Title: Murder as Predicted (Astrology Private Detective #3)
Author: Linda Mather
Republished by Joffe Books on 14th June 2021; First published in 1995
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
Murder as Predicted is the third book in Linda Mather‘s Astrology Private Detective series.
Five years ago, Antonia came home to find her sister Monique missing. It was almost 8 in the night and Monique wouldn’t have stayed out late. Antonia’s boyfriend Guy calls in and she tells him Monique might be missing. He tells her not to worry but curiosity gets the better of her and she goes to the garage to check if Monique took the car with her. Antonia finds the garage door unlocked and Monique lying at an awkward position in the car seat.
Jo is now working as a full-time astrologer and doesn’t seem to miss her part-time job as a private investigator at Macy and Wilson. Antonia is her latest client and Jo wonders (from the astrological analysis of Antonia’s birth chart) as to what’s troubling the young woman. Antonia is secretive about her past and Jo happens to mention her past work in passing. A week later, Jo receives a call from Celia (receptionist at Macy and Wilson) and learns Macy has some work for her. On meeting Macy, Jo understands her job is to be a companion to Antonia as Antonia’s life is/might be under threat.
Wowzer! What a mind-blowing, gripping and completely engrossing addition to my favorite mystery series! If I have to choose the best amongst Forecast Murder, A Sign for Murder and Murder as Predicted, I would definitely choose Murder as Predicted. Be it the twists or character portrayal or the plot, this book is a new favorite in the series.
The story begins with a flashback of events leading up to Antonia finding Monique’s dead body in the garage. Fast forward to the present, Jo is waiting for a client in her apartment. She’s happy to have made astrology her full-time job and doesn’t miss working for Macy and Wilson. Macy and Jo had a brief bout of attraction in Forecast Murder and it fizzled out in A Sign for Murder.
Jo mentions her previous work at Macy and Wilson PI agency to Antonia and the next week, Macy calls Jo and asks her to be Antonia’s companion. Jo temporarily moves to Antonia’s house – which happens to be in the middle of nowhere. Jo soon learns Antonia’s fears are baseless and wonders if the poor woman suffers from, what psychologists call, classic persecution complex. Antonia is obsessed with finding Monique’s killer; though the police ruled it as suicide, Antonia believes her sister was murdered by her lover. The quest to find the absconding lover brings Antonia to her current job – she’s found the guy and wants to bring him to justice. She believes he knows her true identity and will kill her, just like how he killed her sister – hence the paranoia ‘someone’s out there to kill me.’
Halfway through the story, we have a shocking development in the case. This leads to further ‘what-the-heck’ moments and Jo is completely speechless when she finds a well-kept secret about Antonia. (This was a jaw-dropping scene!) Completely unexpected and it surely makes Jo look at the case from a whole new angle.
In the previous two books, Macy and Jo went around together, looking for clues. But in this book, Jo does most of the sleuthing – well, the rift between Jo and Macy comes in later, but it is quite obvious that their attraction hasn’t fizzled out like we thought it did (in A Sign for Murder). Jo wants to continue her astrology business but she’s drawn to finding out what happened to Antonia and Monique.
The story ends with Jo confused about continuing work as a PI and working as a full-time astrologer. She’s always wanted to mix her astrology knowledge when it comes to solving crimes – and so far, she’s been quite successful at it. The character development is excellent – be it the recurring characters or the ones who make an appearance only in this story. Linda Mather is a master storyteller and I am a huge fan of her writing – no wonder this has become one of my favorite series. The ending is mind-blowing and the identity of the perp is a huge shocker. I must admit I had a doubt on certain somebody – they end up being the perp – but the events leading up to Jo catching them red-handed is simply fantastic.
I have read a few bad reviews about this book online and I must say – read this series only if you like astrology. Mentions of zodiac signs, planetary positions and how it influences an individual’s personality – something you might not have seen in a mystery before. Astrology is something that interests me and I really like the concept of mixing astrology with detective work. If you don’t mind the astrology part, go ahead and give this series a try – you won’t be disappointed.