I got a complimentary copy of this one from the author in exchange for an honest review – thank you very much!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs
Out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell is talented, professional, just a little psychic… and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madame Tulip, fortune teller to the rich and famous. But at her first fortune-telling gig – a celebrity charity weekend in a luxurious castle – a famous rap artist mysteriously dies.
As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of fashion, millionaires, horses and cocaine, she must race to save her best friend from jail and a supermodel from being murdered. Her efforts threaten to destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.
Let me start with a quote:
“On the day Madam Tulip was conceived, her creator—Derry O’Donnell, MA (Theatre Arts) Trinity College Dublin, age twenty-seven—was broke. And she had been broke for five whole years. (…) The truth was, Derry O’Donnell was fully qualified for unemployment in three different dialects.”
If you like the sound of those two sentences, and the sense of humour, this one is for you. It is charming, fast-paced and not serious at all, a perfect pizza for your brain. What’s important, it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that.
It features quite picturesque positive characters, very likeable too: Jacko, the seventh son of the seventh son, an artist and a bon-vivant, his charming daughter, Derry, his less-than-charming ex-wife, Vanessa, Bruce, a gay actor and an ex-SEAL, Fitz, a detective and an ex-lover of Derry, Marlene, a super model and a cocaine addict and so on, and so on. They all meet because Derry decided to adopt a highly lucrative role of Madam Tulip, a psychic. She is gifted, after all, or should be with such a father. Then she is caught in a whirlwind of drugs, murders, and partying. Will it end well? Of course! Will it entertain you ? Yes, up to a point at least.
The novel is set in Dublin, Limerick and its proximities. I am not a big authority on anything Irish but all the tidbits sounded real enough to persuade me that the author knew what he was writing about. Especially difficulties with finding free parking places in Dublin city centre were spot-on (or so I was told by Melfka dearest when we were discussing another book online – I believe her, she used to live in Dublin after all :)).
Any flies in the ointment? Well, if you prefer intricate, dark mysteries with a bit of philosophy or psychology on the side this is not your book. Its plot could be sometimes called even simplistic (look at the cover art and you’ll know what I mean). I guessed the identity of the main baddie very early on and then everything went according to a pretty cliché scenario (I am being deliberately vague because I don’t want to spoil you), without any twists or red herrings that would throw me off the scent. The baddie in question was also rather schematic and a bit of a moron too. Oh well, it is a cozy mystery after all so you shouldn’t be very demanding.
A perfect book for a lazy afternoon when you cannot be bothered with anything too graphic – a laugh or two are guaranteed! I wouldn’t mind meeting Madam Tulip and her posse again when the mood strikes.