The confrontation is interrupted by the arrival of the sisters' grandmother, Gram, who announces that one of her friends has died suddenly. It looks like a simple allergic reaction . . . but why has a solitary Tarot card - the Fool - been placed on the body? When another of Gram's friends dies in similar circumstances, with the Fool card also left at the scene, it's surely no coincidence.
The Fool Dies Last by Carol Miller is the beginning of The Fortune Telling Mysteries. We meet Hope and Summer Bailey who run a boutique that deals with homeopathic remedies (tinctures), spiritual items (crystals) plus Hope offers palm readings. There is mention that tarot readings were done in the past until a tragedy happened. The Fool Dies Last is a character driven story. The main characters are Hope and Summer with a charming cast of secondary characters that include their grandmother, the local doctor (who is smitten with the grandmother), the doctor’s son, and a local detective. The characters are unique and developed. Unfortunately, the mystery takes a backseat to learning about our characters and their lives. There are two deaths and the potential for more if the killer is not caught. The mystery had some interesting aspects, but it is a cinch to solve. I would have liked the whodunit to be more developed and there to be more of an investigation. The story needed a balance between getting to know the characters and the mystery. The reveal provides the reasoning behind the killer’s actions. There is a hint of paranormal activity in the Bailey home that centers around the attic. They had to bargain with the spirits there to get a table and its chairs out of the attic for the shop. I would actually like more paranormal in the book (plus, I want to know what exactly is going on in the attic). There are potential suitors for the sisters. It looks, though, like the road to happily ever after will be bumpy because the men are skeptical about otherworldly matters. The biggest problem I had with The Fool Dies Last is the writing. The author is overly descriptive, which bogs down the story. It makes the pacing so slow. We do not need to know every little detail (like what is on a table, what a person is wearing, etc.). I ended up skimming to get through the book. The story could have benefited from humor. The Fool Dies Last is a spirited whodunit with a spiritual shop, a mysterious murder, an atypical tontine, a taxing two-timer, a doubting doctor, a troublesome tarot, and two spirited sisters.
The Avid Reader
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