Title: Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts (#2 in the series)
Author: David Ahern
N.B.: I received an E-ARC from the author in exchange of an honest review
When out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash.
Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets.
A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and
abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death.
Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and
reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to plunge back into Daved Ahern’s world and discover what Derry, Bruce, Jacko, Vanessa, and everyone else were up to. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed to find out that Derry had quit fortune-telling since the unfortunate events of the first novel. Although I could understand, this strongly links the idea of Madam Tulip to trouble. Furthermore it seems that Derry, or more precisely Madam Tulip is only available to the famous and wealthy. It would be nice to see her in a less rich and scandalous setting. Maybe in her own actors world. Struggling actors whose life is only complicated by the presence of Madam Tulip.
Besides these minor points, this novel was able to keep up with the high expectations left by the prequel. Just as in the first book, the story goes forward at a high rate, not leaving any room for boring explanations or descriptions. All in all, the story takes place over the course of two weeks.
I have to remark though, that the mysterie aspect is highly similar to the previous novel. I know that there are limitations, but just like in the first book, the bad guy was easily foreseeable and equally gets away. It would be nice to see the bad guy get caught for once, otherwise I’ll seriously have to question the power of law enforcement. David Ahern somewhat made up for it with some plot twist, namely the lineage of Sebastian and the role of the Dowager, Octavia, in this whole story (albeit I would have preferred a bit more explanation concerning this last one).
I enjoyed seeing some of the old (secondary) characters come back such as Bella, Jasmine, Lorna and even Marlene. I did wonder, however, what had happened to the undercover cop. Maybe I was kind off hoping that Derry and he would start dating again…. Talking about dating, it would be nice to see either Derry or Bruce in some kind of relationship in the next novel.
Besides these small personal disappointments on the development of the story, the novel was well written and had great momentum which resulted in David Ahern sucking me right back into Madam Tulip’s exceptional world.
P.S.: I already started reading the third novel which will come out on the 12 th of April!