If only the Mystic Delphine, self-styled Queen of Swords, had really been psychic, she'd have seen her killer's face long before he came at her with a saber. But when New Orleans gossip columnist Margo Fortier noses around in the case, she finds enough suspects to baffle a savvier psychic than Delphine, nÇe Margo's old acquaintance Frieda Harris. In fact, Margo's investigation seems at first all too easy. At the merest shake, potential killers seem to clatter down from every tree—from Delphine's underpaid underlings manning the office and the phone- advice lines, to the professional skeptic determined to unmask Delphine as a fraud, to the freelance hit man who plies the streets in a rolling abattoir, to the disgruntled clients whose lives had been wrecked by Delphine's inaccurate (or all-too- accurate) predictions. But when the murder of Delphine's ex- beautician Sidney Bowers, now self-promoted to ``the Mystic Sidney,'' shows that somebody calling himself (or herself?) Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, has declared open season on bogus psychics, Margo (The Hippie in the Wall, 1994, etc.) makes life entertainingly tougher for herself by setting up shop at the Psychic Research Project as a channeler in order to force the killer's hand. Forget the threadbare mystery. The real fun here is trying to pick the psychic poseurs out from the garden variety New Orleans zanies Fennelly must have bought on sale by the dozen.
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