Death and Wren Bid on Answers to the Mysteries of Love and War
When former army medic Tony Dozier is accused of killing a member of the hate group that disrupted his wife's funeral, the prosecution charges premeditated murder and the defense claims temporary insanity. Former marine Death Bogart and auctioneer Wren Morgan think there's more to the story.
They're both led to the long-abandoned Hadleigh House, where Wren begins preparing the contents for auction but ends up appraising the story behind an antique sketchbook. As Wren uncovers the century-old tale of a World War I soldier and his angel, Death finds a set of truths that will change...or end...their lives.
"Well-drawn characters, multiple plot lines, surprising plot twists."Booklist
"Ross' sleuthing pair again faces a present-day murder steeped in historical detail."Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Loretta Ross (Warsaw, MO) earned her BA in art history and archaeology from the University of MissouriColumbia. Death and the Redheaded Womanwas her debut novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an engaging story. Good characters, very interesting, and complex. I'd like to go back to the earlier ones to see the development. And a very exciting resolution to the mystery. Really touching presentation of the reality of armed service veterans.
Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel by Loretta Ross is the third book in An Auction Block Mystery series. Wren Morgan and the Bogart brothers (Randy and Death) are heading to Hadleigh House. It is an 1800s plantation and the path leading up to the house is a local legend. Keystone and Sons, the auction company that Wren works for, has been contracted to sell the contents of the house. Wren needs to appraise and catalogue the items in the house. The area is a crime scene after hikers found a man dead on the Vengeance Path in a Confederate uniform. The man had stolen a horse from Warriors Rest, the vets camp next door, and ridden down the path into an overhanging branch. Duncan Reynolds, Chief of Police, is still trying to identify the deceased. While at Hadleigh House, Death is approached by Kurt Robinson (runs Warriors Rest with his wife). Kurt would like Death (a private investigator) to help Anthony Dozier who is accused of murdering August Jones, Jr. Anthony just lost his wife, Zahra and August Jones Jr. father, Tyler was protesting (with his group) at the funeral (he is against Muslims). After meeting Anthony, Death knows that the man could not commit murder. Death is determined to find out what really happened and get Anthony cleared of all charges. While going through the items in the house, Wren finds a sketchbook. It is full of beautiful sketches of a woman surrounded by soldiers. The woman looks very familiar to Wren. Wren knows there must be a story behind these sketches. Join Death, Randy and Wren in Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel as they search for answers. Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel has a complex mystery and interesting characters. I did, though, have trouble getting into the story. I felt like I was missing something. While I have purchased the first two books in the series, I have not had an opportunity to read them. With the majority of cozy mystery series, you can pick up and read any book in the series (in any order). That is not true with An Auction Block Mystery series. I was confused in the beginning of the book. The author does provide some detail on the characters (their jobs, what happened to Randy, and the romance between Wren and Death). There are many characters in this story and it can be hard to keep them straight (the vets, the auction house family, the suspects). To me the characters lacked depth. Without more details, they feel (just a little) superficial. I give Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel 3.5 out of 5 stars. I appreciate the mystery in the novel. It was interesting to see how the author tied things together. A reader can, though, solve the mystery before they are halfway through the book (avid mystery readers will probably solve it earlier). The romance is very prominent in this story. Wren and Death are very lovey dovey (it is a little mushy actually). It is sweet, but the romance seems to have been pushed along rather quickly. There was one scene that I really enjoyed. Tyler Jones comes to the door of Hadleigh Manor demanding entrance. He keeps tossing out various Bible verses. Wren, with a little assistance, verbally spars with the minister. It was entertaining to read. I need to go back and read the first novel in the series. I can then form a better opinion about the series as a whole.
Love the cover and title to this installment by Loretta Ross. Since I did not read prior books in this series it was hard to feel real emotion for the characters. Liked the romance between Death and Wren and how their personal and professional lives crossed over. The murder sleuthing was different and keeps the reader questioning the solution. Some edge of the seat action made the conclusion worth the read. Received free copy from Midnight Ink and author via Netgalley.
Dollycas’s Thoughts I love this series! Morgan is working at Hadleigh House, an old abandoned mansion, to inventory the furnishings and other contents for auction. She finds an old sketchbook that is truly a treasure. It seems to tell a story from World War I about a soldier and his angel. Meanwhile Tony Dozier, an army vet is arrested for killing a man that was protesting his wife’s funeral. Wren and Death (Dee-th) “it’s a family name” Bogart meet the man and know right away he didn’t kill anyone. Death also has PTSD and knows that is what the vet is dealing with. Maybe the sketchbook can help explain the vet’s confusion and lead them to the real killer. Three books and we are still peeling back the layers on these characters. They continue to grow closer and deal with each other’s battles. They are falling in love but still have barriers up so as to not cause each other pain, both physically and emotionally. The author seems to understand that their healing is a process, not something that can be fleshed out in a hurry but revealed over time. For me as a reader that draws me to these characters in a major way. The setting this time was quite interesting. A big old house, a cemetery, and a camp for wounded veterans are all located close together but getting to the house is difficult because there is only a walking path until a bridge car be rebuilt for vehicles. The picture on the cover depicts things very well. The theme of the story is very current, there is a group, the Church of the Army of Christ (CAC), a militant hate group, they protest around the area. This group disrupted the Dozier funeral because Tony’s wife was a Muslim. She and Tony were the only survivors of an attack in Afghanistan only to get back to the states and have her killed by a drunk driver. Tony dealing with the tragedy he witnessed overseas as a medic combined with his wife’s tragic death has left him just a shell of a man. The author wrote this book long before the current administration was sworn in but she clearly saw the degree of hatred during the election and she tackled that and the plight of veterans so well in this story. As for the mystery, it wasn’t exactly complex but it wasn’t straight forward either. I knew who didn’t do it, just as Morgan and Death did, so I was really tuned in to all the others I viewed as suspects. I just had a feeling and surprisingly I turned out to be right, but it played out in a really scary, edge of your seat way. The topics may seem heavy for a cozy mystery but Ms. Ross adds the humor, romance and character building in a way to keep it all balanced. I was very happy with the last chapter set up to take us into the next Death and Morgan story. It is going to be hard to wait a year to have it in my hands. If this is a new series for you I really recommend you start with Death & the Redheaded Woman, then Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow, before you read this story. These are rich characters you will enjoy more if you meet them from the beginning.