The Art of the Decoy
Perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry, Tricia Esden's series debut is sure to please.
After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother is gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.
When Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.
Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.
With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.
In this captivating series launch from Esden (the Dark Heart series as Pat Esden), Edie Brown comes home to Scandal Mountain, Vt., smarting from her mother's conviction for art forgery that has tarnished her own reputation, as well as that of her family's antiques business, and seeking a road to recovery. In addition, she herself has been on probation for selling stolen property. Aided by her horticulturally gifted uncle, Tuck, and tech-savvy assistant, Kala Acosta, Edie evaluates a prized collection of folk art decoys for Nina Graves-Bouchard and her father-in-law, Claude Bouchard. When the collection disappears, Nina accuses Edie of theft and threatens to go to the police. Spurred to clear her name and recover the decoys, Edie discovers a disturbing trail that may involve malice toward the family business, a previous robbery in Canada, and potential danger for a vulnerable Claude. An amusing purveyor of gossip, an exciting chase, a rich historical and cultural background, and a complex relationship between Edie and her former probation officer add interest and depth. Readers will look forward to further antique hunts with the stubborn, courageous Edie and her team.
A Very Fun Read
I was hooked from page one with main character Edie Brown's preface about true crime in the art world. Edie finds a treasure in American folk art, only to lose it and find herself a suspect in its disappearance. Enemies, friends, family, and one former love interest could all be on either side of the law.