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by Elaine Flinn
Perseverance Press, September 2007
264 pages
ISBN: 1880284871

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It’s always a relief to be in Elaine Flinn’s capable hands. I have never read a bad book in this antique shop mystery series and DEADLY VINTAGE upholds the family honor – family honor being a big theme here.

Antiques dealer and aspiring interior decorator Molly Doyle has agreed to help her friend Carla redecorate the Mettucci family's wine-tasting rooms. But the job is hampered by Carla’s abusive, bullying husband Todd, who is adding yet more turmoil to a family that reportedly has imported a vendetta along with other mementos of the old country.

When Todd is shot to death during a party everyone, including Molly, becomes a suspect. When poison is found in his system as well, the police have to look for both the actual murderer and the attempted murderer.

If that doesn’t complicate things enough, Molly is asked to do some unofficial investigating by Todd’s wife. Not Carla – his other wife, the one he married before Carla and never divorced.

Closer to home, Molly is developing family problems of her own. She’s getting random, unsigned postcards and there’s a man who claims to be interested in antiques but is instead all but stalking her unofficially adopted niece. Is he a pervert, or something even more dangerous to Molly?

The overbearing Italian family with the grudge was a little over the top for a Doyle mystery, but it is offset by the realistic growth of all the other characters. That’s what I love about this series, the three-dimensional people. Molly doesn’t do end runs around the police or attention-grabbing confrontations. She’s a believable woman with natural romantic and parental complications. After too many books where neurosis and insecurity are incorrectly labeled cute character quirks, Molly’s groundedness is refreshing.

Flinn also strikes the perfect balance between discussing antiques and moving the plot instead of dumping leaden bits of exposition. The reader can learn a bit without being hit over the head with the writer’s research or prejudices. DEADLY VINTAGE is a good book for Molly Doyle fans and people interested in starting the series.

Reviewed by Linnea Dodson, June 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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