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BOOK REVIEW: HIGH SPIRITS
BY ALICE DUNCAN

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Daisy Majesty makes her living working as a spiritualist. Does she believe in what she does? Not on your life. She's a fraud and she knows it, but the fact is, she makes more money doing this than she could in any other field open to women. This is the 1920s after all and although women had won the right to vote, there were still limited occupations a woman could enter. Her husband Billy, a veteran of the first World War doesn't like it much, but he came home a damaged man from not only the mustard gas, but was being shot as well. So she is the household's bread winner and the spiritualist racket is quite profitable.

High Spirits finds Daisy in a moral quandary. One of her best clients wants her to hold a sťance in a speak easy. Now Daisy may not have qualms about working the spiritualist gig, but she does draw the line at speakeasies. Finally, when she sees no alternative, she agrees. However, the night of the sťance, just as her spiritual control Rolly may make contact, the police break in raiding the speakeasy and leaving Daisy in a heap of trouble. In return for not arresting Daisy or telling her husband where she was, Detective Sam Rotondo convinces Daisy to help the Pasadena Police Department shut mobster Vincenzo Maggiori's operations down. What choice does she have?

The book is a traditional mystery which takes on some of the unpleasantness of life. Duncan uses strong characters to address these issues. War veterans come home injured-sometimes seriously, and it was up to the families to care for them. Those injuries often leave a bitter and hard to get along with person. Readers see this painful situation with Billy. Women are sometimes abused by the men in their lives and society is not always so quick to help them. Flossie Mosser is one of those women.

Author Duncan has really brought the 1020s to life in her book High Spirits. Readers are taken back to a time when there was a Rose Parade, but no Rose Bowl, prohibition was in full swing and the country was seeking answers wherever they could find them-even if they came from a fraud like Daisy.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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