Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Corpse in the Crystal Ball by Kari Lee Townsend

Kari Lee Townsend's Corpse in the Crystal Ball has so much going for it. There's a charming set of characters, humorous situations, a mysterious cat, and an amateur sleuth with a realistic reason to investigate. Who cares if you guess whodunnit early on? It doesn't spoil the fun of this mystery.

Sunny Meadows has found acceptance as a fortuneteller in the small town of Divinity, New York. Only Detective Mitch Stone, the one man she's attracted to, refuses to believe she can see the future. Knowing that, she told him she didn't want to date, but that was before Mitch's ex-girlfriend showed up in town. Sunny resented everything about the gorgeous woman, including the attention Mitch paid her. But, she couldn't refuse a paying client when Isabel showed up, wanting a reading. Sunny's crystal ball revealed the fight with Mitch in the past, and some scene when Isabel was running for her life. When Isabel disappeared, it was Sunny who could remember the scenery where Isabel ran. She was able to lead the police to Isabel's body, but she couldn't prevent Mitch from landing on the top of the suspect list.

It is a weird turn of events when a police detective is suspended and a fortuneteller works as a consultant on a murder case. But, Sunny is determined to prove that Mitch isn't a killer. She does have a few roadblocks in her way, including Mitch, who wants to be involved, and the detective she's working with, who seems to want to spend most of his time stopping to eat. It's going to take old-fashioned questioning, not visions of the future, to narrow down the suspects in this case. Unfortunately, Sunny doesn't foresee that she's putting herself in the path of a killer.

Townsend fills Corpse in the Crystal Ball with a wonderful cast of recurring characters, Sunny, Mitch, Sunny's best friend, Jo, owner of Smokey Jo's Tavern, and the hunky bartender, Sean O'Malley. Of course, Morty, the mysterious cat who seems to haunt Sunny's house, has a prominent role. This time, though, there's the addition of Granny Gert, Sunny's pixie grandmother who bakes cookies, sews outrageous ties for Morty, endeavors to learn to drive, and tries to fix Sunny up with the new mailman in town. The little woman adds a great deal of spirit and humor to the story.

My prediction? If you enjoy terrific characters, a mysterious cat, and a fortuneteller sleuth, I foresee you'll appreciate Kari Lee Townsend's Corpse in the Crystal Ball.

Kari Lee Townsend's website is

Corpse in the Crystal Ball by Kari Lee Townsend. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 9780425251331 (paperback), 294p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


zaida said...

Great review! I am reading it now and cant put it down. makes me wanna go see a fortune teller! Its a great escape indeed.

Rosemary said...

I like the sound of this Lesa - I always enjoy a good cast of characters, and these sound like fun. I never work out who's 'done it' in any murder mystery, so no matter how obvious this is it won't spoil it for me! ( I always have to get someone to explain the plot to me when Morse or Rebus are on TV. A logical brain is one of the many attributes I lack :))

Thanks for your review,


Lesa said...

Isn't it a fun book, Zaida? I'm like you, sailed right through it. Really liked this one.

Lesa said...

Terrific recurring cast in this book, Rosemary, as I said in the review. And, Granny Gert is a delightful addition. Kari emailed me and said Granny Gert is based on her own Grandma Gertrude. It's nice to know she enjoyed her grandmother so much that she made her a charming character in this book. I'm sure Granny Gert is going to have more adventures in future books.

This was one I figured out early on, but it didn't ruin the book at all.

DebbieRh said...

is this the first book of a series? It sounds like just what the doctor ordered lol . . . it sounds so much fun. I love books that are fun as well as thriling.

Lesa said...


It's the second. Tempest in the Tea Leaves came out last year, introducing Sunny. You don't have to read it first, but, if you're like me, you'll want to start at the beginning.

Nancy said...

Thanks for the review! Now I want to read this book. Granny Gert sounds like such fun.

Lesa said...

Wait until you read her escapades in trying to learn to drive, Nancy!

Ingrid King said...

You had me at "mysterious cat!"

Lesa said...

You've love the cat, Ingrid!