Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland

Jane K. Cleland's Josie Prescott Antiques mysteries are some of the best traditional mysteries I read every year. Josie continues to grow and develop as a character. The antiques involved are relevant to the mystery, and the information about those antiques is fascinating. Glow of Death is another outstanding entry in the series.

Although Josie knows that everyone hopes they actually own a Tiffany lamp, when she's asked to appraise one that has been in Edwin Towson's family for generations, she's excited. Prescott's Antiques & Auctions in Rocky Point, New Hampshire has an excellent reputation in the field. When she tells Edwin's wife, Ava, that the Tiffany lamp is authentic, both women are thrilled. Ava even agrees to allow Josie to use the antique in her television show, knowing that will build excitement if the Towsons decide to sell it. However, murder builds excitement as well.

When the Towsons' dog-walker finds Ava's body, the police chief is at Josie's getting ready for the annual July 4th celebration. So, Chief Ellis Hunter asks Josie to identify the body. When Josie says she never saw the woman before, she realizes she's been played. Someone used Josie and her business to identify a priceless antique. Josie is furious that she was duped. Her reputation is in jeopardy. And, she's determined to find out why someone set her up for deception in a murder.

Glow of Death is a character-driven, intricately plotted mystery. It's engrossing and suspenseful. Josie is a complex character who has built a family around her over the years, and over the course of the series. Her emotions are believable, and her reasons for investigating are believable. She's a well-developed, strong character. But, despite her determination to find answers, she turns her information in to the police, and works with them to solve the case. The characters are solid in these books, from Josie's staff to the police chief. Even the animals in the books have personalities. And, Prescott's descriptions of the antiques are richly detailed. Josie Prescott's love of antiques and research is one reason she's such a believable amateur sleuth, a woman who does her homework.

Every time I review one of Jane K. Cleland's mysteries, I encourage readers to go back. Start at the beginning. Watch Josie Prescott develop from the timid, lonely woman she was in the first book to the confident businesswoman she is now. It's worth your time. Glow of Death is just the latest enjoyable, strong entry in this series.

Jane K. Cleland's website is www.janecleland.net

Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland. Minotaur Books. 2016. ISBN 9781250102973 (hardcover), 293p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

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