Want to read some mysteries that aren’t just riveting but funny?
I always do, so I was delighted one day awhile back when I found THE WHITE MAGIC FIVE AND DIME sitting on a table at my favorite Barnes & Noble.
The series is by Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco and follows the adventures of Alanis MacLachlan. Alanis comes from as unusual a background as it’s possible to imagine: her amoral mother was a con artist who, along with her boyfriend Biddle, raised the child all over the country, moving from mark to mark. It wasn’t an easy life for a child and she ultimately ran away from it – only to be drawn back into her mother’s sphere, many years later, when Mama gets murdered and Alanis inherits the flimflam woman’s latest endeavor, The White Magic Five & Dime store in Berdache, Arizona – located near Sedona and all the New Age tourist traffic, of course.
Her mother renamed herself “Athena Passalis” while in Arizona and even wrote a book on the Tarot, which Alanis finds in her shop and reads in order to figure out how it’s done. She’s also trying to figure out how many people in Berdache that her mother scammed, hoping to make amends to the victims, and, of course, hopes to solve Athena’s murder, too.
The series has a whole lot of fun with the scam aspects of the New Age, which seems to attract con artists in droves, while also merrily explaining a lot about interpreting Tarot cards. There are times when Tarot cards can be incredibly, almost eerily accurate. The con artistry of many of the practitioners aside, I have a wonderful Tarot deck called the Medicine Woman Taro, and I’ve often been shocked at what Tarot cards tell me when I read them for myself. (That’s just it, though: I read them for myself, not anyone else, and certainly would not charge anyone for a reading, or tell them their money was cursed, or pull any of Athena’s other little stunts, either.)
This past weekend, I found the second Alanis book in this great new series at the bookstore, FOOL ME ONCE, concerning one of her mother’s victims who winds up in hot water. Now, I refuse to put any spoilers on here, so pardon me for being cryptic, but…I suggest that you read them in order, WHITE MAGIC FIVE AND DIME first and FOOL ME ONCE afterwards, since I just finished the second one about a half hour ago, and it ends with surprise that makes me already want to get my hands on the third! In fact, when I came to the last line of FOOL ME ONCE, I was in a public coffee shop, and had to suppress the urge to stand up and cheer.
I heartily recommend both books!