The Madness of Mercury is the first book in the Zodiac Mystery series by Connie di Marco.
San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti’s life is turned upside down when she becomes the target of the city’s newest cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who’s caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. Is the young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia’s not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn’t merely the messenger of the gods—he was a trickster and a liar as well.
Jen’s Review of THE MADNESS OF MERCURY
This review was first posted on our old blog booksthathook.com. I edited the review slightly.
*I received a free copy from the publisher for a tour. My opinions are my own.*
What I Loved
There are many great things about this book. Some of the things I appreciated were: 1) that the character introduced herself on the first page, 2) how the main goals of the story were made clear in the first few chapters, and 3) how everything fit together clearly and logically. I also appreciated that the main character was a responsible pet owner and took her cat with her when she moved from house to house.
I wasn’t sure about was how many real astrological calculations the author made to put into the story. At times, the astrological projections made sense. Other times, it seemed like there wasn’t enough information for the character to make the kinds of conclusions she was making. For example, when responding to a question for her newspaper column, she didn’t know the person’s birthplace. That is necessary for making a natal chart because the time is going to be different depending on the location.
So, I wondered if the author really made a natal chart for the person in question, and if so, how did she do so without the birthplace? Or, did the author make up details that aren’t shared in the book? This isn’t a big deal, but I wondered, especially since I have made natal charts myself (by hand, not with software like the character uses), and I know the birthplace is essential.
The Madness of Mercury is a fun, somewhat paranormal, mystery, suitable for all ages. The story is about Julie, an astrologer, whose client thinks her niece wants to kill her. While Julia is at her client’s house, the gardener is found dead. Julia also has to deal with harassment from religious zealots. When she finds out that her two problems are connected, she does everything she can to get to the bottom of everything. The story moved along quickly and made sense.
Other than that question I had, there wasn’t anything that detracted from my enjoyment of the book. I thought it was an excellent first-in-series. I’m looking forward to reading more books about Julia. She’s a likable character.
I give The Madness of Mercury five stars for fast pacing, great plot consistency, and excellent imagery.
Do I Recommend?
Yes. I recommend this book to readers who like books that don’t rely heavily on the supernatural aspect to solve the mystery. It’s a clean, entertaining read.
My Rating for THE MADNESS OF MERCURY: 5 out of 5 stars (A)
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