Ancient Spirits

Written by Alice Duncan
Review by Richard Bourgeois

Daisy Gumm Majesty, sham spirit medium, is an endearing narrator surrounded by quirky characters in this light, funny 1920s adventure. In fact Daisy is such a charmer that I read more than a hundred pages before I noticed that a plot had yet to appear. When it finally does – an intrigue involving Egyptian antiquities and threat of “white slavery” – Daisy misses much of it due to dysentery. The style reminds me of some films of the period, a gaggle of scenes driven more by actors than the script and all tied up in the last minutes of the final reel. This isn’t all bad: a flicker like that can be the bee’s knees if you’re in the right mood.

The author’s attention to faraway places and period clothing is good, and every one of Daisy’s many friends and acquaintances is drawn clearly and interestingly. I had the feeling of being on the sofa of a very sharp elder lady, losing track of an afternoon and letting my tea grow cold as she told me all about that time she and dear old Harold Kincaid went to Egypt to climb the pyramids.