Petite, indomitable North Carolinian Abigail Timberlake rose gloriously up from the ashes of divorce--parlaying her savvy about exquisite old things into a thriving antiques enterprise: the Den of Antiquity. Now she's a force to be reckoned with in Charlotte's close-knit world of mavens, eccentrics and cuttthroat dealers. But a superb, gilt-edged 18th-century French armoire she purchased for a song at estate auction has just arrived along with something she didn't pay for: a dead body.
Suddenly her shop is a crime scene--and closed to the public during the busiest shopping season of the year--so Abigail is determined to speed the lumbering police investigation along. But amateur sleuthing is leading the feisty antiques expert into a murderous mess of dysfunctional family secrets. And the next cadaver found stuffed into fine old furniture could wind up being Abigail's own.
Number two in the series featuring goings-on at the Den of Antiquity in Charlotte, N.C., has gals (never women) who say y'all and Hey! in greeting, but, except for some magnolias toward the end, precious little Southern atmosphere. Narrator/proprietor Abigail Timberlake, whose mama wears crinolines while cleaning house, is four feet nine inches of indefatigable perkiness who, when it comes right down to it, would rather die than not be cute. A serviceable story involving a corpse that has bloodied a valuable armoire is frequently stopped in its tracks by wildly exaggerated descriptions and non sequiturs that are seldom funny and often tasteless ("ou wouldn't like it if I farted on your food, would you?"). Random bits about antiques may lure other readers, but true appreciators will be die-hard cozy addicts.