Throwback Thursday: Madam Tulip by David Ahern


Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. It’s designed as an opportunity to share old favourites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago. If you decide to take part, please link back to It’s Book Talk.

Today I’m reviewing a book that was kindly sent to me by the author, David Ahern, quite a few months ago now but which has only just reached the top of my review pile. It’s the first in his humorous mystery series, Madam Tulip, published in April 2016.

MadamTulipAbout the Book

Derry O’Donnell, an out-of-work American actress living in Ireland, is young, talented, a teeny bit psychic … and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, and with a little help from her theatrical friends, 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 castle – a famous rap artist will die. As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of celebrities, supermodels and millionaires, she finds herself playing the most dangerous role of her acting life. Trapped in a maze of intrigue, money and drugs, Derry’s attempts at amateur detective could soon destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.

Format: eBook, paperback (308 pp.)   Publisher: Malin Press
Published: 3rd April 2016                       Genre: Mystery, Humour

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Find Madam Tulip on Goodreads

My Review

This book was a light, easy read although I have to say this reader found it mildly humorous rather than laugh out loud funny. The author has laid the groundwork for future books in the series by giving us a little of Derry’s back story and creating a cast of colourful characters, not least of which are Derry’s mother and father who despite being separated seem to maintain a volatile on-off relationship. I especially liked Derry’s Irish father, Jacko: an artist, gambler and a bit of a lad with an eye for the ladies. He’s the total opposite of Vanessa, Derry’s super-efficient, chic American mother.

Although the book is entitled Madam Tulip, Derry actually spends relatively little of the book in that persona. However, her creation gives her access to Dublin high society and allows her to be privy to information that proves both useful and, it turns out, dangerous to her and those around her. As she says: “Fortune-tellers get told things!” Derry’s gift for fortune telling doesn’t mean she always get things right though as often her visions come in the form of riddles or symbols she can’t necessarily make sense of at the time. The author’s experience as a screenwriter is evident in some of the set pieces which are well-imagined and described.

I guess I would classify Madam Tulip as a ‘cosy’ mystery even though the plot involves drugs and one character does meet a particularly sticky end (but ‘off screen’).  It’s an entertaining, light-hearted mystery that put me in mind of the US TV series “Murder She Wrote” or the UK TV series, “Jonathan Creek”. If you like either of those, I’m sure you will enjoy this.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Light, humorous, mystery

Try something similar…Zenka by Alison Brodie (click here to read my review)

David AhernAbout the Author

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

Madam Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. The second in the Madam Tulip mystery series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, was published in autumn 2016. He is now writing the third Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

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