Cover image for The hummingbird wizard
The hummingbird wizard
Blevins, Meredith.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tom Doherty Associates, [2003]

Physical Description:
400 pages : map ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Forge book"--T.p. verso.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description l
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Driving full steam ahead with her life after the unexpected death of her husband, Annie Szabo was not planning on veering off course again. But her late husband's family, an outrageous and proud 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.

Author Notes

Meredith Blevins is a fifth-generation Californian. She grew up in Los Angeles, and spent her adult life in Northern California. Her fantasy was to write for The National Enquirer and run away with the Gypsies. Instead, she attended college in California, worked as a music therapist, wrote textbook articles, and, following a circuitous path, became a financial columnist. She was an active member of the American Assn. of Business Journalists.

With a push from her family and husband, writer Win Blevins, she made the switch from non-fiction to fiction. Her first novel, T he Hummingbird Wizard , garnered praise from the likes of Tony Hillerman, Jonathan Kellerman, Clive Cussler, Loren Estelmen, and Tim Sandlin.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fascinating gypsy lore, unforgettable characters and a wicked sense of humor distinguish Blevins's 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 with her double-edged remarks and a peculiar and sexy Romani 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 its assured prose ("Jerry and I grew up before smog was invented," reads the first sentence), will delight any mystery fan. Agent, Susan Gleason. (Sept. 17) Forecast: With blurbs from Tony Hillerman, Jonathan Kellerman and Clive Cussler, plus a regional author tour, expect strong sales for a first mystery. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Ever since she lost her husband in a motorcycle accident, Annie Szabo has tried to steer clear of his unconventional Gypsy family-especially Mina, her disapproving mother-in-law, who also happens to be a fortune-teller, and the alcoholic, free-wheeling sister-in-law who has botched her marriage to Jerry, Annie's oldest friend. When Jerry dies under suspicious circumstances, Annie joins Mina in tracking down a murderer. Along the way, Annie meets the elusive Hummingbird Wizard-a Romany relative she didn't know she had. In this engaging and unusual first novel. Blevins flavors her lively prose with frequent humor and unexpected twists; readers will also be drawn in by the riveting characters, great plot, and insights into Gypsy culture. A great choice for most mystery collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



One Jerry and I grew up before smog was invented. We both left Los Angeles when the hills disappeared and the ocean got tired of movie stars. Jerry'd been an occasional boyfriend and my oldest pal. He met Capri at my wedding. I've always felt kind of guilty about that, but weddings are unpredictable events. Capri was drop-dead gorgeous, vulnerable, and crazy. Jerry was a prime candidate for a broken heart--they were a match made in heaven. There were plenty of friends, lots of champagne at the wedding. Jerry juggled fruit and woodworking tools. He'd paid one dollar for a minister's license from the Universal Life Church and performed our ceremony. I don't remember the ceremony, I do remember Stevan's kiss. Madame Mina, Stevan's mother, brought her fortune-telling gear to our wedding. Trailing after her were a bunch of Gypsy dancers and guitarists. When ministering was done and juggling got old, Jerry found Mina. She read his cards and studied his palm. Stevan and I propped each other up, peered over Jerry's shoulder, and marveled at his future. That's when trouble arrived. Capri breezed into our reception wearing a sequined bodysuit, legs up to here, and a killer smile. She kissed Madame Mina on the cheek and said, "How's his love line, Mamo? He's kinda cute." My new sister-in-law meant Jerry, and she sat down right next to him. Jerry wore the stunned expression of a shock therapy patient ready to go home. In her presence he'd lost fifty IQ points. She put her feet on the edge of his folding chair, lit a cigarette and said to him, "Excuse the getup. I just got off work, and I was too pooped to change." He looked at her outfit while pretending not to. "What do you do? I mean…for a living." "I teach." "Teach?" "Circus School of Performing Arts. That trapeze bar is heavy like you wouldn't believe. Rub my shoulders, would you? They're killing me." She zapped him again with her electric smile. Another 20 IQ points down the drain. Capri twirled her car keys around one finger. The decorative plastic was shaped like a bird in flight. She turned to Mina. "Ready to go home?" "No, either are you." Madame Mina closed in on Jerry, and this time she meant business. The phony "You'll come into money and live to be an old man" stuff disappeared. She scrutinized both hands. She turned them over and traced the fine, barely visible crease at the base of each thumb. The future tumbled before her. She looked at her daughter, held Jerry's hand, and pointed to the middle of his left palm. Mother and daughter argued in a foreign language, and it sounded pretty fierce. When they got back to speaking English, Capri said to Mina, "You did it again. You skipped straight from page one to the end of a book that hasn't been written. I hate it when you do that." "Big deal. What kind of mother would I be if you didn't hate me sometimes? I'm telling you, heartache for everyone when you get mixed up in love with a gajo ." "What happened to Love comes in all kinds of packages ?" "Some packages are wrapped in brown paper and go tick, tick, tick. Those you throw over a bad neighbor's fence." Stevan gave his mother a look; Capri's expression mirrored his. "Okay, okay. You two stop with the eyes." Mina closed her eyes and ran her fingers over Jerry's head. She lingered over his left ear and repeated the procedure. Her face did a 180 turn in attitude, and her wrinkles relaxed. She tossed her hands up and said, "What can you do? We're all crazy nuts. You two kids take a walk." Jerry's head was like a melon that had been pronounced ripe. It was a strange blessing. Jerry and Capri disappeared into the shadows of our summer orchard. She turned and tossed Mina the car keys. When the full moon bounced off her sequins, Capri was a pulsing tower of light. Jerry had just fallen for the whole carnival. Stevan held me and spun me around. We danced, but not for long. He got woozy and staggered off to stick his head under a hose. Things went downhill from there. Some Gypsy relative who'd come with Capri stepped in and asked me to dance. He had dark curly hair and peach fuzz sideburns. I pegged him at fourteen years old. He'd had too much to drink, and he stared at my cleavage from a distance of two inches. He threw up down the front of my dress. I don't know why, but I laughed. My chest doesn't usually have that effect on men. The kid looked pitiful, embarrassed. He stared at his feet, and they were a mess. I took his hand and led him to the hose, over to Stevan. The kid needed cleaning up, and so did I. "Capri is trouble," he said. "She's born under a prikaza star. Tell your friend if he's smart, he'll stay clear." There I stood with leftover wedding cake and champagne down my front listening to an adolescent's dire warnings. My new husband had his head under a hose, and Jerry was coming unglued beneath the apple trees. Into this sea Madame Mina sailed, wearing a necklace made from a sheriff's badge welded to a gold chain. I had married into a family of lunatics. Mina wrestled with the boy's shirt as she tried to pull it over his head. "We're leaving," she said to me. "By the way, I hope you're paying cash to those dancers. They don't take checks." The boy's arms were hung up in the neckband. "They wouldn't come unless we paid in advance," I said. "New policy. That's good." Mina folded her arms across her chest. "Jerry and Capri, they're going to be an item," she said. "You'll stay away from Jerry now."; "I just married your son!" "I know that. What I don't know is if it means anything to you people." Stevan rolled out words, Romani, a wave of quiet storm. Mina's face went red, then white. She stood very still. She smoothed the front of her skirt and raised her chin. "The message is clear. This family is ripped like an old sheet twisting on a clothesline. Why can't none of my kids stay away from gaje ?" The drunk boy, Jozef she called him, drove Mina home in a yellow Cadillac, no license plates, with his shirt dangling from one arm out the driver's window. As for Stevan, it seems he was the one born under a prikaza star. We had two girls in three years, and we weren't even smart enough to be miserable. (Laughter is a powerful aphrodisiac, hence the kids.) When I was pregnant with child three, Stevan sailed off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean. No drugs or alcohol involved, just a French motorcycle and an exuberance around the curves that threw him over the edge. Sometimes joy rides a line precariously close to destruction. Jerry and Capri stuck together several years after their hot and heavy beginning, and a son, and divorced. No more Capri? No such luck. More than a decade after we'd last spoken I came home to find a message from her on my answering machine. Because time gets squishy, and things that once seemed important don't matter anymore, hearing Capri's voice was not a terrible thing. A strange thing, but not terrible. Copyright © 2003 by Marcia Meredith Blevins Excerpted from The Hummingbird Wizard by Meredith Blevins All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.