Mystery Books for Sale

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by Barbara Allan
Kensington, August 2006
288 pages
ISBN: 0758211910

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Brandy Borne has come back to her hometown after a nasty divorce. Her mother Vivian needs a keeper, since she isnít very compliant about taking those pills that keep her mentally on what most of us would consider an even keel. Brandyís sister Peggy Sue has put in her time, and itís Brandyís turn.

The latest manifestation of Vivís illness was her selling the family antiques to local dealer Clint Carson for a pittance; he was more than happy to take advantage of her confused state.

Brandy has some friends in town, and some enemies. When Clint is found dead in his driveway, Brandy thinks her mother ran him down. Viv thinks that Brandy did it. It turns out neither of them killed him but it would seem that somebody wanted to set Brandy up to take the fall.

This feeling is reinforced when someone blows up the Borne residence, and again when Brandyís roommate in the hospital is killed. Brandy and Viv, for their own reasons, decide to investigate. The police, as personified by Officer Brian Lawson and Chief Cassato, are anxious to deter the women. It doesnít work.

I wish I could say that this book blew me away. The writing, with one notable exception, is quite good. The exception is difficult to describe; Brandy makes lots of verbal asides, which are set off on the page by being in parentheses. This may not seem like anything particularly obnoxious, except that there are sometimes as many as three or four of these on any given page.

The characters are believable, although Brandy made my teeth itch. She has a habit of name-dropping, designer names, brand names Ė the Jimmy Choo syndrome. And she has lots of mood swings, which get to be annoying after a while.

The title would indicate that this book has something to do with antiques; they serve as a tenuous connection to the plot at best. I didnít learn anything new about antiques, as I have in other books with this kind of a tie-in. I wish I had, because Iím a sucker for that kind of trivia and I love to learn. If you are looking for something to while away a rainy afternoon and have nothing else in the house, I suppose you could do worse. Iíd suggest re-reading something you know is good before wasting your time on this.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, October 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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