Genre: New-Adult, Suspense, Mystery
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.
***Thank you to the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review***
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”