Another Review at MyShelf.Com

 Trouble in the Tarot
 Fortune Teller Mystery #3
 Kari Lee townsend

 Berkley Prime Crime
March 2013/ ISBN  978-0-425-25197-3

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Sunny Meadows: how could a gal not have a happy and fulfilled life with a positive name like that? Sunny is the resident fortune- teller in her adopted hometown of Divinity, New York. She has a boyfriend, sort of. Detective Mitch Stone reciprocates Sunny’s romantic feelings, but the two of them can’t seem to catch a break long enough to have any real dates.

 Divinity has an annual Summer Solstice Carnival that is a week of fun and fundraising for local charities. What could go wrong? In a nutshell, just about everything. There is the feuding between the local Sewing Sisters and the vacationing Knitting Nanas. As well as unhealthy competition between the two charities, Animal Angels and the Parks and Rec Program.

Then there’s a little thing called murder. Local bakery owner Bernadette Baldwin is hit by a car and killed. Unfortunately, the car is Granny Gert’s, and she and her archrival Fiona Atwater are arrested and charged with the crime. Sunny can’t help but investigate the case on her own despite dire warnings from Detective Stone. Will she be able to use her psychic abilities to find out what really happened or will it be lights out for Sunny if the killer finds her first?

There are several subplots to this story, including some romances, an upcoming wedding, questions about unethical animal adoptions and loan sharking. Personality clashes abound, and there are plenty of red herrings. Author Townsend does an admirable job of making her characters likeable and realistic. I especially love the magical and opinionated cat, Morty.

I enjoy this series very much and hope there will be many more books to come. However, I am a bit concerned that Townsend has started painting Sunny into a corner as a protagonist with a tendency towards being “Too Stupid to Live.” This is an off-putting character trait in which the author has the character leap into dangerous situations with hardly a second thought towards consequences. The character knows better than to go somewhere alone, but throws caution to the wind and goes anywhere. In Sunny’s case, she calls Mitch more than once, but still goes ahead into danger. The calls to Mitch which go to voice-mail and then he shows up to save the day have become overdone, and almost cliché.   All that said, I do enjoy the series and highly recommend it to mystery fans who love a touch of the paranormal. I hope Townsend puts this ship back on course by shaking some common sense into Sunny in the next fortune- teller mystery.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Tempest in the Tea Leaves #1 [review]
Corpse in the Crystal Ball #2
Trouble in the Tarot
#3 [review]

Reviewed 2013