Saturday, April 21, 2018

Antique Blues by Jane K. Cleland

I have to admit that I read so many mysteries that, over the years, I've dropped some series that I used to enjoy. They no longer seem fresh or the characters haven't changed. But, I always look forward to the next Josie Prescott Antiques mystery. Author Jane K. Cleland continues to explore the antiques and art world. Best of all, Josie Prescott continues to evolve while her friendships and loyalties remain steadfast. Fans of Josie and her world will enjoy Antique Blues, and welcome the heartwarming ending.

Josie and her fiancé, Ty Alvarez, are at a party for Mo Shannon when Josie overhears a troubling conversation. Mo's parents fear Cal Lewis, boyfriend of Mo's sister, Lydia, may be abusing her. Josie's suspicions are aroused even more when Mo asks Josie to appraise her newly acquired Japanese woodblock print. Cal sold it to her, and he protests that it's not worth appraising for insurance purposes. Then, Mo is murdered, and Cal disappears on the same day.

Naturally, Josie offers assistance to her friend, Police Chief Ellis Hunter. She's the one with the knowledge and staff who can work on tracing the history of the Japanese piece. It may provide a reason for murder. Josie also knows Mo's family and some of her friends.

Although the Shannons are in mourning, Mo's father, Frank, shows up at Josie's, and asks her to appraise a Martin guitar he owns, but he can only provide vague details as to its history. While tracing the provenance, Josie begins to add some of Frank's own story to the account of Mo's murder.

There are so many reasons I appreciate Jane K. Cleland's mysteries. Although Josie does have one tstl moment in this book (too stupid to live), that's an exception in this story. Josie respects her relationship with Police Chief Hunter, and she shares her knowledge and her suppositions with him. At times, he's able to shoot down her ideas. Cleland does not treat the police as idiots. It's only Josie's specialized knowledge that allows her to find clues the police might not discover.

The hunt for information about the antiques and art is fascinating. Cleland involves Josie's staff. Josie isn't the only one who works on these searches. Her staff knows experts, calls and communicates with them, and passes information on to Josie. She doesn't work in a vacuum. The information about the Japanese art work and the Martin guitar comes as a result of teamwork.

And, Cleland has one strong point going for her, from my point of view. Once Josie began to date Ty Alvarez, the two remain a couple. There is no romantic triangle, no cheating. That romantic triangle element that lasts forever in some cozy series is one of my pet peeves. It's a pleasure to see the strength, the humor, and the love in the relationship between Josie and Ty. And, it's a relationship supported by a close-knit group of friends.

Josie Prescott has grown over the course of the series. She embodies, and believes, that people change. "We get better. Stronger. More capable. At least, we do if we want to." Josie Prescott has grown, personally and professionally, over the years. Antique Blues is the perfect example of Josie's growth, culminating in a wonderful ending for those of us who have followed the series.

Jane K. Cleland's website is

Antiques Blues by Jane K. Cleland. St. Martin's Minotaur. 2018. ISBN 9781250148742 (hardcover), 304p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Margie Bunting said...

Lesa, I agree that this series is one that never disappoints. I have this one on hold and am eagerly awaiting its arrival at the library.

Kay said...

So, you think this is the end of the series? I've not read it as yet, but it has interested me over the years. I might try it now. Like what you said about all aspects of it. And I remember seeing Jane Cleland at your AZ library. :-)

Lesa said...

You won't be disappointed, Margie!

Lesa said...

Oh, Kay, I hope it's not the end. I didn't mean to imply that. I just meant this particular book had a satisfying ending for those of us who follow it. The character grows, so if she feels a little weak in the beginning, she, as a person, actually is. When you have the time, give it a chance.

Charlotte said...

Lesa, I am reading a sample of her first book after reading your review this morning.
Second thing I did was to check my library to find out if they carried this series. They have a copy of each book. That was a nice surprise. So many times they don’t carry cozy books. The books might have to be sent from other libraries, that is OK. Just have to wait a little while longer each time I place a hold on a book. Another new author for me. Thank you for being so good with your reviews that I have found so many authors and book series I would have missed if it wasn’t for you.
You really do a outstanding service through your blog to all of us each day. Hugs

BPL Ref said...

THis is one of my favorite series just for the reasons you mention. I'm looking forward to Antiques Blues!

Lesa said...

Charlotte, I hope you enjoy the series. And, I'm really glad to know your library has all of the books. I like the educational aspects about the books, but I really like Josie as a character.

Thank you so much. I started this blog originally to talk about books I enjoyed. I'm glad I could introduce readers to new books and authors. Thank you.

Lesa said...

BPL Ref, I can assure you you'll be happy with this book.