Next to the incomparable Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman’s best-loved character is the mysterious Madame Karitska, who is blessed with a powerful gift of clairvoyance that attracts to her a stream of men and women craving help with their misfortunes, desperate to know what the future holds. . . .
When a brilliant young violinist dies in a horrific accident, Madame Karitska has only to hold the victim’s instrument in her hands to perceive the shocking truth. But when an insecure wife asks whether her husband will abandon her to join a sinister cult, Madame Karitska–as wise as she is lovely–chooses not to reveal all that she foresees. And when an attaché case is suddenly dropped into her lap by a man fleeing a crowded subway, she knows it’s time to consult her good friend Detective-Lieutenant Pruden.
A nine-year-old accused of murder, a man dying a slow death by witchcraft– for the hunted and the haunted, Madame Karitska’s shabby downtown apartment becomes a haven, where brilliant patterns of violence, greed, passion, and strange obsessions mix and disintegrate with stunning, kaleidoscopic beauty.
Once again Dorothy Gilman exercises her own uncanny power to render readers spellbound.
Fans of Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax series will welcome this tantalizing sequel to The Clairvoyant Countess (1975), whose psychic heroine is adept at psychometry, "the faculty of divining knowledge about an object or a person connected with it through contact with the object." Here Madame Karitska and her friend on the Trafton police force, Detective Lieutenant Pruden, share a series of adventures in which they confront the heartless killer of a talented young violinist, save a deaf-mute child from the accusations of her supposed benefactress, help a spoiled heiress find a purpose in life and assist a timid artist to gain confidence and fame. A travel writer suffering from a mysterious illness, a beautiful little boy who can't speak and, finally, Roger Gillespie, an intelligence officer on the trail of a rogue genius who plans doomsday from his headquarters at an electronics company in Maine all bring their pains and problems to Madame Karitska's shabby brownstone, where they find not only solace and solutions but frequently soul mates among her other clients. One wonders if the author herself is psychic, for the mad scientist's plan to bring the world to a halt bears an uncanny resemblance to the unfolding terror of the past few months. Hopefully, Gilman won't wait another quarter century before she brings back Madame Karitska, if nothing else to explain the sudden, rather stingy ending of this fascinating, kaleidoscopic potpourri.