Corpse in the Crystal Ball (A Fortune Teller Mystery)
by Kari Lee Townsend
Cover Artist: Lisa French
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425251331
Date: 05 June 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Psychic Sunny Meadows has a thing for police detective Mitch Stone, but when his gorgeous old girl friend, Isabel Gonzales, comes to town, she thinks she can't compete. Then Isobel disappears only to turn up dead, leaving a final message implicating Mitch. Sunny's effort to solve the murder puts her in the killer's sights.
Isabel asks Sunny to do a reading for her. What Sunny sees in Moonbeam, her crystal ball, puzzles her. Mitch had been on the verge of proposing when a mysterious phone call interrupts. Now, Granny's cuckoo clock breaks her concentration and ends the reading, leaving Sunny frustrated.
Granny Gert and Morty, the mysterious white cat, enliven the action. Granny, sent by Sunny's overprotective parents to keep her out of trouble, adds to the confusion especially when Sunny tries to teach her to drive. Granny is also determined to find Sunny a boyfriend and settles on Kevin, the handsome mailman. She feeds him cookies and other goodies to console him when Sunny has to curtail their date.
Morty, dressed by Granny in homemade bows, appears and disappears at will. He knows more than Sunny realizes, but she dismisses his actions as antics. Her intuition and psychic skills fail her, while jealousy and her assumptions trip her up to place her and others in danger.
Isabel's twin sister arrives, and Mitch takes care of her adding to Sunny's jealousy. Isabel called her twin just before the murder. Isabel feared something or someone. Sunny wonders if the strangers, a man and a woman, might have been chasing Isabel and the money she is supposed to have.
Townsend handles the romantic relationships well, but appears fixated giving details of what every character wears. Granny and Morty along with Joanne, Sunny's best friend, provide the humor.
Astute readers will identify the killer early on, but some may find it a surprise. It also strains credibility that the authorities would release Isabel from prison and not seek to recover the money she embezzled. The mystery is not up to the usual fare from Berkley such as mysteries by Laura Childs and Ali Branson. However, most romantic suspense readers will enjoy the romance. This reviewer found the mystery disappointing.