When Derry is skint, she starts monetising her ‘gift’ — the ability to tell the future. As Madam Tulip, she finds out that the gift can easily become a curse
Madam Tulip Mysteries #1
Twenty-seven-year-old Derry O’Donnell, half Irish, half American, is living in Dublin. Her mother has a successful art gallery in New York, her father fears his ex-wife and whenever she comes to Ireland he hides away, mostly at his daughter’s. Derry’s dream is to become an actress. In the meantime, she has no job and is “fully qualified for unemployment in three different languages.” But time is running out for Derry as her mother has given her an ultimatum: find a job within three weeks or move to the US and work for her mother’s art gallery. Derry is desperate to try anything….
It is “time for real life” according to Derry’s mother Vanessa. She has supported Derry’s living arrangements long enough. Although Vanessa is terribly wealthy, with her art galleries on New York’s prime Fifth Avenue as well as in London and Dublin, she refuses to support her daughter any longer. Derry dreads the thought of working for her mother, of giving up her dream to become an actress. She needs her best friend Bella to come up with a brilliant idea and as always, Bella comes through and far-fetched as it is, Derry has no other options. She is the daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son. And in Ireland, that can mean having extraordinary powers. Technically, it only concerns sons but who cares when there is a pressing need to earn money! As Bella points out to Derry, she always reads the cards for Bella so why not broaden her skills, at least act as if she is a psychic and able to tell fortunes.
That is how Madam Tulip, the fortune-teller and card reader with her crystal ball and magical powers comes into being. Soon she will be famous because Derry is meeting her father Jacko, a painter but foremost an artist in avoiding his ex-wife, at the races. Jacko insists Derry tells him which horse to bet on as he has always believed in her psychic powers. When they meet supermodel Marlene and her husband Doyle (Jacko’s patron of the arts) Jacko proudly introduces his daughter as Madam Tulip. Marlene is thrilled to hear Derry, or we should say Madam Tulip, reads cards and invites her to perform at her Celebrity Charity Auction. Of course, this is a great chance for Derry to earn some money! However, little does Derry know that her Madam Tulip performance will trigger a series of unnerving events, placing both Bella and herself in danger. Detective skills are needed to unravel a mystery involving a lover from a long time ago.
Madam Tulip is an entertaining read. There are paranormal references as Derry sometimes pictures events in dreams and reads cards — but she herself is convinced it is more luck than anything else. The fact that Derry struggles to accept money for what she does shows, in my eyes, her authenticity and I praise David Ahern for letting his protagonist consider the negative side-effects of exploiting her gift. I love the way the author describes events or moods, such as “Derry was enveloped by a gloom darker than the stairwell outside her door, whose bulbs hadn’t been changed since the Titanic was news and the Irish ate potatoes rather than Croquette Perigourdine.” Simply fantastic! If you are not into paranormal novels, do not worry because you can easily read it as an upbeat detective novel with likeable quirky characters and exciting actions where the crimes never become too dark or menacing. A funny enjoyable mystery liberally sprinkled with the pure gold of Irish wit and humour.
Book #2 in the Madam Tulip Mysteries series is Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts (Oct. 2016).
About the Author
David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland and ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist. He earned his doctorate and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didn’t own a stethoscope. Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs. For no particular reason, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip wasn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. The author is currently working on his third Madam Tulip adventure. David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.
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