Genre: psychic cozy mystery
Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it's Lucy's turn to step up and help out - in the name of love. Plus, her rent is due.
Here's the problem: Lucy doesn't have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read 'auras' and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You'd be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone's looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring - on a dead body - she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she'll find the perfect love while she's at it.
After reading the amazing cozy mysteries by Heather Blake, I knew I had to read her other penname's books as well. And I am very happy that I just bought them all, as I loved this first book. It is fresh and original, and I loved the characters.
The Valentines have been matchmakers for decades. They are psychic, and can see auras, which is how they are able to match their clients perfectly. Lucy's father is the most famous matchmaker in the country, but he too has fallen prey to Cupid's Curse. The Valentines cannot find happiness in marriage for themselves, ever. And so while her parents pretend they have a perfect relationship to the outside world, and are indeed good friends, they do live apart but stay married. And her father has lots of girlfriends on the side. And now he has had a heart attack while having sex on the beach with one of them, causing of course a major scandal. The man who facilitates marriage cannot be faithful to his own wife?
And so he forces Lucy to take over the company, while he and her mother will take a vacation on Santa Lucia to get away from the scandal and the press for a few weeks. Lucy really doesn’t want to, but he leaves her no choice. When Lucy was 14, she had some kind of accident, and she lost her ability to see auras. She does know how to find lost objects though. But like the family secret of seeing auras, this ability has also been kept a secret, even from her two best friends.
Lucy also has a meddling grandmother, Dovie, who wants great-grand babies, and continually tries to fix Lucy up with a man. This is really getting embarrassing. Lucy rents a little one bedroom cottage on her grandmothers’ estate, as she has refused to live of her trustfund. She wants to make it on her own. But so far, she has not yet found a job she can hold or really like, which leaves her with no choice but to accept her fathers command and take over Valentine Inc.
Her very first client, Michael, however is still in love with his highschool sweetheart, even though he claims he is ready to move on as he really wants a family of his own, including white picket fence. Due to a conniving stalker, their engagement was broken, and she has disappeared. And so, instead of trying to find him a new match, Lucy offers him to find his Jennifer for him, and try for a second chance at love between them. But when they shake hands, Lucy gets a vision of the lost engagement ring on the hand of a skeleton …
But she can only see visions of lost objects, so Michael cannot be the murderer, as he would have known where to find the ring.
On the floor above Valentine Inc, is a PI firm, her father uses for background checks on his clients. She will ask Sam to find Jennifer. But Sam is on vacation with his family and his brother Sean has become his new partner, so Lucy will have to deal with him. Sean used to be a firefighter before he had a major accident. And when Lucy meets the very handsome Sean, she feels something she never felt before, and shaking his hand gives her a vision of the future instead of some lost item. A vision of the two of them in bed together …
But there is the Cupid Curse, a relationship would never work between them, she has to keep her distance from Sean, especially as it appears he already has a girlfriend.
Lucy hires Sean to find Jennifer, but she also needs him to come with her in the dark, without asking why. She needs to find the body and the lost engagement ring she saw, so the police will be able to identify the body. Is it Jennifer in that grave, or someone else? And how did she come to wear Michael's engagement ring?
There is also a little boy lost in the marshes close by, and Lucy really wished she could find him. Unfortunately, her gift only works on lost objects, and only the owner can ask her where to find it. Or in case of a gift, the person who gave it, or the one who received it. So when it is finally announced that the father's sweatshirt went missing along with the boy, Lucy knows this is her chance, she can find the sweatshirt, and the boy with it!
She tries to keep her identity a secret, but she needs to approach little Max' father, and have him think about his sweatshirt. A policeman joins them in their quest for Max, as Lucy has seen the path the little boy has taken. And just when the policeman wants to arrest her for being a fraud, and preying on the parents, there he is, just like she knew he would be. In the high of the reunion, Lucy manages to escape without revealing who she is. But the next day, a police sketch is on the news, and the likeness is very good. Also, both she and Sean were seen at the payphone from where the call was made to the police about the body, and Sean’s number plate was remembered. Now Lucy has to deal with two different police officers. The first one thinks she is involved in the murder, and treats her as a suspect, the other one wants to use her powers to find more missing persons. And when a reporter reveals her secrets, there is no escape for Lucy.
And through it all, her grandmother keeps trying to get her a date, her best friend is missing just a few weeks before her wedding, and shows up at her place. And then there is Sean, who wants to be more than friends as he also feels the sizzling attraction between them.
I really enjoyed all the characters in this book. Lucy is not a kick ass heroine as I love so much, but just a girl with a secret gift. She has been taught to keep it a secret all her life, and now it has come out in the open. What is she to do? Lucy has a three legged cat, and a one eyed hamster, thanks to her best friend who works in an animal clinic. Her other best friend is a paediatrician, and about to be married, when she just can’t do it anymore. The loss of a little patient is breaking her. Her parents pushed her to become a doctor, but all she wants is to be a teacher.
Grandmother Dovie is meddling, and would love the chance to work at the matchmaking agency. She is convinced she is brilliant at it, although she is not a Valentine by birth. But she is a sweetheart and takes good care of Lucy. Lucy’s parents certainly are original characters, they call her LucyD.
Sean, sigh. A former firefighter with a heart condition, which means he cannot go back to firefighting. He really misses it, as he has become some kind of adrenaline junkie, but being around Lucy is adventure enough. Digging up bodies, rescuing her from dates and police officers. He wants her to trust him with her secrets, but understands when she dares not tell him everything.
Lucy is relieved that the secret about her gift is out in the open, perhaps now she can finally put it to good use, and really start helping people.
So this book has it all, a good mystery, danger, a plot I could not foresee, romance and lovable characters. Add an unique setting for the story, and you have the perfect cozy mystery. I am very much looking forward to the next books in the series.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian