Strong Spirits is the first in in the Daisy Gumm Majesty mystery series, originally published in 2003, and recently republished as an e-book.
Set in the 1920's, the book provides an interesting look at an earlier time when the Spiritualism movement was still going strong.
The beginning was slow (too large of an information dump) that established the background for Daisy Gumm and her foray into her life as a popular local medium.
Daisy knows that she has no connection to the spirit world, but views her profession as a spiritualist as bringing solace to those who attend her seances.
Daisy must support her family, especially since her young husband Billy Majesty has returned from the war a victim of mustard gas. Billy, however, doesn't approve of Daisy's profession. Daisy does her best to keep upbeat, but her life with Billy has many difficulties.
A wheelchair-bound husband and a nineteen-year-old bride affords an imaginative glimpse of what life was like for young married couples after devastating injuries in a horrific war. Daisy manages to handle the situation with a combination of gumption, despair, resilience, compassion, frustration, and understanding.
When her Mrs. Kincaid, Daisy's best client, has difficulties, she depends on Daisy to see her through. When the story begins, Mrs. Kincaid and her family have several emergencies, and Daisy gets caught up in all of them. She intensely dislikes Mr. Kincaid and the spoiled Kincaid daughter, but is grateful to the generous Mrs. Kincaid, and quite fond of Harold Kincaid, the son with an alternative life style.
Then with the theft of bank bearer bonds and a disappearance that might be murder, Daisy finds herself sparring with the detective in charge.
Have to admit that after a doubtful beginning, I found myself gradually pulled in to the story because of the characters. I like the spunky Daisy, but my favorite character is, again, a secondary character. Harold wins Daisy respect and gratitude, and as her fondness (not romantic) for Harold grew, so did mine.
There really isn't much mystery, but I enjoyed the novel, and will read the next in the series--hoping that much of the information dump will have disappeared.
By the way I got this e-book from Amazon for free. I do love free books.
Historical Mystery. 2003; 2013. Print version: 274 pages.