Overall rating: 4.75 stars"Maids of Misfortune" is the first of M. Louisa Locke's Victorian San Francisco mystery series. I read the second volume, "Uneasy Spirits," first. Either book stands just fine on its own.In this story, widow Annie Fuller is trying to figure out how to manage an unexpected debt incurred by her late husband ... at the same time that one of her clients passes away. Annie leads a double life as "clairvoyant" Madame Sibyl; she dispenses investment advice based on her own background and studies, but no one will take her seriously on her own. Hence she develops an alter ego and gives out the same advice as though it comes "from the stars."Annie decides to investigate her client's murder when she learns that a) "Madame Sibyl" is a beneficiary in the will and b) the items she is to receive have disappeared.While I did figure out the "whodunnit" along the way (I read a great many mysteries), I still found myself thoroughly enjoying the story. Locke's historical research is outstanding, and it's easy to become involved in the world she creates. What I didn't expect was the partnership that came at the every end of the book amongst three wholly unanticipated allies. Well done indeed.