It's just a crime that The Treacherous Teddy will probably be the last book in John J. Lamb's Bear Collector's Mystery Series. These unique mysteries just didn't sell enough books. I will say Berkley Prime Crime gave them terrific covers by artist Jeff Crosby, and there were five books in the series, but I don't know that they ever found the right market.
How do you market an outstanding police procedural series that appears under the auspices of a cozy series, and includes teddy bear shows and collecting? I don't know how Lamb and Berkley could have done a better job, so I feel we bloggers didn't do a good enough job promoting these books. I only discovered them in the last couple months, so I fell a few years short in getting behind these books. And, I apologize to all of Lamb's fans who are going to miss further adventures from Brad and Ashleigh Lyon.
Saying that, The Treacherous Teddy would actually wrap up the series if it has to do that. Brad and Ashleigh Lyon are quite content with their life in the Shenandoah Valley. Brad, a retired homicide inspector from San Francisco, acts as an investigation consultant to the local sheriff's department. Ashleigh is now a volunteer deputy sheriff. And, they enjoy their lives as bear collectors and artists. They have good friends, including the local sheriff, Tina Barron, and the owner of a local restaurant, a Russian immigrant with a mysterious past.
When The Treacherous Teddy opens, Brad is home working on a bear, and listening to the police scanner when he hears Ash assisting the local game warden until she's sideswiped by a car. Giving up the chase when she's afraid to endanger others, she returns to the farm where the car appeared, and finds a body. Now that Saab is of even more interest to the sheriff's department.
It's a busy time for Brad, Ashleigh, and Tina. They're all involved in the first local bear collector's show, but murder takes precedence. And, there are too many suspects, a local poacher, a neighbor that hated the victim, and the driver of the mysterious Saab. As they wear out, running from one suspect to another, and back to the scene of the crime, a local house goes up in flames. Just what they need, arson on top of murder.
John J. Lamb's mysteries are strong police procedurals, with heart. Brad Lyon uses puns and gallows humor to get through life. And, Brad and Ashleigh are a terrific couple, very much in love after over twenty-five years of marriage. It's a pleasure to read about a married team that respects each other, and enjoys their lives together. I'm going to miss Brad and Ashleigh Lyon.
If this is the last book in the Bear Collector's Mystery series, The Treacherous Teddy takes Brad and Ashleigh Lyon out on a high note. I hope John J. Lamb has success with future books.
John J. Lamb's website is www.johnjlamb.net
The Treacherous Teddy by John J. Lamb. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2009. ISBN 9780425230329 (paperback), 320p.
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