In Cleland’s winning seventh Josie Prescott antiques mystery (after 2011’s Deadly Threads), someone guns down Josie’s friend and client, financial adviser Alice Michaels, outside Josie’s Rocky Point, N.H., shop, Prescott’s Antiques and Auctions, shortly after the two women examine a valuable collection of dolls that Josie just bought for resale. That Alice “was being investigated for running a mega-Ponzi scheme” may suggest a motive for murder. When Josie’s loyal shop assistant, Eric, disappears, kidnappers demand the prized dolls as ransom. Meanwhile, Josie finds rare Civil War currency inside a vintage Chatty Cathy doll with the miniphonograph removed. Working with Rocky Point’s limited police force (no FBI wanted for this homespun case) and amid eager reporters, Josie once again proves an adept sleuth. The action builds to a seamless and fitting conclusion. Author tour. Agent: Cristina Concepcion, Don Congdon Associates. (Apr.)
Someone wants an antique doll collection enough to kill for it. Antiques dealer Josie (Deadly Threads) must solve this quickly to save her kidnapped employee. The seventh in a winning cozy series. [See Prepub Alert, 11/14/11; library marketing.]
What could be more natural than a New Hampshire antiques dealer becoming a magnet for crime? Perhaps because she handles many expensive objects that sometimes bring out the worst in people, Josie Prescott has gotten a reputation as an amateur sleuth. So it's appropriate, if horrifying, that she's on the scene when one of her clients is shot dead in her parking lot. Alice Michaels was a doll collector and a financial advisor who was about to be arrested for an alleged Ponzi scheme. She'd just put down a deposit on a doll collection Josie had agreed to appraise for the two sisters selling it. When Josie's helper is kidnapped on the way back from collecting more of the dolls, the ransom demanded is the collection itself. Although the dolls are valuable, Josie is sure that there's more to them than meets the eye. Sure enough, X-rays reveal wads of bills hidden in some of their heads--perhaps rare and valuable Civil War notes, which would be well worth the kidnappers' efforts. There are plenty of suspects in Alice's death, starting with all those who lost money in her scheme. Even the dolls themselves may have had motives for murder. The police chief is a friend who's not about to turn down Josie's help when it comes to solving antiques-related crimes, even when it puts her in danger. Cleland continues to offer clever mysteries (Deadly Threads, 2011, etc.) studded with enough information on antiques to keep collectors coming back for more.