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It’s the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie’s husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt. Annie Fuller also possesses a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl’s clients, Matthew Voss, has died. The police believe his death was suicide brought upon by bankruptcy, but Annie believes Voss has been murdered and that his assets have been stolen. Nate Dawson wrestles with a difficult decision. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to prove that Matthew Voss didn't leave his grieving family destitute. But that would mean working with Annie Fuller, a woman who alternatively attracts and infuriates him as she shatters every notion he ever had of proper ladylike behavior.


Sparks fly as Anne and Nate pursue the truth about the murder of Matthew Voss in this light-hearted, cozy historical mystery set in the foggy, gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco. Maids of Misfortuneis the first book in M. Louisa Locke’s USA Today bestselling Victorian San Francisco mystery series, followed by Uneasy Spirits, Bloody Lessons, Deadly Proof, Pilfered Promises, and Scholarly Pursuits. Locke’s shorter works, found in Victorian San Francisco Stories and Victorian San Francisco Novellas, feature minor characters from the series.

This collection brings together three novellas by USA Today bestselling author, M. Louisa Locke: Violet Vanquishes a Villain, Katherine Catches a Killer, and Dandy Delivers. These shorter works contain the light romance, humor, and suspense of the novels in her cozy Victorian San Francisco mystery series and are an excellent introduction to the gas-lit world of late 19th-century San Francisco.

Violet Vanquishes a Villain: In this novella set in August of 1880, Annie and Nate Dawson’s trip down the San Francisco peninsula to San Jose was supposed to be a pleasant romantic interlude and a chance for Annie to get to know Nate’s family better. When the visit takes a serious turn, Annie races to expose a criminal who could ruin a young man’s life, getting help from an unexpected quarter. The events in Violet Vanquishes a Villain come right after Deadly Proof, the fourth book in Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series.

Kathleen Catches a Killer: As 1880 comes to a close, the O'Farrell Street boardinghouse servant, Kathleen Hennessey, expects to spend a quiet week while her employers, amateur sleuths Annie and Nate Dawson, are off spending the Christmas holidays with Nate's family. However, when she agrees to help out one of her friends, Kathleen discovers that a simple case of a servant being dismissed without notice has turned into a complicated and dangerous puzzle that she is determined to solve. The events in Kathleen Catches a Killer come right between those in Pilfered Promises and the third novella in this collection, Dandy Delivers.

Dandy Delivers: It’s January, 1881, and while the grown-ups in Annie and Nate Dawson’s San Francisco O’Farrell Street boardinghouse are busy with their own affairs, two boys and a dog find their own adventure. Ian Hennessey, a poor boy from South of Market, who is trying to shoulder a man’s responsibilities, gets in trouble, and his best friend, Jamie Hewitt, does what he can to help. But it is Jamie’s young Boston Terrier, Dandy, who saves the day.

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