Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Dolled Up for Murder by Jane K. Cleland
It's been so satisfying to watch the growth of Jane K. Cleland's character, Josie Prescott, over the course of the Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series. It's also been fascinating to watch the growth of the author herself. Dolled Up for Murder, the seventh in the series, is beautifully written. As usual, the book offers details about antiques, an intriguing mystery, and the return of favorite characters. And, for all the readers who know my pet peeve about amateur sleuths, Josie is my kind of character. She works with the police, not against them.
Over the course of the series, Josie has shown how ethical she is. So, when Alice Michaels wants to buy the entire doll collection from the Farmington estate, Josie hesitates. It's been all over the news that Alice, owner and founder of a financial advisory firm, is about to be indicted for operating a Ponzi scheme. And, Josie already refused to buy a collection from Alice's CEO, knowing she could be in trouble if she bought it. So, Josie only takes a deposit from Alice. The two women are in the parking lot of Prescott's Antiques & Auctions when someone starts shooting. Despite Josie's cries of warning, Alice stands there, and is killed.
Once she gets over her fear, and talks to the police chief, Ellis Hunter, Josie is enraged. "No way was it okay to shoot someone on my property and get away with it." But, things get worse when Eric, Josie's facilities manager, is kidnapped after picking up more dolls from the Farmington house. Josie learns about it when Ellis calls her to the scene where her van was discovered, abandoned. She readily agrees to work with the police. "Kidnapping Eric was a personal affront, a slap in my face. You don't mess with my family and get away with it."
There must be something special about those dolls. Were they the cause of Alice's murder, or was it her financial dealings? The dolls must have been behind Eric's kidnapping because the call from the kidnapper only asks for one thing, the rest of the doll collection. Josie's willing to put herself in danger to ensure Eric's release.
Cleland's books have always been informative, filled with information about antiques and collectibles. But, Josie has become a much more attractive character over the course of the series. She's grown from a lonely, sad figure who looked to her dead father for advice, to a strong woman surrounded by friends and people who love and respect her. And, she's an amateur sleuth who has acceptable reasons to get involved in cases.
If you've followed this series from the beginning, you'll recognize the changes in Josie. But, you'll also enjoy the return of her staff, Gretchen, Fred, Sasha, Cara, Eric, and the cat, Hank. If you haven't yet met the staff of Prescott's Antiques & Auctions, don't hesitate to start with Dolled Up for Murder. Jane K. Cleland skillfully gives you all the background you'll need to find your way into Josie Pescott's world of antiques and murder.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
*The day Paxton Osgood took the box of heavy-stock, foil-lined envelopes to
the post office, the ones she’d had a professional calligrapher...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.