Review – Witness To A Murder

Witness To A Murder

Author: Jean and Jon Hamilton-Fford
Create Space
2015
ISBN #978-150045308-4

Witness To A Murder cover

“Witness To A Murder” is a fast paced mystery filed with humor and excitement. Louise Deveraux, a recent widow, visits New York to see her publisher. While there, she is witness to a murder, ala 1954’s “Witness To Murder”, starring Barbara Stanwyck, and “Rear Window”, starring James Stewart.

Still in shock, minutes after watching a man get knocked unconscious and thrown off a 33rd floor balcony, the phone rings, asking for Louise Deveraux. It is her publisher’s office. Before she can begin a conversation, there is a knock on her door. Scared to death, Louise peers through the peep hole. The murderer must have seen the glint from her binoculars – they must know where she is! But the lady outside the door is presentable, and pleads to be let in. She claims to want to help Louise. Louise lets the woman in. She introduces herself as Rota Deale.

Max, Louise’s publisher, has contacted Rota Deale’s employer, who is a huge fan of Louise’s books. The employer is throwing a gala for Louise that very night. If Louise does not go with Rota, she will be fired. At her age, she will not be able to find another job.

Louise agrees to go with Rota, and is treated to an unbelievable afternoon of indulgence – a massage, a mani-pedi, and a wonderful meal. When she returns to the hotel she finds amazing jewelry, a lovely gown to wear, exotic flowers, caviar, chocolate dipped strawberries …  and a maid!

Rota picks her up that evening in a limousine, where they leave for an undisclosed location. They arrive at a magnificent house, where an elegant party is in progress. Louise is taken to meet Carl, Rota’s employer. Here is where things start to spiral downward rapidly! Was Carl one of the three men that Louise saw on the balcony? Did he have something to do with her husband’s death? Does he have underworld connections? Will she survive? Nothing and no one is as they seem.

It becomes clear that she will have to do what Carl wants, or her family will not be safe. Her son, daughter, and two grandchildren – they are her world! What does she have to do? She has to become head of a Wellness Foundation, one that is in her name. And she will become wealthy … very wealthy. And her children … they will be part of the foundation too.

The Hamilton-Fford’s have written a very compelling mystery, all about what drives us, what makes us tick, what we will do to stay safe, and keep our world safe. I loved the detailed descriptions of clothing, rooms, jewels, food … and the general sense of extreme luxury that money can buy. We encounter a longtime friend of Louise that is … well, she is a friend, but she is not what she seems. And we see the depth of who Rota is, and what drives her.

This is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

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Review – Freshly Squeezed Lenormand

Freshly Squeezed Lenormand –

A New Take On An Old Divination

Author: Jean Hamilton-Fford
Artist: Jean Hamilton Fford
2012
Independently Published

The Lenormand divination template was originated by MlleMarie-Anne Lenormand, born in 1772, and well known for her divination and fortune telling skills (including Napoleon and Josephine amongst her clientele). The Freshly Squeezed Lenormand is an updated version, using images more current with the present.

The cards come with an adorable little gift bottle containing lemon scented pellets, and a beautiful yellow bag to keep the cards in. There are 36 cards in the deck, and four extra cards (Yes, No, Now, and Later). The cards are 2 ¼” by 3 3/8”, of good quality card stock. They are not coated, so it is advised to work with clean hands, in a clean work area, and especially to not get them wet. If treated properly, this deck should withstand use over a period of time.

The card backs show lemons – not a great surprise here! It is quite an uplifting color, and certainly makes me smile! The card faces show a white scroll at the top of the page, with the card number and message. The illustration is below that, and there are no borders. It works well that the imagery flows without borders – it is much easier to enter into the card to discern the meaning.

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Card number 28 represents males. The imagery is that of three males, in suits, with no heads. The  text on this card reads:

“This card is your card if you are a boy or young man. This card reaches far and makes you a gentleman. The qualities here sparkle and shine. They encourage you to find the guise inside of the gentleman. The cards that surround you will tell you the story of good or bad omens, or untold glory!

Card number 21 shows the imagery of large boulders. The text reads:

“Blocks have found you. They hinder your way. Take a close look though, to see what they say. If this card is imminent, you’d better take cover. If this card is far away, your misery will be over, for friends will aid you, and help you recover”

Other cards that appealed to me were number 22, the card of choices; number 12, which shows the image of an adorable dog, and address the frantic pace that we work at; number 29, the female representative in the deck, showing three well dressed female figures without heads; and number 3, which shows the image of a sailboat and addresses journey’s.

This is a project that was inspired by dreams before and during its creation. Jean doesn’t say so, but my bet is that dreams will continue to guide her on getting this deck out to the public, and helping them work with it. I have seen magickal things done along this line (with Jordan Hoggard’s Mystereum Tarot coming immediately to mind). As Jean notes in her LWB (Little White Book), much of the wisdom that accompanies the images in this deck came through meditation, and flowed through her directly from Spirit. Many thanks to Jean’s husband Jon for sharing his expertise in the use of software, in trouble shooting graphics issues, and in creating the packaging for the deck.

The LWB (Little White Book) that accompanies this deck is a download in PDF format. I think this is a very cost effective way to get the information out there without breaking the bank. The book includes acknowledgements, a section on caring for your deck, an introduction, and information on each of the cards. At the end, there is a section on spreads, and a bit about Jean herself.

I have been watching this deck as it progressed, and got to know Jean in the process, She is such a loving, kind person, and so filled with wisdom. This definitely comes through in her interpretation of the Lenormand – “freshly squeezed”, for current times, yet working with the traditional format.

One thing that Jean points out is that this deck, like many Indie decks, is handcrafted. Jean and her husband packaged the decks themselves for shipping, which means that a great deal of love and light was instilled in the decks before they went to their new homes. You can feel this in every deck that is done in this manner (a huge project that comes to my mind is the initial issuing of Joanna Powel Colbert’s Gaian Tarot deck, and the community of women that were involved in putting it together and getting it out).

Please pay close attention to the short section on how to care for this deck. The stock that was used is heavy card stock … there is no plastic or metal in the cards. Because of this, extra caution is going to be needed. Keep them dry, keep them clean, and do not leave them out for long periods of time in the sunlight. If you do this, the images will stay fresh, and the ink will stay bright. Keep them away from open flames (they are flammable), and don’t get them wet (they will bubble up, and you won’t be able to use them).

Note: Jean recommends printing the LWB out for reference, so that the reader can explore it in depth. There are things that are hidden in the cards, and things that will touch the reader through cultural references, and through their own personal experiences. Attention needs to be paid to the use of the Key card (the card that represents the Querent, the person getting the reading), and to the four mystery cards (Yes, No, Now, and Later). There is a method to the madness here!

The cards are presented with text and a full color image. (Another plus for doing a digital LWB – the use of color, which can be cost prohibitive in a printed book.) The card’s message is given, along with its counterpart in traditional decks, and a few words on how to use the wisdom in the card.

For example, for card 03, Journey, we read:

“However you may journey, However you may roam, Look to the cards To show you, how far You will have to go. By ship, by plane, By foot, by train, By animal, bike or car, Wherever you go, There you are.”

Most Lenormand decks call this one the Ship. But there are many ways to journey now and I have updated this card to include a train and a plane. I’ve also added a whale fluke because some of us journey by swimming and the land and air because some journey by flying long distances or covering ground by bicycle, motorcycle, car or other modes of transportation.

What you need to remember is that this card is about travel or a journey. Look at the cards around this card. If this is near your card, the travel or journey is imminent. If it is far away, it has yet to manifest. This could also mean that someone or something is making its way to you imminently or in the future.

I hope you enjoy this card as much as I enjoyed making it!

What do you see in this card?

How would you interpret it?

The section on spreads at the end of the LWB includes a three card spread, a single card spread to be used for focus, and a more intense spread entitle the Grand Tableau. Me being me, I just had to try the Gran Tableau! What a spread!

Jean’s hope is that the cards of the Freshly Squeezed Lenormand will literally bring hope to those that work with it. I feel that anyone who is open to this deck will find themselves opening up to many new experiences, and a great deal of wisdom. I loved that Jean’s daughter, Kaelyn, helped her to see that each card was a “miniature work of art” that would mean different things to different people, but that, along with the (channeled) verses, would make sense for the current times.

I find the Lenormand system of divination, and this particular deck, to be inspiring. I think that you will too!

 © November 2012 Bonnie Cehovet