A sweeping, circuitous mystery, Mad Addie follows the life of the bold and somewhat unlucky Addie as she navigates the tumultuous waters of life, romance, sex, family, politics, and organized crime. Multiple mysteries, plotlines, and characters make up a complicated spider web of a story, and Addie is somehow at the center of it all.
The story begins as a silk baron and his wife are murdered in their castle on a hill in upstate New York. Who committed the double homicide is a mystery, as is who are the rightful heirs to the couple’s fortune. There is a daughter, as well as an unidentified heir who is eventually revealed to be Addie, although she is unaware of the connection. Several unsavory individuals and groups with ulterior motives surround Addie, the castle, and the small town.
The meat of the story is Addie’s tale. She takes on several lovers throughout her life, nearly all of the relationships ill fated in one way or another. Her limited employment opportunities put her in the midst of violence, organized crime, and corrupt politics, and over a complicated, somewhat confusing, and rambling story, all of the intertwined stories and characters find their way back to the castle, the murders, and the unidentified heir.
The story as whole is engaging, the many mysteries enough to keep readers interested, and Addie is a loveable protagonist in her own way. However, the plot is overly complicated and it’s difficult to keep track of the plentiful, and often unnecessary, secondary characters. For instance, the book includes a chapter on brother-in-law Al, who is not important to the plot.
With these issues, Mad Addie stumbles a bit. If the novel were revised to simplify the plot, it would be more likely to succeed as a unique romantic mystery.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.