- Author: David Ahern
- Published: April 2016 by Malin Press
- Category: Crime, Mystery, Humour
Out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell 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.
Derry O’Donnell, sometime actress, latterly of Trinity College, Dublin, from where she graduated summa cum laude in Theatre Arts, has been broke and, more often than not, unemployed for the last five years. A job offer from her mother, as a PR for her art gallery, and an ultimatum regarding her rent, prompts Derry to seriously consider her best friend, Bella’s idea of using her fortune-telling talents, she’s the only daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son, to top up her non-existent bank balance. And so Madam Tulip is born.
Attending the races with her father, Jacko, and persuaded to use her talents to pick a winner, Derry spots well known supermodel, Marlene O’Mara, with her obviously rich husband, Peter Doyle. Jacko can’t help himself and brags about Derry’s abilities. One thing leads to another and Derry is invited to the Doyles’ charity event as Madam Tulip, Celebrity Psychic, complete with makeover and her assistant, Bella.
Derry turned to the mirror. If it were possible not to recognise oneself she wouldn’t have.The woman looking back at her had an unnaturally pale face that somehow looked chubbier than before. her bosom was ample – achieved by a padded corset with bean bags the size of balloons in the cups….Her dress was silk, calf length – pale blue and beaded, with a high collar….To top off the ensemble, after several unfortunate attempts, they settled on a headdress – a delicate creation with three small blue feathers and two bigger yellow ones laying back over her hair.
All is going well at the event, Madam Tulip is a success, and then one of the celebrities is found, on the brink of death, by Bella who then becomes a suspect and is taken into custody. As events escalate, Derry and her friends find themselves in all kinds of trouble, involving thugs and drugs. Derry needs all her acting skills to try and keep herself, and everyone else, safe.
I enjoyed this book very much, right from the start. The humorously engaging writing, the really well-rounded, memorable, and sometimes exuberant, characters. Not to mention great dialogue. Derry is down to earth and unpretentious, unlike her flamboyant father and very successful mother. Bruce is a great character too, a gay, ex navy SEAL, who is as nervous as a kitten when it comes to auditions, but he shows what he’s made of when it counts and does all he can to help Derry.
The characters’ backgrounds are integrated well into the story, giving a rounded and believable, even if slightly over the top, portrayal. The plot, although a little convenient at times is nevertheless a lot of fun, skilfully done and still holds surprises, with action, suspense and humour aplenty. I look forward to future adventures with Derry and co.
This book is reviewed for Rosie Amber‘s book review team and is based on a digital copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About 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 and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didn’t own a stethoscope.
Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series. He won numerous awards but found nobody was much impressed.
For want of a better plan, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip isn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the third in the series and enjoys pretending that this activity 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.