myself was the “bad guy” in this book, he was very well picked, but at the same time very obvious and predictable. Even though this book is a second part in the series, it can easily be a standalone mystery, because Ahern explained everything a “new reader” needs to know.

The writing style of this book changed as well. It is more skillful and there are more difficult terms used in this novel, but it did not make it difficult to read, it just felt richer. The chapters are decent length, and once again, divided into smaller parts. I was little bit disappointed with the ending of this book, author used the same technique as in first book and it does not leave me satisfied. I WANT JUSTICE!!! :) So, to conclude, I was really amused with this book and I do recommend to give it a go. It left me very pleasantly surprised with more action, aristocratic and incredibly complex and entertaining characters, the interesting secrets, findings, and incredibly annoying and horrible Derry’s mom (can’t stand that woman now).
Was given this book by author for honest review.
Profile Image for Hannah Charlesworth.
98 reviews3 followers
June 4, 2017
I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I was looking forward to getting to pick up the second - thanks again! This is something I probably wouldn't have picked up if I saw this sitting on a shelf in Waterstones; why? Sometimes bright and colourful books make me think it might be some sort of romantic comedy, which is completely not me. However, saying that, this series does need this kind of bright and colourful cover - it wouldn't be the same otherwise! (Please don't take this is a criticism haha).

What I particularly enjoy about this series is the characters - everytime they all talk I get this proper British snobby voice in my head and I love it. It gives me a little bit of a giggle and I am not a huge fan of comedy - this isn't comedy in the same way however. Poor Derry just constantly has no luck either yet I don't feel overly sorry for her. The goings on at the stately house were really good too; I had no idea who could be sending the Earl packages of body parts until something just clicked at around 75% of the way through the book - I think most readers will certainly catch on too but it still had a few twists that were great.

I don't have any particular downfalls in this book, the writing is really great too and it is definitely a fast paced sort of read. I think I read this in about three sittings which is just a nice amount. The ending wasn't quite as good as the last one but not something to be put off by - sometimes more of a wrap is what is needed more than a huge cliffhanger. It still makes me want to read the next one.

Overall, another great book in the series and I am really hoping there are more - cannot wait to see what other poor luck Derry has going on!
Profile Image for Marie’s Book Boutique.
319 reviews4 followers
May 25, 2017
you can check out full review mariesbookboutique.wordpress.com/2017...
Firstly I would like to thank the author David Ahern for asking me to read and review the second book in the Madam Tulip series on Marie's Book Boutique. ( you can check my review for the first book here )
I really like the front cover of this book very much! I think the blue back ground really makes the title, authors name and the image really stand out perfectly, catching the eye like any cover should! I also thought that its wonderful the way the green writing; 'Madam Tulip' and 'David Ahern' is tied in with the outline of the knight hand and the tulip and then the colour change to red with the rest of the title, very affective.
Madam Tulip and the Knave of hearts by David Ahern is the second instalment in the Madam Tulip adventures, with a third book in the writing process. After reading the first book; which I really enjoyed, I was intrigued as to what Madam Tulip could get up to next! It has mystery, adventure, a death and of course some fortune-telling, because hey that's Madam Tulip!
At the beginning of the story Derry stars off with an acting job at the Palace theatre in Dublin; but unfortunately the theatre roof caves in making the stage unsafe and therefore they have to close the theatre and stop the show as there is no other theatre that isn't being used. Derry and her friends think of ways in which they can rise the money the roof needs to be fixed. They all get involved including Derry's parents which I genuinely enjoyed because those two are really quite humorous characters and make me chuckle a lot! When Derry gets the job offer to go to a countess to be Madam Tulip, Derry becomes intrigued and apprehensive all at the same time. I would say the story becomes a little flat as the story goes on because you as the reader are introduced to so many characters that it becomes a little confusing at times. Which really wasn't the case in the first book however it was really lovely to catch up with the Madam Tulip character. She has something about her that's so likeable and charming. I thought it was a shame we didn't get to see more of Bella because she was so much fun! but it was nice to get to know Bruce; who accompanies Madam Tulip to her next gig, he is the man who can call his hand to almost anything and used to be in the US Navy SEAL.
All ought this story is part of a series you can read them as a standalone if you really wanted to but I would advise to read the first one first as you will understand Madam Tulip a lot better.
For me I felt a bit disappointed in this one as I didn't feel like it got going until right at the beginning and then again at the end, the middle just felt flat to me like a lull if you like. This is a shame because I really enjoyed the first book very much, and hoping the last instalment will be as good as the first.

Profile Image for Courtney Giraldo.
158 reviews1 follower
November 9, 2017
Derry O'Donnell is back! After her play is shut down, indefinitely, due to structural damage at the theater (namely the roof caving in), Derry finds herself out of work once again. Her old acquaintance, Marlena offers her a gig reading fortunes as her alter-ego Madam Tulip for a weekend at a friends engagement party. Unable to pass up the lucrative paycheck, and promises of donations to the theater for repairs, Derry agrees. Of course things don't go as planned (when do they in a mystery novel?) and mysterious body parts are mailed to the estate. Derry finds herself entangled in an unsettling tale of buried family secrets, deceit, and deception. 

Once, again a very good read from David Ahern. The second book in the Madam Tulip franchise follows much the same recipe as the first. Derry is plagued with visions and dreams which turn out to be foreshadowing of events to transpire throughout the novel. Her trusty BFF Bruce is back as her sidekick (love that guy) and there are plenty of humorous antics between her parents Vanessa and Jacko. As with any good mystery there were many surprises as the story progressed, namely the ending (once you read the book you'll know what I mean!). The book was a tad slow starting off but picked up much more around the halfway mark. Overall a fun read and one I would definitely recommend to you guys!
Profile Image for Carrie Westmoreland Kurtz.
319 reviews8 followers
May 19, 2017
Madam Tulip is back and I couldn't be more excited! I loved the first book and, if possible, I think I loved this one even more! So much mystery and excitement, definitely a hit!

Davis Ahern has a way of writing that you can totally create the scenes in your mind. It makes me want it to be a movie or television show! Well, maybe not, the books are always better. I'll continue to let my imagination play in my head for now.

If you like funny, exciting murder mystery type books (maybe like the Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum books) you will definitely love these! I certainly adore Derry O'Donnell/Madam Tulip and all her antics and adventures! This book keeps you on your toes for sure!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ieva Strupisa.
305 reviews22 followers
December 16, 2018
The author provided me the copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

Derry O'Donnel is back and is drawn again in unbelievable adventures, which kept me on the edge. This time her gift has a smaller significance, though. David, as always, presented exciting plot in a witty way.

You can read my full review, including what I found great and what I thought was lacking, on my blog here: http://www.notesofabookdragon.com/201...
Profile Image for Kerensa Draumr.
13 reviews3 followers
March 30, 2018
Neg.: characters do not seem to move forward in life, link between the idea of Madam Tulip and trouble, plot reminds strongly of the prequel.
Pos.: natural continuance of the first novel (characters from the first novel we wouldn't expect to see again are still present), good and funny writing, excellent momentum.

For a full review go to https://kerensasreadingnook.wordpress...

Kerensa J. Draumr
Profile Image for Gayle B.
330 reviews
February 27, 2018
Don't let the look and feel of a cozy fool you. This book is quite a thriller as the plot thickens. I like the basic plot of Derry trying to pay her skills using her psychic/fortune telling skills for hire. Once again she stumbles into a dangerous situation. Wealth, royalty, art thieves, forgery, kidnapping
Will Derry be able to get herself out of this one with her card reading? Looking forward to book three in the Madam Tulip series.
4 reviews
January 19, 2020
Exciting cosy mystrey

Derry, Bruce and Jacko are pulled in again. The twists and turns will k÷ep you on the edge of your seat. At places things will happen to make you gasp or just plain laugh out loud. What you ask? Nope not telling. Jst open the book and get lost in the story.
Profile Image for Myra Ball.
649 reviews
November 20, 2020
Awesome mystery

This is a wonderfully written series with lots of adventure and great characters. I did fill like the conclusion was similar to book one and not a completely satisfying ending.
Profile Image for Becca.
147 reviews3 followers
January 2, 2021
Another fun book

Derry O'Donnell's rollicking adventures as Madam Tulip make for a fine evening of reading. Cozy, character-driven mystery at its best!
23 reviews
October 15, 2021
Lots of nice twisty parts

Fun read, some easy clues left around to help keep you confused enough to keep reading to the end. Definitely will read the next installment.
291 reviews
January 21, 2023
Enjoyable. Better than the first book. Light, fast reading.
Profile Image for Claire Kane.
105 reviews47 followers
February 9, 2017
I very much enjoyed the first in this series, however this was a bit of a let down. The characters were thinly spread and there were unnecessary reintroductions to the ones that appeared in the first book. The characters were also largely inconsistent by comparison to how they were portrayed in the first book, with the exception of the protagonist's parents.

I felt that this book rambled on too much- long, pointless conversations, not getting to the point, or the mystery, quick enough. I also had issues with how the female characters were portrayed- the women were all shallow, materialistic and either ball-breakers or dim. As pedantic as it seemed the way in which the clothes were described really put me off too. The descriptions were bizarre.

once again, I very much enjoyed the first story, but the second in this series is very weak, and it doesn't seem as though it's actually part of a series. The only reason I completed it was because I couldn't sleep the past few nights.
Profile Image for Aoibheann.
183 reviews6 followers
October 15, 2016
Genre: New-Adult, Suspense, Mystery
Recommend: Yes
Book 2


Review originally posted on Aoibh Reads

Madam Tulip is back in another mysterious setting surrounded by suspicious activity and life threatening situations. Derry O'Donnell is hired to perform her psychic act in a stately home in England after her current theatre role is jeopardized due to a falling stage. When things suddenly go awry, Derry has to stay longer than she anticipated as she is thrust into a murder mystery. Surrounded by a wealthy family who are focused on protecting themselves, Derry wonders how she will come out of this fiasco. Throw in the usual drama between her artist father and art-dealer mother, Derry O'Donnell just can't catch a break.

I really loved the first installment of Madam Tulip and was pleasantly surprised that this surpassed the first story.

Derry: She really makes me laugh a lot! I love the constant battle between her want to make it as an actress but constantly finding herself being pulled back into the persona of Madam Tulip and her hesitance to accept it as a career of sorts... all the while battling her controlling and materialistic mother who is trying to sculpt her into her own minion.

"Derry remembered once standing on the top tread of a stairway at Dublin Airport, only for it to lurch into motion and reveal itself as an escalator. Such were conversations with Vanessa. All you could do was scramble backwards hoping somehow to end up where you should have started."

I would probably disown or strangle Vanessa were she my mother... but I hope she sticks around as she makes for a wonderful character to dislike! Their relationship is such a dichotomy to that between Derry and her father - which is somehow also dysfunctional.

Mystery: The suspense in this hit me a lot more than in the first novel. There was a really intricate web of threats and danger that I found so enthralling and thrilling - such as random body parts turning up in the post! With the climax looming the chapters covering the action were so fast-paced but detailed that the fear of the characters was palpable.

Setting: The setting for this story really made it for me. A stately home in England with a complicated family history of secrets and deceit, I was hooked fairly quickly. I think the majority of people nowadays love the insight into a privileged and stately environment. Although, we still got some glimpses of Derry's Irish heritage beyond the initial chapters.

“’Shinne Feena Fawl’ declaimed Derry, accompanying her proclamation with sweeping gestures. The crowd perked up. The was new. This was fresh. “Athaw fay towl in Ayring,” Derry added,”

Writing: I love Ahern's writing style. There is a great "story-telling" vibe that really made me feel like I was sitting down listening to a great whirlwind of events being related. I think this plays a huge part in why this series is so alluring. While the main concept is a murder mystery who-dunnit, more often than not I found myself chuckling away with his quirky style.

“They might also detect a subtle nuance signalling please go away, and on your way out tell anyone without halitosis and with two atoms of charm to come on in. But subtle nuances were as lost on Frankie as the aroma of distant hamburger to a cactus”


This is perfect for anyone who loves a cozy mystery with a twist. There are threats and deaths, but hilarious scenarios that keep it light in-between the drama.

See more of my reviews here

Profile Image for Hobart.
2,396 reviews63 followers
October 20, 2016
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
After the dramatic events at the end of her first experiment as Madam Tulip, Derry puts away her costume and fortune-telling apparatus, focusing on something safer -- like theater. Which works up until the roof caves in after her big opening night. So now she (and her friends) are without jobs, the theater's existence is in danger, and Derry's mother is just waiting for a chance to pounce and force her into a "real" job.

Derry and her pals organize a charity auction (with some help from her mother) to help the theater -- Derry also ends up working for her mother in a temporary capacity (only one of them actually believes that part) -- we see a different side of her, on e that makes you believe she has options outside of acting if she wants them. I like seeing her character rounded out -- I also liked the little flash we had of her acting ability outside of Madam Tulip.

Marlene comes to the rescue as well -- she has a friend from a titled family, who is throwing an extravagant engagement party and wants Madam Tulip to be part of it. This will give Derry a needed infusion of cash and the family will make a contribution to the theater's fund as well (there's a family connection). Bruce also picks up some work, which is convenient for Derry -- and for Ahern -- always handy to have your ex-SEAL buddy character nearby if things go bad. And they do, naturally -- Derry has visions of an unhappy bride, body parts start showing up in the mail (don't worry -- this doesn't get gruesome), and rumors of other family problems surround Derry. It's up to her, her clients (featuring a spunky dowager), and Bruce to save the day.

It might just be me, but there's a larger supernatural feel to this one. Last time, you could almost get away thinking that Derry was just good at reading people and doing the card thing as a lark. But in this volume, there's no denying that she has some sort of "sight." While the supernatural is more evident here, it's not like Charlaine Harris took over, it's still pretty much the same feel. Also, I should add that Derry putting the pieces together at the end isn't all due to her gift -- the practical side, her mother's influence, that has as much to do with her success as anything else.

There's a bit of a romantic storyline here, I liked this one better than the previous book's foray into that part of Derry's life. It was less complicated and more believable. Sure, I liked the guy from the last book more than this one -- but the story worked better with this interest.

The whole gang is back for this go 'round. We didn't get a lot of Bella, less of Marlene than I expected, and less of Bruce than I wanted (but he's there when he needed to be) -- but the just the right amount of Jacko (who was a lot of fun) and her mom. The new characters were okay, I didn't get the sense of connection to them that I did with everyone last time -- they were clearly invented just for this adventure, ready to be replaced by another group in need of her talents.

This is a fun, light mystery -- great for readers of David Rosenfeldt or Janet Evanovich, who don't mind a touch of something beyond this world. I really liked the first book in this series -- I've even put my money where my mouth is and given it as gifts. I liked this one almost as much, but in many ways it reminded me about what I've heard many TV writers talk about -- writing the pilot is hard, but the 2nd episode is worse -- it's basically retelling the pilot in a slightly different way. On many fronts, that's what this felt like: a slightly tweaked version of the first book (and as soon as I wrote that, I thought of at least a half-dozen ways I was wrong to say it). I hope book 3 (assuming we get one) is a little less like these two. But I'm still going to be there, because these characters and Ahern's voice are right up my alley and I want to spend more time with both.
Profile Image for Jill Elizabeth.
1,553 reviews37 followers
November 2, 2016
In this latest installment, Derry/Madam Tulip is relocated from the sham-glam world of Hollywood to the equally sham-glam world of landed British aristocracy – albeit sham in a very different fashion this time around. The cast of characters surrounding Derry/Madam T is fundamentally the same. Marlene is back – but the shift in location seems to have resulted in a bit of a seismic shift in her personality. Gone is the sweet ditz from the first book; in her place is a more sensible girl – one who still pulls Derry into a perilous Madam Tulip situation, but does so in a much less dramatic manner than in the first book. Perhaps her own share of Madam Tulip’s earlier adventure is responsible; regardless, I found the bit of personal growth refreshing if a bit disappointing, since I rather liked the sweet ditziness her character brought to the first book… The indomitable Jacko and formidable Vanessa (Derry’s parents) are as delightful as in the first book, as is Bruce the SEAL-turned-actor/waiter-turned-bodyguard. It was a pleasure to see them all again, and their portions of the story were populated by the witty repartee and save-the-day heroics (both intentional and accidental) that I so enjoyed in the original Madam T book.

It was the newer characters that fell somewhat flat for me, unfortunately.

The Brits were all a bit, well, staid and understated. While these may be traits often stereotypically ascribed to British aristocrats, they don’t exactly make for the most scintillating reading… Even when the drama was high they – with the notable exception of Countess Octavia, who was an absolute delight in all her in turn understated and overblown regality – seemed a little too stiff-upper-lip to be real. And the drama was HIGH at times, believe me… A bit too much so, I fear, as I occasionally found myself rolling my eyes in a “not AGAIN?!” manner when yet another intensely violent or disturbing or aggressive incident befell someone. If the first book felt like a lovely fun little afternoon tryst into the world of movie stars, this one felt like a headlong run into a blind alley. It felt like an altogether different genre at times – more dark crime novel than cozy mystery… It was a bit more than I anticipated – and not necessarily in a good way. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading it, just that it felt to be a very different book than the earlier one and that difference was rather slap-in-the-face startling on more than one occasion – and this difference caught me off guard.

I must admit, I preferred the lighter fare of the first book. This one felt like it was working hard to be something different – as though adding more layers of mystery and intrigue would a more interesting overall story. I don’t think it did – it just felt different: darker, harsher, more aggressive. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m curious as to the purpose of the change and whether it is indicative of where the overarching story of Madam Tulip will go. I may not have preferred this installment, but I still find myself interested in knowing what happens next – although honestly at this point it’s because of the supporting characters… I just LOVE Jacko and Vanessa – the former’s flagrant self-interest and the latter’s undeniable self-absorption never fail to bring a joyful giggle, they are unflaggingly fabulous scene-stealers...

My review copy was provided by the author - the always delightful David Ahern.
Profile Image for Jessie Stevens.
Author 3 books5 followers
February 28, 2017
I’m so grateful that I was once reeled in by a cute frog on the cover of a book. That book, Madam Tulip, introduced me to Derry O’Donnell and her accompanying, charmingly over the top, literary comrades.

David Ahern’s newest book cover isn’t as cute as his first…

… but that’s alright because I loved it even more!

Would I recommend it?

Yes! This is the new series I’m recommending to anyone who loves a humorous mystery! It made me giggle (so many times) and almost gag (there’s an eyeball…) and had me on the edge of my seat (Well, that’s just a lie on my part. I was reading in bed. But it did have me refusing to put the book down and go to bed at a reasonable time) all at once. A perfect fun, quick read!
Profile Image for Gordon Long.
Author 28 books35 followers
November 13, 2016
In this second book of the “Madam Tulip” series, Derry, the starving actress, continues to fight (but not very hard) against taking up her crystal ball and making financial use of her on-again-off-again psychic abilities. Once again, the story is filled with interesting characters, witty dialogue, a good deal of suspense (courtesy of Russian Gangsters this time) and a bit of gratuitous gut-churning horror through liberal applications of cling wrap. Claustrophobes might want to skim certain sections.

I have to admit that this second novel, entertaining as it is, does not have quite the snap that the first one did. Her parents reprise their kooky individualism, but the marvellous love/hate relationship between them seems to have mellowed. Kerry seems to be more comfortable with her “talent,” thus reducing that tension a bit. Not so much fun with the supporting cast; we have met many of them before.

If I had to compare this book to the first in the series, I would say it was a little less subtle, with less personality conflict and more action and suspense. Still highly recommended for a very enjoyable light read.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 3 books346 followers
October 9, 2016
Derry O'Donnell is asked to make another appearance as Madam Tulip fortune teller to the rich and famous. She begrudgingly obliges as the play she was in was canceled due to a tragic accident where the stage was destroyed. Needing the money she once again puts on the gown of Madam Tulip. This time she in England. At the stately home, she finds herself in, strange things start happening like body parts showing up. She finds herself once again immersed in a murder mystery. Will she be able to find the truth before she gets hurt?

In an Oyster Shell - Another mystery packed adventure with Madam Tulip. I recommend it.

The Pearls - This is another great installment of the Madam Tulip series. I like the constant struggle that Derry goes through as an actress. This really sets up the story for her to become Madam Tulip it's always done begrudgingly. She want's to make it as an actress, not Madam Tulip. I find this conflict interesting.

Full Review: Writing Pearls
Profile Image for Rachel Chiapparine.
1,043 reviews4 followers
October 15, 2016
I was blessed enough to receive a free PDF copy of the book via email from the author in exchange for my honest review of the book which is as follows:

For the majority of the book I felt like I was reading about a current day “Downton Abby” type of family which was for me personally felt light-hearted and fun, however once I got towards the end of this book’s main mystery parts of it felt a bit confusing.

I still don’t understand the relationship between the main character and her mom, I am glad that her dad seems to truly love her as she is. I’m hoping that in future books she will finally except her gifts more. Overall I personally rate this book a 7/10.
Profile Image for Mike Siedschlag.
389 reviews16 followers
April 12, 2017
Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts was given to me by author David Ahern in e-format for review.

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second book in the Madam Tulip series. I found this entry as good a read as was the first. Psychic Madam Tulip is the alter ego of Derry O'Donnell, a perpetually starving actress. She finds herself employed as the fortune teller at a party given by British royalty (no not the Queen, a bit lower on the royal roster). Her psychic abilities get her caught up in cloak and dagger goings on.

I like the Madam Tulip books because of the way all the players are presented. Derry is psychic, no big deal (at least to her). Her mother is a delightfully pompous art dealer, her father an equally delightful artist. The ongoing feud between her estranged parents is seriously funny. Her best friend Bruce is an ex-seal and by the way, gay. Though his sexuality rarely plays much of a part in the story.

A little different from the first book, Madam Tulip herself does not actually appear that much. Madam Tulip's appearance at the big party is kind of a sideline. This does not, however, take anything away from the story. The action and intrigue we enjoyed in the first book are here as well. A cleverly twisting plot sprinkled with psychic clues, gives us an entertaining mystery with just enough humor [(humour, it is a British oriented story after all) (a Scots (Roddy Piper said Scotch is a drink, Scot is a person) author is still British, right? I'm such an American) to keep the tone from getting too heavy and oppressive.

David Ahern does a great job of keeping the characters fresh and the story exciting. It is a wild ride and the minor royals are as goofy as anyone else.

No sex (don't really want too much detail on Bruce's activities, not that there's anything wrong there), apparently Derry is too busy getting caught up in mysteries for any amorous activities. Some violence (there are bad guys, and we all know how they are), not overly graphic.Enough twists and turns to keep mystery lovers hooked. Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern is an all around good read. Enjoy!

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