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by Jane K. Cleland
Minotaur, April 2018
304 pages
ISBN: 125014874X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Jane K. Cleland continues to devise compelling mysteries involving antique expert Josie Prescott and her team at Prescott's Antiques & Auctions with ANTIQUE BLUES, the twelfth adventure in this series.

Josie's friend Mo Shannon purchases a rare Japanese woodblock print from her sister Lydia's boyfriend, Cal. Excited at her good luck in obtaining such a rare print, Mo asks Josie to appraise it. Josie schedules a meeting with Mo and Cal to begin the process of tracking provenance for the print. In the meantime, Josie finds out that Cal lied about where he originally bought it and calls Sheriff Ellis Hunter to join her meeting with Mo and Cal at Mo's parents' home. Neither Mo or Cal show up for the meeting and a search of the grounds uncovers Mo's dead body.

The residents of Rocky Point are devastated by the loss of the local first-grade teacher and tireless volunteer. Josie wants to know who killed her friend.

There are a few obvious suspects: Cal, who has disappeared and lied about the Japanese print he sold Mo; her jealous sister Lydia; and her philandering ex-husband Steve. As usual, intrepid local reporter Wes Smith and Josie begin trading information about the murder investigation's progress.

In addition to the requisite red herrings that populate well-done mysteries, this series adds another layer that, in fact, makes it much richer. Josie's skill at tracking provenance while conducting an appraisal establishes her talent for sleuthing. Following Josie's steps in her work on developing the two appraisals is both interesting and informative.

In this adventure Josie is conducting two appraisals, one on Mo's Japanese print and another, for Mo's father Frank, on a vintage Martin guitar; she is considering a business proposal from a colleague; and she is planning her wedding.

The fact that this complex plot is well structured, a captivating read and provides an unexpected resolution clearly qualifies Cleland as an exceptional story teller.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton’s, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, March 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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