With a Starred Review in every trade publication, and chosen by Library Journal as one of the top five mysteries of the year, this is a smart, funny novel to kick back and enjoy!
Driving full steam ahead after the unexpected death of her husband, Annie Szabo was planning to get her life together. But her late husband’s family, an outrageous clan of Gypsies, has other plans. When Annie’s oldest friend, Jerry, turns up dead, she is plunged back into the family she tried to leave behind.
Suspecting murder, Annie is forced to form an alliance with Madame Mina, her stubborn and powerful mother-in-law, the heart of the Szabo family.
Determined to catch Jerry’s killer, the two women must unlock the pattern of a tapestry wild with lawyers, criminals, kink, magic, and even more death.
One thing is certain–to catch a killer with a hidden agenda, Annie and Mina must use all of their resources: ancient curses, a talent for petty theft, bizarre love magic, a Gypsy PI, and a strong sense of humor.
Fascinating Gypsy detail and great characters.
“An exciting debut. Meredith Blevins has written a thoroughly original first mystery, very funny with characters you’ll never forget.” –Tony Hillerman
“In The Hummingbird Wizard, Meredith Blevins covers new literary ground, introducing us to a fascinating, dark world, and pulling it off with flair and grace and humor.” –Jonathan Kellerman
“Damn fine book. A terrific read of a truly intriguing finely crafted mystery. With The Hummingbird Wizard, Meredith Blevins explores new territory in a new dimension other authors have feared to go.” –Clive Cussler
“Meredith Blevins has a sorcerer’s command of language, and ear for electric dialogue, and the economy of style that usually comes only after many years of honing in the marketplace. From the opening line ‘Jerry and I grew up before smog was invented,’ to the vivid impressionism of her descriptions, ‘autumn vineyards rolled up the hills in deep red lines behind my house,’ she has run up the banner of a new master in the making.” –Loren D. Estleman, Edgar-winning author
“I had a splendid time with the unforgettable Szabos—particularly the unsinkable Madame Mina and the Wizard himself, one of the sexiest heroes I’ve come across in a long while.” –Julie Smith, Edgar-winning author of the Skip Langdon series
“Meredith Blevins has a great sense of humor and a fresh, new voice. Fun characters abound and the Gypsy background is wonderful.” –Barbara D’Amato, winner of the Mary Higgins Clark award, author of Cat Marsala series
Kirkus **starred review**
“If you don’t fall in love with the Szabos, you don’t have hormones. This is a giddy super-charged introduction to the unconventional Szabo clan.
“Sailing with his motorcycle off a Pacific cliff, Annie Szabo’s Gypsy husband left her with three kids, a fledgling career as a tabloid journalist, and a feisty, indomitable mother-in-law who loves men, red undies, and telling fortunes in her San Francisco headquarters, Madame Mina’s Mystic Café. Years pass. Annie and Mina clash, make up, clash again. The kids grow up. Mina married a couple of times but doesn’t bother with divorce. Property values increase. The one constant is Annie’s friendship with Jerry Baumann, a lawyer formerly married to Capri, Mina’s trapeze-artist daughter. When someone kills Jerry, Mina sets out to avenge her ex-son-in-law and Annie her best friend. Of course they’ll need help.
“Enter a passel of Mina’s ex-lovers, including Gypsy shamus Zoltan Perger and her surviving son, the mysterious Jozef, heir to the mantle of Hummingbird Wizard, and a guy so sexy Annie beds him before she even knows his name. Before you can say “Gypsy curse,” the Szabos dance, sing, cavort, send the late Jerry off in incendiary fashion, and zero in on the con-artist extraordinaire Pinky Marks, one of Mina’s not-quite-husbands, as the killer…
“A sublime debut whose sequel can’t come fast enough.” — Kirkus
Publisher’s Weekly **starred review**
“Fascinating Gypsy lore, unforgettable characters and a wicked sense of humor distinguish Blevins highly unusual mystery debut. Native Californian Annie Szabo, writer, mother and widow, thinks her life is finally on track until her childhood friend and occasional lover Jerry is found dead of an apparent heart attack in the parking lot of his San Francisco office building. When the autopsy proves Jerry was murdered, Annie begins an investigation with her mother-in-law, Madame Mina, fortune-teller and head of her late husband’s family, a loosely knit but loyal gypsy clan. After Jerry’s wild funeral, they must use any methods available to find his killer.
“The author has expertly combined myth, legend and the dark side of human nature and tempered the mix with wit. Particularly engaging are Mina and her double-edged remarks and a peculiar and sexy Romany man known as the Hummingbird Wizard. A dramatic conclusion leads to revelations of the heart that cause Annie to see her in-laws in a new light. This stellar first, with it’s assured prose (“Jerry and I grew up before smog was invented,” reads the first sentence), will delight any mystery fan.”
Library Journal **starred review**
“Traveling westward from their homeland in India one thousand years ago, the nomadic people known as the Romany settled throughout Europe from the Balkans to Spain. Although the Gypsies were persecuted over the centuries, their mysterious and secretive culture today still holds a romantic and exotic allure for many gaje, or outsiders.
“Meredith Blevins’s unusual mystery debut, THE HUMMINGBIRD WIZARD, mixes an intriguing plot with unusual characters and plenty of Gypsy lore.”
Library Journal chose THE HUMMINGBIRD WIZARD as the top mystery published in 2003.
“There are trace elements of fantasy and magical realism here, a well-developed mystery…it’s a warm, witty novel of life, love, death and family that will stick with the reader long after the story ends.” – The Denver Post
“There are gems in every chapter and a pretty quick plot as well. Rife with wonderful people who never say anything dull…This atypical mystery deserves readers who like a little humor and romance mixed in with their murders.” — Denver Rocky Mountain News
Reader Reviews ~ Samples and Excerpts
“Experience a full range of emotions. Meredith Blevins’ debut novel is a whimsical, tantalizing and off beat amateur sleuth mystery that will remind readers of Alice Through the Looking Glass. THE HUMMINGBIRD WIZARD is one of the funniest and enjoyable first novels this reviewer has had the pleasure of reading.” — Harriet Klausner -#1 HALL OF FAME Reader Reviewer
“Annie Szabo is an Irish American woman who married into and widowed out of a nutty Gypsy family, and more than twenty years later the death of her occasional lover and longtime friend drags her reluctantly back. Annie is a vibrant character, not perfect, not idealistic, not self-righteous, but very happy with who she is. And although she protests strongly against all of her Gypsy mother-in-law Mina’s zany plans for finding Jerry’s killer, drying out his widow, and locating certain paperwork, Annie ends up along for the ride.
“The ride includes an off-the-wall Gypsy PI, Jerry’s lush and luscious ex-wife, Mina’s slightly less than law abiding ex-husband, and Mina’s mysterious and sexy youngest son–also known as the Hummingbird Wizard. Blevins wove a beautiful tapestry of lore and history…The Hummingbird Wizard is a twisting, turning, funny and heartrending tale about love of friends and family, and learning that if you lose yourself along the way, you can always go back and gather the pieces.” — Sarrah Knight
“…Author Meredith Blevins introduces a number of fascinating characters–Annie herself, Jozef (the Hummingbird Wizard), sister-in-law Capri, and especially overweight actress-friend Cynthia and mother-in-law Mina. Annie’s relationships with the women, in particular, rings true. Love and hate mingle tightly in Blevins’s sympathetic portrayal.
“The beach-side funeral service, complete with exploding Mercedes, and the picnic at Annie’s home are memorable pictures. THE HUMMINGBIRD WIZARD is an exciting find. I recommend it highly.” — booksforabuck
“The makings of characters you’ll want to follow in subsequent books, this is the beginning of some good stuff. Annie Szabo, her Gypsy mother-in-law, and intrigue……….Hilarious, suspenseful, tangy dialogue.” — Irish Booklady, Midwest, USA
“Put into a blender a Native Cailfornian, her Gypsy mother-in-law who reads cards and shops at Frederick’s of Hollywood, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury, a sequin body-suited sister-in-law, and the death of an old friend. Add THE HUMMINGBIRD WIZARD. Then call up all your friends and force them to read it for themselves. After the first chapter they’ll leave you money in their will. And there’s more in the series.” – M, Compulsive Reader, Santa Cruz, CA
“I loved the novel, the author’s voice, and the way she portrayed this colorful and amazing ethnic group.” – A.M. Colorado, USA
“Love, mystery, and a secret soul. The Hummingbird Wizard has it all … a book with beautiful language, and a mystery with eccentric characters and heart. I wanted this book never to end. The characters are people I’d like to visit over and over. The end sneaks up on you with such dramatic flair it’s a tug. Also wonderful to read a book with female characters who are alive and vibrant–juicy women who are fully mature people.
“Wonderful to read a book with female characters who are alive and vibrant–juicy women who are fully mature people. ” — #1 Ace Reviewer