Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Killer Keepsakes by Jane K. Cleland
This week, I'm giving away two autographed copies of Jane K. Cleland's Killer Keepsakes. Now that my review has appeared in Mystery News, I have permission to reprint it here. It's Cleland's best Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery yet.
by Jane K. Cleland
Over a few years as owner of Prescott’s Antiques and Auctions in Rocky Point, New Hampshire, Josie Prescott has grown to view her staff as family. So, when her assistant, Gretchen Brock, doesn’t return after a two week vacation, Josie grows concerned. And, she’s worried enough to contact the property manger at Gretchen’s condo. When the two women enter the place, they find a dead man sprawled on the sofa, shot.
It’s only when the police start to look for Gretchen that Josie realizes how little she knows about her employee. Gretchen seems to have a number of friends, but a couple of them seem to have secrets they’re unwilling to share, even with the police. And, who are the strange men who show up at work, asking for Gretchen?
Unlike the police, Josie is convinced Gretchen is innocent. She uses her research skills, developed in the antiques business, to dig into the stories behind Gretchen’s life, hoping those stories, and a missing vase might lead to her missing friend. Unfortunately, the story she uncovers about Gretchen’s past in Denver implicates her even more in the murder. The more she digs, the more Josie turns to her boyfriend, Ty Alvarez, for emotional support. It’s not an easy job, keeping an antiques business working smoothly, while searching for a missing person.
In the course of four books in this series, Josie Prescott has grown more confident as a character. She no longer has the odd habit of quoting and consulting her deceased father. She has grown confident in her business dealings, and in her personal relationships. It’s a pleasure to enter Josie’s world in these mysteries.
Cleland’s latest mystery is much more polished than previous ones. Readers could pick this one up, without having read previous ones, and easily catch up with the characters. This is a fascinating missing person case. Cleland skillfully intertwines the day-to-day workings of the antiques business into the mystery story to bring Josie to life as a working woman. Killer Keepsakes is a keeper.
Reprinted, with permission, from Mystery News, Volume 27, Issue 2, April/May 2009.
Jane K. Cleland's website is www.janecleland.net
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