cover image A Deadly Fortune: An Amelia Matthews Mystery

A Deadly Fortune: An Amelia Matthews Mystery

Stacie Murphy. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-64313-630-1

Amelia Matthews, the heroine of Murphy’s sterling debut, makes a good living as a fortune-teller for a gentlemen’s club in Gilded Age New York City. A concussion greatly enhances her somewhat iffy psychic gift, but after she’s possessed by an angry spirit and loses consciousness, she wakes days later in the notorious Blackwell’s Island City Asylum. There’s no way to contact her foster brother to rescue her, and no one believes anything she says—until she meets Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh, who specializes in mental diseases, and convinces him of her gift by channeling his late sister. Andrew asks Amelia to use her abilities to help him locate a missing woman who was committed to the asylum by her loathsome husband, and in return, Andrew promises to help Amelia escape. Instead, they discover someone in the asylum is in the business of murdering unwanted wives for money. Besides Amelia’s fascinating psychic adventures, Murphy chillingly evokes some social ills of 19th-century America, including the complete control of women by their husbands. Readers will hope Amelia returns soon. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Jan.)