Retired San Francisco cop Brad Lyon is settling into a quieter life with his wife Ashleigh in Virginia's mountain country, where they collect and create teddy bears. But even here, stuff happens...
The day is here—and Brad Lyon is helping his wife put the finishing touches on her best bears, just in time for the Shenandoah Valley Teddy Bear Extravaganza. The event will draw fur-ball fanatics from near and far to buy, sell, or simply ogle the bears. But the main event will be the showing of the Mourning Bear, made to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic—and worth a hefty $150,000.
Then a local also meets a watery grave—and Brad Lyon spots the body floating in the Shenandoah. Old habits die hard, so Brad starts investigating like a homicide cop and finds that the deceased might have had a connection to the Mourning Bear. But the local law would prefer that Brad keep his mouth sewn shut...
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One Hot Teddy
Uncle Dorsey was vague about how he’d obtained the Mourning Bear, saying he’d “found” it while on duty somewhere in Germany. Call me suspicious, but I can’t tell you the number of thieves I met during my police career that, when arrested for possession of stolen property, claimed that they’d “found” the hot goods.
Once Ashleigh was free to talk, I asked, “Hey sweetheart, do you know who owns the Mourning Bear they’re auctioning today? Elizabeth Ewell. Recognize the name?”
Ash’s lips tightened slightly. “I know of her. Liz Ewell is very wealthy, so she didn’t come into town very much to associate with us rabble. Thinks she can get whatever she wants.” Ash’s voice became increasingly surly. “Back in 1972, she decided that she wanted some land my daddy owned but didn’t want to sell, so she got a Richmond lawyer and went to court. She won only because she had so much money that she could have bankrupted us just by keeping it in the courts.”
There was an unholy light in Ash’s eyes and a dormant Virginia mountain accent emerged in her voice. “She called my daddy an ignorant hillbilly and said she hoped he’d learned his lesson not to cross his betters.”
“Maybe she’s changed. After all, she’s donating the auction proceeds to charity.”
“More likely trying to buy her way into heaven.”
“Want to hear something else interesting?” I lowered my voice. “As of about an hour ago, the Mourning Bear wasn’t here yet…;”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Brad Lyons had been a Homicide Inspector for the city of San Francisco before he was shot and permanently disabled and forced to retire. With his wife Ashleigh they move back to her hometown and started an artisan business of creating teddy bears. The morning of the Great Teddy Bear Extravaganza, the body of a man washed up on their land and County Sheriff, without even examining the body, determined that it was an accidental drowning. Brad tried to explain to the Sheriff all the signs that pointed to a murder by strangulation, but he was told emphatically that t was a drowning and to keep his nose out of it if he knew what was good for him. As Brad and Ashleigh headed to the Extravaganza they were stopped by the sheriff's deputy (his son) and given several tickets as a warning of what trouble they could get into if they didn't comply with the Sheriff's request. The story is cleverly woven so that the clues emerge to the characters and the readers at the same time and the characterizations as they develop are entertaining and delightful. I have the next in the series and look forward to it immensely. (I would even if I wasn't an arctophile.)
Bradley Lyon spent twenty-five years with the San Francisco Police Department until a murder suspect shot a bullet into his fibula and tibia in Ghirardelli Square, which led to three things. His disability retirement he and his wife of over a quarter of a century Ashleigh returning to her hometown in Remmelkemp Mill, Virginia and his aversion to hot chocolate. --- Ash collects and creates teddy bears. She enjoys attending the conventions and has an entry, Miss Susannah S. Seraphim in the nearby Shenandoah Valley Teddy bear Extravaganza. The highlight of the gala is the auctioning of the renowned Mourning Bear made in 1912 to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic with a short run of 655 thus its value is tagged at $150,000 or more. However, the pleasant trip is interrupted when their canine Kitch finds the corpse of a murder victim in the nearby river. Without seeing the body, Sheriff Holcombe rules death by accidental drowning or suicide, infuriating the cop resting inside Bradley¿s brain s he knows a strangled victim when he sees one. Unable to stay out in spite of warnings to mind his business or else, Bradley begins making inquiries that tie the victim to the Mourning Bear. --- This is a fun cozy as Bradley cannot help but investigate the homicide that the Sheriff and other powerful local figures want ignored though the former SFPD detective cannot understand why as his first reaction incompetence proves false. The entertaining story line contains the obvious retired cop¿s inquires, but also a fascinating look at teddy bears, so much so the stuffed animals make a strong support cast. John L. Lamp provides readers with a delightful whodunit that more than just Bear Collectors will enjoy. --- Harriet Klausner
Brad and his wife Ashleigh are enjoying his retirement by indulging their hobby of teddy bear collecting and creating. But then Brad finds a body on their property and a local show featuring a rare bear is robbed. Will this ex-cop be able to figure out what is happening? I loved this debut. The characters were great, there was some good humor, and the mystery was well plotted. The only issue was that the first chapter was a data dump.
I have read this book and all the others in this series. They are very well written and the humor shines throughout. I collect teddy bears so these books were a perfect genre for me. I have found that even if you don't collect teddy bears that people still like to read this series. They are a light but interesting reading.