When a gathering of psychics, astrologers, and New Age practitioners turns deadly, a Santa Fe PI must find a killer in this “entertaining adventure” (Publishers Weekly).
Thirteen prominent members of Santa Fe’s New Age spiritualism community attended a meeting at the home of a couple of enthusiastic devotees. Only twelve of them survived it.
Private investigator Joshua Croft prides himself on his even-handed, eminently rational approach to crime solving. So he feels like a fish out of water surrounded by a motley group of true believers in the wacky and weird. But someone in this bizarre crowd murdered self-styled magic-doer Quentin Bouvier, hanging him from the ceiling rafters with a scarf belonging to Tarot card reader Giacamo Bernardi. And Bernardi’s attorney wants Croft to bring the real killer to justice.
Perhaps Bouvier’s slaying had something to do with a very rare and expensive antique Tarot card that the hanged man recently purchased, which is now—unsurprisingly—missing. However, getting down-to-earth answers from people who occupy a different reality won’t be easy. But when more New Agers suddenly depart this mortal plane, Croft needs to up the ante to catch a killer who’s not playing with a full deck.
Santa Fe PI Joshua Croft gets a lively introduction to New Age spiritualism when defense attorney Sally Durrell hires him to investigate the murder of Quentin Bouvier, a practitioner of ``High Magic.'' During a gathering of healers and psychics at the home of Brad Freefall and Sylvia Morningstar, Quentin was coshed with a healing crystal and then strangled with a scarf belonging to Sally's client, Tarot card reader Giacomo Bernardi. Before the murder, Quentin had shown off his recently purchased, very valuable antique Tarot card, which is now missing. The newly widowed Justine takes the death calmly, perhaps because she believes that ``the essential Quentin'' remains, or perhaps because she's having an affair with ``spiritual alchemist'' Peter Jones. Another murder occurs as Joshua tries to divine the straight, this-world scoop from a cast that includes an astrologer and an ex-actress with a hotline to Alpha Centauri. Satterthwait ( A Flower in the Desert ) offers a neat surprise at the end of this entertaining adventure, but he also withholds clues and obscures some of the logic that leads to the resolution, a tactic some readers may find irksome.