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Maids of Misfortune

(A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  9,468 ratings  ·  888 reviews
It's the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie's husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt. Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as ...more
Paperback, 327 pages
Published December 3rd 2009 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published 2009)
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Denise The description says 327 pages in paperback version.

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4 stars to M. Louisa Locke's Maids of Misfortune, the first book in the "Victorian San Francisco" mystery series and a great blend of murder mystery charm and historical shenanigans. I found the book on Amazon as a free Kindle e-read and thought it would be something slightly different... and it was a welcome read I recommend for anyone looking for a historical cozy.

Annie Fuller is a 26-year-old widow, owning and operating a b&b out of her Victorian home by day, and working as Madam
A historical mystery set in post-gold rush day of San Francisco that features a widow /boarding house owner/ fortune teller who actually dispenses investment advices. Sounds like a very interesting premise. Unfortunately, the novel was only marginally entertaining for me. With such a historically rich setting, the plot was surprisingly slow and boring with stilted dialogue. When writing historical fiction featuring a strong and independent heroine, there is always a danger of overdoing it and ...more
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
It can be difficult for me to read books about San Francisco; it irritates me when they take too many liberties, and it annoys me when they get things wrong. That said, Victorian San Francisco was done well, and I felt like the setting was well handled; it was S.F., but it wasn't overdone, and it was never really about the city.

Rather, the book was about Mrs. Annie Fuller, the widow who has found a way to eke out a living by running a boarding house and offering financial advice as the
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hmmm, this was okay. It's a light and cheesy murder mystery.
Annie Fuller gets involved in a murder and tries to help solve it. Police & lawyer friends leak her information. Dialogue is uneven. The ending is unlikely, to say the least.
I can't say I disliked the story but for the most part it had me raising an eyebrow over the shifts in direction, the police who can't read a clue (but Annie can). Lots of red herrings and misdirection, most of it obvious.

2-star = "it was okay". Exactly. Meh.
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started as a pleasant enough read, only to end not as a mystery left alone a detective novel, but a romance. And a sloppy one at that too. The criminal was predictable as was the plot and even an attempt to try and tempt the reader into guessing the wrong person as the perpetrator was a weak one. Dwelt too much on the feeling Annie and Nate had for each other, and one could not help wonder why all the twist if the story would end as easily and untroubled as it was? Should have put more Sybil in ...more
Charlotte English
I loved the character of Annie Fuller from the first page. Already a widow at the age of twenty-six, she's been pushed around, mistreated, gone from wealth right down to destitution and still pulled herself back. As the story opens, we find her the owner of a respectable boarding house, enjoying the independence she deserves. And if I had to describe Annie Fuller in one word, 'independent' is the word I would use. Nobody tells this lady how to behave!

She augments her modest living by
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery readers
I like a good 'who dunnit' novel with a little side of romance chemistry. Though this book was longer than expected it was still a good read. The descriptions and scenes can sometimes get lengthy but it did not take away from the overall plot of the book. The romance is very light and not the over the top insta-love we see in most books these days. Plus Annie and Nate did have me chuckling a time or two and I enjoy when a book can make me smile.

If you're looking for a mystery that doesn't
Pearl Barley
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely delightful cozy mystery with plots and twists to get your teeth into. I loved the way I was drawn straight into the life of Annie, a young widow running a boarding house and who mascarades as a clairvoyant to make ends meet. One of her clients dies and to all intents and purposes it looks like suicide, but not to Annie who find anomalies in the subsequent reporting of his death as well as vital business papers missing that lead her to suspect murder. Then she leaps on the trail even ...more
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Annie Fuller is a widow living in post-Civil War San Francisco, running a boardinghouse as both herself and her alter-ego Madame Sybil. When one of her clients turns up toes up, she decides to investigate! Also there's an attractive lawyer (i.e., crime-solving partner and maybe something more?), the deceased man's family (i.e., "suspects"), and a stint as an undercover maid and you've got yourself an American detective story.

1. While the story had elements I enjoyed (Victorian San Francisco!
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I'll be the first to admit I wasn’t expecting Maids of Misfortune to keep my attention past bed time. I'd already read Dandy Detects and though I found it enjoyable, the short story wasn’t exactly a page turner so I was unprepared when Locke's full-length mystery proved difficult to put aside.

The first installment of the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series introduces readers Annie Fuller, an enterprising boarding house
Annie Fuller, widow, runs a boarding house and supplemets her income by posing as a psychic medium providing financial, business and relationship advise from her San Francisco home. She's about to lose her home to the man who helped ruin her husband. When one of her favorite clients, Matthew Voss dies unexpectedly, leaving her $10 and shares in a mining company, Annie is stunned. The police claim suidice due to financial ruin but Annie knows that is far from true. She sets out to discover the ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly enjoyable book by M L Locke. I was drawn to the setting in San Francisco, a favourite city by the sea! Also the 'Victorian' atmosphere...strange how Victoria lent her name to an era which applied all over the world. The research is just brilliant, one was totally drawn into it, so natural is the writing. I learnt a good deal about the aches and pains, the long working days, the attitudes to servants in those days. Interesting reversal of roles when Annie, the heroine of our tale, ...more
Annie Fuller is an independent widow running a boarding house while dispensing advice from the parlor disguised as clairvoyant 'Madame Sybil'. Shocked by the apparent suicide of one of 'Sybil's' favorite clients, Annie is determined to prove Matthew Voss's death was not suicide but murder.

Annie knows the police officer first on the scene and is able to learn details about the crime from him. Voss's attorney, Nathaniel Dawson does some investigation of his own and discovers Voss's connection to
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved getting to know Annie Fuller. She was a widow in 1879 San Francisco that owned a boarding house. She also moonlighted as a clairvoyant to pay her bills. Annie had a clear mmd concerning finances and while playing clairvoyant advisor she became friends and financial advisor to Matthew Voss.

After the murder of Voss Annie felt she had to try to prove that his death was not a suicide. She meets young attorney Nathaniel Dawson and working together they try to figure out what exactly happened
Feb 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
I would not have finished this book if not for sheer stubbornness and because I hoped it would really highlight San Francisco -- it didn't. Annie, the main character, proclaims her intelligence and female independence at every opportunity but fails to make intelligent decisions and somehow manages to address every male she encounters with a breathy "Oh, Nate," or "Oh, Wong" -- as do most female characters, save one "old" and "bitter" spinster. The plot is riddled with holes, but they're often ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, kindle, mystery
I liked the character that the protagonist was trying to be; independent, smart, strong willed. But over the course of the book she seemed to take a dive into the ditzy schoolgirl category and it became more and more annoying to watch her stumble through nothing day in and day out. I thought the "romance" aspects were a bit contrived though I liked the characterization of the male lead and I was hoping to see the protagonist relationship expanded a bit more before the end. Overall, nothing ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love pleasant surprises when reading a free book. This was an enjoyable, well-written mystery that kept me on my toes (though I did have my suspicions) with a stubborn and strong-willed heroine as well as an otherwise diverse cast.
May 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book free for my Kindle on Amazon. It intrigued me because it is written by a retired history professor and takes place in Victorian-era San Francisco, both an historical era and a city of which I am fond.

I found this novel light but enjoyable, with a fiesty and intelligent heroine who is contastantly at battle with the social mores of the period. A young widow and boardinghouse owner, Annie Fuller moonlights as a clairvoyant, giving personal and financial advice based on sound
Very good mystery! Reading this, I realized how hard the life of my grandmother had been, when she was in service. This truly is a tribute to all maids (-servants)!
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maids of Misfortune is the first in a series of 6 mysteries that take place in the 1800's. They're great stories with great characters and I love the time period they take place within. A woman portraying herself as a clairvoyant finds herself mixed up in a murder mystery and tries to solve it with the help of the victims lawyer. All kinds of action and even some romance ensues throughout the book. These kinds of books are my go to books for when I've read a few really deep or long books and ...more
Abigail Padgett
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Locke mines the complexity of the Victorian Era in Maids of Misfortune, adroitly shedding light in shadowy corners of a time now as subject to stereotype as Regency England. But Annie Fuller is no stereotype. Widowed when her husband committed suicide, Annie has fled his abusive family to establish a rooming house in a San Francisco property left her by an aunt. To supplement the meager income generated by this endeavor, Annie operates an intriguing business on the side – as a clairvoyant!

Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I SO enjoyed reading this Victorian historical mystery novel, there's just something about the era that both mesmerises and disgusts. (People actually wanted to go into service?)

I've noticed a particular trait of these novels is a strong female protagonist, something which was apparently taboo of that era. I get the impression women were to be seen and not heard, that expressing an opinion was something not to worry their pretty little heads about.

The novel was extremely well written with
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-library
I got this as a free book off of Amazon's free book list. It took me a while to get into it, but that was probably due to the fact that I was only able to read it in fits and starts till about the middle of the book. At that point I was able to read it in much longer stretches. The main character managed to be a bit of a more modern heroine without being too out of the norm for the late 1800's I thought. The take down of the villain was humorous and I laughed out loud at several points.

When I
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
As a gently-bred widow in nineteenth century San Francisco, Annie Fuller struggles to be financially independent. To supplement her boarding house earnings, she also gives advice masquerading as a fortune teller. When one of her favorite clients seemingly commits suicide on the eve of his greatest triumph, only Annie is suspicious. The police won't listen to her theories, so she goes undercover as a maid in home of her late client. The family he left behind is in desperate straits, and Annie ...more
Yemisi Otasanya
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This turned out to be one of the best books I've read. (heard - lol). Adventurous, full of suspense and a tad bit of romance. I could hardly stop listening on audible. The character, Annie fuller's determination to solve a muder mystery, and the way she flawlessly planted herself as an unwitting spy was so implausible. And there was Nathan, the reluctant but determined lawyer. They were a great pair.
M. Louisa Locke did a superb job.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Light reading of the cosy sort. It made for a quick read while travelling. Characters were interesting enough that I'd read another in the series should one come my way.Nice to see San Francisco in its olden, golden days. I did employ some willing suspension of disbelief, but, on the whole, liked the book. It's been several weeks since I read it, so a plot summary would be crap. Let's just leave it as "I liked it."
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent historical mystery/romance. I loved the fiesty heroine Annie and the ending was terrific. A well crafted mystery with good red herrings, likeable characters, and tension (both in the mystery and romance).
Lynda Kelly
This was a pretty good story but I almost gave up a few times as it has a lot of mistakes all the way through which wore me down. I had seen some reviewers bleating that it wasn't true to 19th century San any of them were around then to argue the toss about it ! So I ignored that and that worked just fine for me.
But lines like "...the conjunction of the both the moon and Venus" an obvious error in my eyes and someone should have spotted it There were a lot of apostrophes
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I really liked this story of a young widow in Victorian San Francisco who is trying to keep the house bought after her husband's death. She works as a sort of fortune teller and one of her regular clients who was taking financial advise from her is murdered. She decides to get into the house as a maid to try to figure out who killed him. She meets with a handsome detective who she consults with about the murder.

On to number #2.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was terribly slow, but I might read the next one? Maybe? I don't know, this one took like three days to read and it never takes me that long to read a book this short, like ever soooo I guess I'm not going to read the next one? I don't know! this book left my emotions swirling in ten different kinds of meh

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Madison Mega-Mara...: #25 - Maids of Misfortune 1 3 Feb 27, 2015 10:03AM  
Did you read/like the short story, Dandy Detects 3 18 Aug 08, 2011 05:41AM  

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After being a professor of history for over 30 years, I am now retired and writing full time. The books in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series are based in part on my dissertation research on women who worked in the Far West at the end of the Nineteenth Century, and they feature Annie Fuller, a young widow who gives domestic and business advice as the clairvoyant, Madam Sibyl. She is aided ...more

Other books in the series

A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (8 books)
  • Uneasy Spirits (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #2)
  • Bloody Lessons (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #3)
  • Deadly Proof (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #4)
  • Pilfered Promises (A Victorian San Francisco Mysteries, #5)
  • Kathleen Catches a Killer: A Victorian San Francisco Novella
  • Dandy Delivers (A Victorian San Francisco Novella Book 3)
  • Scholarly Pursuits (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Book 6)
“Dear Madam:” 2 likes
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