Ever-crafty Josie must confront suspicious antiques dealers and her own friend’s killer in Antique Blues, the twelfth mystery in Jane K. Cleland's beloved Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series set in New Hampshire.
When amateur sleuth and antiques expert Josie Prescott is called in to appraise a Japanese woodblock print and vintage guitar for her friend Mo, she’s thrilled—until Mo is murdered.
It doesn’t take her long to pinpoint one suspect: Mo’s sister’s manipulative boyfriend, who sold her the print—and has now, conveniently, disappeared. Josie’s antiques know-how and detective skills soon lead her down an increasingly perplexing trail, scattered with gamblers, extramarital affairs, and under-the-table purchases.
Readers will relish a return to Rocky Point with Josie as she works together with her friends—the ambitious young reporter Wes Smith, and Rocky Point’s savvy police chief, Ellis Hunter—to sift through the conflicting stories around them and find Mo’s killer.
Suspects and motives abound in Cleland's labyrinthine 12th mystery featuring Rocky Point, N.H., antiques dealer Josie Prescott (after 2016's Glow of Death). When the body of Josie's friend Mo Shannon is found on the beach shortly after Mo asked Josie to appraise a newly acquired 19th-century Japanese woodblock print, Josie applies her extraordinary skill at unraveling the provenance of antiques to piece together the events leading to Mo's death. Her main suspect is Cal Lewis, the boyfriend of Mo's sister, Lydia. He may have sold Mo a fake print to cover his gambling debts and has now gone missing. Another is Steve Jullison, Mo's charming rogue of an ex-husband. Even Mo's loving parents are harboring secrets. Josie makes some remarkable leaps of logic that strain credulity, but refreshingly, she leaves most of the confrontations with dangerous suspects to the police. Cleland has created an appealing character in Josie, who has grown and prospered in a most satisfying way over the course of the series.
ANTIQUE BLUES offers up intrigue from the start, and the mystery kept me guessing until the end. Although this is book twelve in the series, the characters are fairly easy to keep track of even if you haven't read the previous books. And while I enjoyed the mystery, what I found most interesting was the inside look into the world of antiques appraisal. Cozy mystery fans will likely find this to be a pleasing read.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.