The Victorian San Francisco Mysteries
The Victorian San Francisco Mystery series is based on the research M. Louisa Locke did for her doctorate in history at University of California, San Diego about women who worked in the far west at the end of the 19th century. The series features Annie Fuller, a boardinghouse owner and pretend clairvoyant, and Nate Dawson, a San Francisco lawyer, who together with family and friends from the O’Farrell Street boarding house investigate murders and other crimes. The novels and novellas listed are in chronological order. The short stories based on minor characters from the series are found at the bottom of the list.
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Maids of Misfortune
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 has 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 has a problem. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to believe 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.
In this sequel to Maids of Misfortune, it is the fall of 1879, and when the young San Francisco widow, Annie Fuller, is asked to investigate a fraudulent trance medium, she comes to a troubling realization. Despite Annie’s growing financial success as the clairvoyant Madam Sibyl, she feels increasingly guilty about the fact she doesn’t believe in the astrology and palmistry her clients think are the basis for her advice.
Kathleen Hennessey, Annie’s young maid, has a plan. Just like the Pinkerton detectives she has read about in the dime novels, she is determined to assist her mistress in her investigations.
Nate Dawson, up-and-coming San Francisco lawyer, faces a dilemma. He wants to marry the unconventional Annie Fuller, but he doesn’t feel he can reveal his true feelings until he has a way to make enough money to support her.
With Kathleen and Nate Dawson’s help, Annie delves into the intriguing world of 19th century spiritualism, encountering true believers and naïve dupes, clever frauds and unexplained supernatural phenomena, and she soon finds there are as many secrets as there are spirits swirling around the séance table. Some of those secrets will threaten the foundation of her career as Madam Sibyl and the future of her relationship with Nate Dawson, and, in time, they will threaten her very life itself.
In Bloody Lessons, the third book in the USA Today bestselling Victorian San Francisco mystery series, it’s the winter of 1880, and the public school teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters.
Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called in to investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Nate’s sister Laura may be one of the teachers being targeted.
It’s the summer of 1880, and once again the lovely and inquisitive businesswoman, Annie Fuller, is helping San Francisco lawyer and fiancé, Nate Dawson, with a troublesome case. Nate’s client, a female typesetter accused of murdering her boss, refuses to help in her own defense. Complicating matters, Nate’s sister Laura insists on getting involved in the potentially dangerous investigation, while Laura’s friend Seth Timmons, troubled Civil War veteran, finds himself a witness for the prosecution.
Will Nate be able to win his first big case? Will Laura and Seth find some way of remaining friends? And finally, will Annie and Nate’s upcoming nuptials be derailed by their attempts to track down a killer?
Deadly Proof was a first place winner in the 2017 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Awards
It is November of 1880, and the future looks promising for Annie and Nate Dawson. Nate’s law practice is taking off. Annie has made the transition from pretend clairvoyant to a successful financial consultant, and as a couple, they are looking forward to spending their first Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays together.
For Robert Livingston, the owner San Francisco’s newest grand emporium, the holidays are shaping up to be a dismal failure if he can’t figure out how to stop whoever is stealing from his department store, the Silver Strike Bazaar.When he hires the Dawsons to investigate, Annie and Nate discover that behind the doors of Livingston’s “Palace of Plenty,” nothing is quite what it seems.
Semi-finalist for the 2018 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Awards
“Something is rotten in the state of Berkeley”–1881 Blue and Gold Yearbook, University of California: Berkeley
In Scholarly Pursuits, the sixth full-length novel in the USA Today best-selling Victorian San Francisco mystery series, Locke explores life on the University of California: Berkeley campus in 1881, where Laura and her friends face the remarkably modern problems of fraternity hazings, fraught romantic relationships, and fractious faculty politics.
While Annie and Nate Dawson and friends and family in the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse await a blessed event, Laura Dawson finds herself investigating why a young Berkeley student dropped out of school in the fall of 1880.
No one, including her friend Seth Timmons, thinks this is a good idea, since she is juggling a full course load with a part-time job, but she can’t let the question of what happened to her friend go unanswered. Not when it means that other young women might be in danger.
Annie has a problem. She has a beautiful child, a loving husband, a well-run boardinghouse with a supportive circle of friends and family, but she’s feeling restless and unhappy.
Dr. Charlotte Brown, the doctor who delivered Annie’s baby, has a different problem. The Pacific Dispensary for Women and Children, the clinic and hospital she co-founded, is being threatened by financial and legal difficulties caused by the mysterious illness of a former patient.
When Annie takes up the challenge to help Dr. Brown and the dispensary, she will discover that getting back into the business of investigating crimes is exactly the remedy she requires.
Lethal Remedies is the seventh novel in the cozy, historical, Victorian San Francisco Mystery series and comes after Scholarly Pursuits.
A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
“Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive.” –Sir Walter Scott
It is San Francisco in the summer of 1882, and Annie and Nate Dawson have finally found a good balance between the demands of family and work. Nate has an interesting legal case defending a young woman who has been left out of her mother’s will. Annie is looking into whether the financial difficulties facing the Potrero Woolen Mills are caused by bad management or bad luck. For her own reasons, Biddy O’Malley is eager to help Annie with her investigation. What none of the three of them could anticipate was how secrets and unexpected entanglements would complicate their search for the truth.
Entangled Threads is the eighth full-length novel in the USA Today best-selling author’s Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. However, it can be read as a stand-alone by anyone who enjoys cozy historical mysteries with an amateur female sleuth.
Victorian San Francisco Mysteries: Books 1-4
Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, Bloody Lessons, Deadly Proof
This USA Today bestseller brings together the first four books in the romantic and suspenseful Victorian San Francisco Mystery series: Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, Bloody Lessons, and Deadly Proof.
This boxed set of four cozy, historical mysteries, set in late nineteenth-century San Francisco, are appropriate for teens to adults, and it is a welcome companion to Locke’s Victorian San Francisco Stories and Victorian San Francisco Novellas, which feature beloved minor characters.
Victorian San Francisco Mysteries: Books 5-7
Pilfered Promises, Scholarly Pursuits, Lethal Remedies
Annie and Nate Dawson, joined by family and friends from the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse, investigate crimes in books 5-7 of the romantic and suspenseful Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. This boxed set includes Pilfered Promises, Scholarly Pursuits, and Lethal Remedies.
This boxed set of three cozy, historical mysteries, set in late nineteenth-century San Francisco, is appropriate for teens to adults, and it is a welcome companion to Locke’s Victorian San Francisco Mysteries: Books 1-4, and her Victorian San Francisco Stories: Volume 1 and 2 and Victorian San Francisco Novellas, which feature beloved minor characters.
Violet Vanquishes a Villain
In this cozy historical fiction 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 USA Today bestselling cozy Victorian San Francisco mystery series and before Pilfered Promises, the fifth book in the 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.
Kathleen Catches a Killer contains all the light romance, humor, and suspense of the longer works and chronologically, this novella comes right after the events in Pilfered Promises.
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.
This short novella comes right after the events in Pilfered Promises and Kathleen Catches a Killer.
Mrs. Stein Solves a Crime
A Victorian San Francisco Novella
Esther and Herman Stein were the first people to move into Annie Dawson’s San Francisco O’Farrell Street boardinghouse and are two of Annie biggest supporters. Yet, Esther has always disapproved of how Annie’s work, first as Madam Sibyl and now as a financial advisor, has led her into criminal investigations. All this will change when Esther is confronted with a crime of her own to solve.
Chronologically, this novella comes in the summer of 1882, soon after the events in Entangled Threads, the eighth novel in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. However, it doesn’t need to be read in that order. As with the other shorter works in this series, Mrs. Stein Solves a Crime gives a minor character the chance to play a starring role.
Victorian San Francisco Novellas
This collection brings together three novellas by USA Today bestselling author, M. Louisa Locke: Violet Vanquishes a Villain, Kathleen 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.
Victorian San Francisco Stories: Volume 1
This is a collection of four short stories by USA Today bestselling author, M. Louisa Locke, set in the gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco. Madam Sibyl’s First Client was written specifically for this collection and it finds Annie Fuller, the young widowed boardinghouse keeper, just starting her career as a pretend clairvoyant. In Dandy Detects, the Boston Terrier that lives in Annie Fuller’s boardinghouse helps uncover a crime, and in The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage, Annie’s two elderly boarders use their dressmaking skills to avert a domestic tragedy. Finally, in Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong, a Chinese manservant introduced in Maids of Misfortune, the first book in Locke’s historical mystery series, makes another appearance and helps Annie Fuller solve a serious problem. As a bonus, there is an essay, Historical Tidbits, which provides insight into the historical research that went into these stories.
Madam Sibyl’s First Client
In this short story, the young widow, Annie Fuller, is meeting her first client as the pretend clairvoyant, Madam Sibyl. If she can’t convince this man that she can make money for him with her financial advice, she doesn’t know how she will be able to hold onto her O’Farrell Street boarding house and her precious independence.
Madam Sibyl’s First Client is the prequel to Maids of Misfortune, the first book in Locke’s Victorian San Francisco Mystery series.
In the fall of 1879, San Francisco swelters under a heat wave while Barbara Hewitt, a reserved school-teacher, uncovers a mystery with the help of her son’s dog, the Boston Terrier, Dandy.
This short story, which comes chronologically after Maids of Misfortune, is set in the 19th century, gas-lit world of Annie Fuller and her O’Farrell Street boarding house, which Locke writes about in her Victorian San Francisco Mystery series.
The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage
This short story, set in 1879 San Francisco, features two elderly dressmakers, Miss Minnie and Miss Millie Moffet, who face a moral dilemma of no small dimensions. They turn for advice to Annie Fuller, a widowed boardinghouse owner who supplements her income as a clairvoyant, Madam Sibyl.
This story is set after Maids of Misfortune and before Uneasy Spirits and is an amusing glimpse into the lives of Annie Fuller’s two most eccentric boarders. For those unfamiliar with Locke’s mysteries and the late 19th century world they portray, this is just a taste of things to come.
Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong
Annie Fuller, the young boarding house keeper and reluctant clairvoyant, met the kind, older Chinese servant, Mr. Wong, in the midst of her investigations into a mysterious death in Maids of Misfortune, the first book in Locke’s Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. In this short story, Annie Fuller turns to Mr. Wong for help in solving a puzzle that could have life or death consequences.
Victorian San Francisco Stories: Volume 2
This is the second volume of short stories by USA Today bestselling author, M. Louisa Locke, set in the gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco. The first story, Beatrice Bests the Burglars, finds Mrs. O’Rourke, the O’Farrell Street boarding house cook, home alone and in danger. In Dandy’s Discovery, something odd is happening at the boarding house, but Dandy, the Boston Terrier, discovers the culprit and all is well. In Mrs. O’Malley’s Midnight Mystery, a poor widow’s determination to investigate the strange behavior of her neighbors has unexpected consequences. In the fourth short story, Tilly Tracks a Thief, it’s Christmas, and the young Irish boarding house servant decides to find out who’s stealing from houses in the neighborhood before the thefts ruin the holidays for everyone.
This collection of short stories can be read as an introduction or a companion to the full-length novels in the cozy historical Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, and chronologically it comes between the events of the sixth full-length mystery, Scholarly Pursuits, and the seventh full-length mystery, Lethal Remedies.
Beatrice Bests the Burglars
Beatrice O’Rourke, the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse cook, has the afternoon off. What could possibly go wrong?
This short story in the USA Today bestselling Victorian San Francisco Mystery series features one of the most beloved characters in the series, as well as giving the reader a tour of the boardinghouse itself. Chronologically, this story comes soon after the events in Scholarly Pursuits, so if you don’t like spoilers, you might want to wait to read it until you have finished that book.
Something odd is happening at the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse, and Annie is worried that her new baby might be in danger. But never fear, Dandy, the Boston Terrier, will discover the culprit and all will be well. Dandy’s Discovery is a short story in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, and it comes right after Beatrice Bests the Burglars.
Mrs. O’Malley’s Midnight Mystery
Life in 1881 San Francisco is difficult if you are a poor widow like Mrs. O’Malley, especially when you have seven children and are forced to live in one of the crowded neighborhoods South of Market. Late one night, as she sat at the window of her crowded flat, sewing and worrying, she noticed something strange going on across the street. Her decision to investigate will have unexpected consequences. Mrs. O’Malley’s Midnight Mystery is a short story in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, and it comes right after the short story, Dandy’s Discovery, and before Lethal Remedies, the seventh novel in the series.
Tilly Tracks a Thief
December 1881, San Francisco: Tilly, the young O’Farrell Street boardinghouse servant, is determined to discover who’s stealing from houses in the neighborhood before the thefts ruin the holidays for everyone.
This short story in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series comes after the short story Mrs. O’Malley’s Midnight Mystery and right before Lethal Remedies, the seventh novel in the series.
Dandy’s Daring Deeds
Dandy’s Daring Deeds is a collection of already published stories featuring the Boston Terrier, Dandy, a recurring character in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. This collection consists of the short story, Dandy Detects, an excerpt from the novel, Uneasy Spirits, the novella, Dandy Delivers, and the short story, Dandy’s Discovery.
Dandy Detects: In the fall of 1879, San Francisco swelters under a heat wave. Meanwhile, Barbara Hewitt, a reserved school-teacher who lives with her son Jamie in Annie Fuller’s O’Farrell Street boardinghouse, uncovers a mystery with the help of her son’s dog, the Boston Terrier, Dandy.
Uneasy Spirits Excerpt: Annie Fuller takes a break from investigating a fraudulent trance medium in order to take a walk with two of her two boarders, Barbara and Jamie Hewitt, and their Boston Terrier, Dandy. Halloween is fast approaching and they have stopped to get some pumpkins when disaster strikes––an accident that, without Dandy’s intervention, could have been deadly.
Dandy Delivers: It’s January 1881, and while the grown-ups in the 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.
Dandy’s Discovery: Something odd is happening at the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse, and Annie is worried that her new baby might be in danger. But never fear, Dandy, the Boston Terrier, will discover the culprit and all will be well.
Medieval to Modern
An Anthology of Historical Mystery Stories
Join amateur sleuths, private detectives, and feisty female protagonists in a journey through time with this anthology of historical mysteries spanning nearly a thousand years, from Medieval Wales to 1940s Ohio. This collection of eight novellas and short stories is the perfect introduction to five award-winning series in settings ranging from the back streets of Elizabethan and Regency London to the steep slopes of Victorian San Francisco.
— Libi Astaire, the Jewish Regency mystery series.
— Anna Castle, the Francis Bacon mystery series and the Professor & Mrs. Moriarty mystery series.
— M. Louisa Locke, the Victorian San Francisco mystery series.
— M. Ruth Myers, the Maggie Sullivan mystery series set in Depression-era Ohio.
— Sarah Woodbury, the Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries.