Strong Spirits - Alice Duncan

The cover of this book really drew me in.  I love the look of the 1920's so it immediately intrigued me to read a mystery set in that era.  The period details were rich so I wasn't disappointed.  There was a lot to like here!

Daisy Gumm Majesty is a fake spiritualist.  She makes her money holding seances and tarot card readings for the rich in her beautiful California town of Pasadena.  She helps support her husband who was gassed in WWI and her parents, a bookkeeper and a chauffeur.

Though this says it is a mystery, the mystery element is weak.  A crime is central to the story but there isn't anything very mysterious about it.  The characters are so real and likeable however, that the lack of a strong mystery didn't faze me.  I love the look at the day-to-day lives of the characters, both the lower income Gumms and the more wealthy Kincaids.  Daisy's relationship to her handicapped husband and to the police detective seemed realistic to me.

The reason this didn't get more stars was an underlying agenda running through the book that I did not enjoy. I don't care if I have the same social beliefs as the author, I don't want to feel like I'm having social commentary thrown in my face when I'm reading for escapism and relaxation. Also, the editing could have been a little tighter in a couple of places where there was some noticeable repetition. I'll be reading the next one in the series in hopes I can enjoy the story and the characters without the social commentary.