*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Actress Derry O’Donnell, moonlighting as fortune-teller Madam Tulip, finds herself in a famous pop singer’s entourage. But at the star’s glittering birthday party in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds a band riven by rivalries and feuds. Behind the trouble is a mysterious Russian guru, a shaman hated by everyone but the singer whose life she dominates.
When the shaman mysteriously disappears, suspicion threatens to tear the band apart. Was she victim or poisoner? Guilty or innocent? Dead or alive?
Two brilliant and beautiful musicians; an ambitious band manager with a shady past; a sax player entranced by Vikings—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.
Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is fourth in the Madam Tulip mystery series, in which Derry O’Donnell, her sidekick Bruce and best friend Bella, play the most exciting and perilous roles of their acting lives.
Those familiar with Derry and Madam Tulip will already know the drill, but for anyone who hasn’t read the previous books, I would recommend starting with those first. In theory, the plot here can stand alone, but in reality, Jacko, Vanessa, Bruce, Bella and Madam Tulip herself are all so much better when you know their history!
The characters really are superb here. I particularly identify with main character, Derry (less so with her psychic alter-ego) and her worries about doing the right thing but also earning enough to pay her bills. Jacko, Vanessa and Bella do their usual stellar job of providing some comic relief to the storyline, whilst Bruce is coming more and more to the forefront as Derry’s partner in crime-solving and a bit of an all-round superhero!
The plot follows a now-familiar pattern, in which Derry sets out to simply earn a few pennies in her actress role and ends up embroiled in a mess of gangsters, liars and histrionic artistes. Luckily she has Madam Tulip’s skills to fall back on, as she tries to work out some petty squabbles between popstars and where the resident shaman has ‘poddled’ off to. Plus, there may just be a new romantic interest on the horizon… if Derry can eliminate him from her suspect pool first.
These cosy mysteries are really great fun, with a clever blend of psychic and mundane investigation, and plenty of exciting action. I can’t wait to find out what Derry – and Tulip – and co get up to next!
The sensation of becoming Madam Tulip was familiar but more intense than Derry had ever experienced. She had the strangest feeling that Derry O’Donnell, actress—the person whose body and brain she had inhabited all her life—had evaporated. The absurd idea flitted into her head that she might now be a ghost sitting placidly on the edge of her bed waiting for Madam Tulip to return and bring her back to life. Or was she neatly packed away, folded like a blouse in a drawer until Tulip should choose one day to take her out?
Derry smiled at the thought. But she was certain of one thing—Derry O’Donnell, hanger-on, notional member of a popstar’s entourage, was indeed no more. In her place was a woman who knew who she was and why she was here. Madam Tulip’s clients came because they needed something. Her happy vocation was to help them know what that thing might be.
– David Ahern, Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree
Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree releases on Amazon today!