Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Clairvoyant Countess, by Dorothy Gilman ($6.99) (c1975)

With books toppling over on my nightstand and bookshelves, why did I grab this book? I know I'd read it years ago, but I didn't remember anything about it. Dorothy Gilman and Rex Stout are my "comfort food" authors. Their stories raise my spirits and entertain me. It's a guilty pleasure to which I succumbed.

Dorothy Gilman is better known for her Mrs. Pollifax stories, but she's written quite a few stand-alones for adults and children. Mrs. P is the calm center in her stories, and in The Clairvoyant Countess, it's Madame Karitska, a psychic, who holds the center together.

The book contains a series of vignettes, starring Madame Karitska and her reluctant believer, Lt. Pruden of the Trafton, New Jersey, police. She can tell the future, see the dead, find missing objects and people, and always lands on her feet.

This work is a little dated, referring to hippies and modest gang activity in an urban setting. There's an innocence attached to how Lt. Pruden begins to rely on the psychic and in how Madame Karitska's flamboyant background is portrayed.

In the end, it's just good fun, with interesting characters in simpler times.

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