The Antique House Murders (Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series #2)

The Antique House Murders (Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series #2)

by Leslie Nagel

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425285213
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/30/2017
Series: Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 276
Sales rank: 3,068
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Leslie Nagel is the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders, the first novel in the Oakwood Mystery series. She lives in the real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where she teaches writing at a local community college. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son and daughter, hiking, tennis, and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The house reeked of death.

Charley picked her way carefully over and around the boxes, crates, and haphazard piles of debris that choked the upper gallery, breathing through her mouth in an attempt to avoid the worst of the smell. Geez, it stank even worse up here than it had in the main rooms downstairs. As she snagged her toe and nearly took a header into a stack of picture frames, she wondered if the heavy work boots and rugged jeans she’d worn were sufficient protection against contracting tetanus.

Her goal was a room at the end of the hall—the “Blue Room,” according to Calvin Prescott, the estate appraiser handling the Mulbridge family’s auction and general sale. Mulbridge House itself was scheduled for the wrecking ball, just as soon as the eager heirs could liquidate the contents and obtain final approval from the Oakwood Planning Commission. She’d read the newspaper story with interest: complete demolition of the mansion and outbuildings, then a new street and subdivision of the land into fourteen generous wooded lots. Landlocked as was this wealthy, insular suburb of Dayton, Ohio, those lots would be a smoking-hot commodity, with price tags to match. That is, they would be if the late Augusta Mulbridge’s son and daughter could convince the city to approve their development plan—not a slam dunk by any means, with neighbors and preservationists screaming bloody murder.

Arriving without further misadventure before a massive carved wood door, Charley trailed a finger over the tracery of leaves and flowers that decorated eight separate square panels, each one a different blossom. What a beautiful piece of workmanship. Too bad it was discolored by water damage. Every antique fitting in Mulbridge House was like that: heavy, ornate, the very best quality, but sinking into decay, from the fabulous bronze laurel wreath door knockers now green with neglect to the crumbling plaster friezes in the upper gallery. Even the name of this house evoked a lost age of wealth and privilege, when massive estates on secluded roads were too isolated—and too exclusive—for a mere street address.

She pushed open the heavy door. Its hinges squealed as if they hadn’t been oiled since the Truman administration. She shivered. This whole place was like a Hollywood horror movie set, right down to the cobwebs and creaky floorboards.

It was more than just the smell, Charley decided. Mulbridge House exuded a palpable despair, as if the house yearned for better times still remembered. It was starting to get to her—she, a professional, a dealer in the old and discarded. Lord knew she’d waded through plenty of estate sales, digging through the leavings of the dead.

Detachment was a necessary skill for a vintage clothing dealer.

She considered herself more than half a treasure hunter, a bit like Indiana Jones, or maybe Lara Croft. She grinned. There was a Hollywood image for you. Charley Carpenter, red hair flying, slashing her way through a treacherous jungle of moldy castoffs, searching for the shining jewel, the golden idol, the key to the hidden vault. Maybe she should get a bullwhip.

Once inside the Blue Room, she was relieved to discover that the overall creepiness factor was reduced by the late winter sunlight flooding through tall, deep-silled windows. Calvin’s minions had finished in here. Other than a radiator and a remarkable ceiling fixture of cut blue glass, the room contained just three things. An aluminum rack on wheels held four white plastic garment bags, the rack’s gleaming newness contrasting sharply with all this antiquity. Next to it was a large cardboard box, top flaps tucked shut. Two preprinted white labels, each bearing the Prescott Auctions logo, announced that the contents were shoes and handbags. A second box bore a label declaring it contained hats. Charley shivered again, this time in anticipation.

She slowly pulled down the zipper of one of the garment bags, then parted the sides to reveal the bag’s contents.

“Oh, my giddy aunt.” Givenchy, Armani, Halston, Chanel, Yves St. Laurent, a dozen evening gowns spilled out, gorgeous fabrics flowing through her hands in a river of shimmering color. Calvin hadn’t exaggerated.

She quickly opened the other bags and checked their contents. Suits, skirts, dresses, more evening wear, two full-length furs, and everything in very good condition. Charley knew Augusta Mulbridge had been a virtual recluse before her death eighteen months ago. Most of these things had probably hung untouched in her wardrobe for decades. The midnight blue Chanel still had the original sales tags. Imagine buying a Chanel and never having the occasion to wear it, she thought. How sad.

She checked the lists pinned to each zipper pull, Calvin’s neat handwriting itemizing the contents and estimating their value. Well, there was going to be a conversation about pricing, that much was clear.

She knew she’d take the lot. And she knew Calvin knew it. It was one of the reasons he’d invited her to the dealer presale. There were plenty of bigger dealers he could have called in from Cincinnati or Columbus, online sellers with deep pockets who wouldn’t need to dicker down. But as an old friend of her father’s, Calvin always looked out for her. He’d literally watched her grow up. While the men drank homemade root beer and played dominoes in the tiny back office, a very young Charley had spent more than a few delightful afternoons exploring dusty treasures in the Prescott showroom. Somewhere around fourth grade she’d started coming on her own, knowing she’d always find a warm welcome, as well as access to Calvin’s cookie stash. Those solo safaris marked the beginning of her fascination with vintage clothing. Since she’d opened Old Hat three years ago, Calvin Prescott had taken a fatherly interest in her and her tiny shop, giving her advice about pricing, sending a few choice clients her way, even clueing her in on his secret recipe for lifting the musty odor of age and neglect from fragile fabrics.

He was an occasional dinner guest at the Carpenter home on Hawthorn Boulevard, evenings that delighted her housebound father. Each time he popped into her shop in his bottle green coat and polka-dot bow tie, offering advice or brimming with a juicy piece of industry gossip, her affection for their old friend grew. Despite the forty-year difference in their ages, Calvin Prescott was a true kindred spirit.

Charley pulled open the flaps on the first box. Glittering evening bags formed a top layer over a number of lidded shoeboxes. She checked for damage, but everything looked perfect, many of the shoes unworn. Knowing Calvin, he’d already pulled any item that was less than top quality and consigned it to the general sale.

That’s where all the crap she’d tripped over on her way up here was headed. The general public would never see the inside of the Blue Room, or indeed most of the rooms in Mulbridge House. Calvin always handled the big estates that way, with an invitation-only dealer sale on Thursday and Friday, an auction of selected items on Saturday, then the general sale on Sunday. Anything still unsold after all that was landfill.

Charley decided Calvin was unlikely to have hidden any dogs at the bottom, so she closed the flaps and turned to the final box. hats.

This box was crammed full, and what a variety! Charley pulled out a green velvet Robin Hood cap and smoothed the shiny black feather tucked into the band. Had Augusta Mulbridge actually worn this? Straws, silks, veils and fascinators, felt and wool—there was enough headgear here to more than replenish her barren post-holiday shelves. She tossed the green cap back in and shut the lid. Another no-brainer. Of course she wanted them all.

Every sequin, every bugle bead, every silk rose.

Customer Reviews

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The Antique House Murders 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Becky5 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Leslie Nagel has created an interesting set of characters in her cozy, The Antique House Murders. The complexity of the players in her novel is to be commended. Some of the people will stick in my memory for a long time to come, which is a great compliment, as I am an avid reader. The action was well-paced and I found myself flipping pages as rapidly as possible to discover who was truly responsible for the terror in the town. Yet, this is not a book I would whole-heartedly recommend. Language and situations made me uncomfortable. The book would have been just as good without them.
Peggy Hyndman More than 1 year ago
The Antique House Murders is the second book in Leslie Nagel’s Oakwood Mystery Series. The characters are well developed and relatable and because the author provided great background information, it can be read as a standalone. The storyline is strong and well plotted, with lots of twists and turns. Ms. Nagel’s writing style flows smoothly and she provides enough suspects, twists and turns, and red herrings to keep the reader engaged and guessing. This book is edgier than most cozies and I was disappointed by the amount of adult language and sexual innuendos and image some cozy readers will take offense. That being said, I really enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to reading more books in this series. Charlotte (Charley) Carpenter is the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions in Oakwood, Ohio. Calvin Prescott of Prescott Auction is the estate appraiser handling the Mulbridge family’s auction and general sale and when Charlie and her friend and hair stylist, Dmitri St. James, stop by to pick up her purchases at his office, they find Calvin lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Calvin is a dear family friend and Charley and her dad are devastated by his murder. Detective Marcus (Marc) Trenault, who Charley is dating, and Detective Paul Brixton are assigned to the case. Marc is adamant in asking her to stay out of the investigation explaining that he can’t do his job if he’s having to worry about her safety. Charley refuses to listen to Marc, is selective with the information she shares with him, placing their relationship in jeopardy, and needlessly placing herself in harm’s way on more than one occasion. I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Anonymous 3 days ago
good+mystery.++good+characterizations.++some+of+cliche%27s+used+do+not+make+sense.++
iiiireader More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Leslie Nagel. It is, however, the second book in the Oakwood Mystery series. While I found it easy to dive into and read as a stand-alone book, there were enough clues given in this book about the previous one that it was a bit of a spoiler. If the idea of the series is interesting to you, you might want to consider starting with the first book and reading them in order. Charley Carpenter is the owner of Old Hat, a vintage clothing store. She is also the girl friend of the town detective, Marc Trenault. She is also a very inquisitive and bold in action woman. When one of her oldest friends and mentors is found murdered, she can't rest until the murderer is brought to justice. Along with her investigations into the murder, she starts looking into a proposed land re-development of a large estate in town (into much smaller house lots) that has the citizens of the town choosing sides for and against. The action was great and there is a romantic relationship established (and perhaps a few more in the works.) The relationship between Charley and Marc seems to swing from steamy to argumentative at a drop of a hat. Turbulent is the word that comes to mind. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
It's rare for me to start a series with the second book and love it soooo much that I have to immediately go out and purchase the first in the series, but that's what just happened with The Antique House Murders (The Oakwood Mystery Series) by Leslie Nagel. I really, really enjoyed it. I like Charley Carpenter, our heroine and proprietress of Old Hat (a vintage clothing store in Oakwood, Ohio). I like her besties Frankie and Dmitri. I like her boyfriend, Detective Marcus Trenault. I like her father, Bobby, and his caretaker, Lawrence. I like just about everyone in the entire town (except for the "baddies" - lol!). Mulbridge House is about to be demolished, and the heirs are attempting to develop new homes on the property which has the neighborhood up in arms over the possibility of increased traffic. Charley's friend, Calvin Prescott, handled the auction of the house's contents, but is found murdered in his shop soon after. It's up to Charley to find the culprit, and she does so along with her gang of friends, putting herself in danger several times in order to do so. She's feisty, and I can't wait to read her first adventure (The Book Club Murders) and hopefully her next! A+ and highly recommended by this reader! :-) p.s. I did NOT guess the murderer until right before the end, which is a big bonus for me - well done, Ms. Nagel!!! :-)
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
Quite a wild pace!The lead character doesn't have a quiet moment. Rich characterization. I'm still wondering where the demolition guys went.
csrsvivr More than 1 year ago
This was my first read by this author. I loved the flow and development of the characters. While I did figure out the killer, I was second guessing myself throughout to the end. An enjoyable read! Sometimes being involved with police is not the best for your relationship or that of your friends. Charley Carpenter owns a vintage shop and a dear friend who set up auctions is murdered. Charley’s boyfriend, Detective Marcus Trenault doesn’t want Charley’s help, however he needs it.
bkworm_ran More than 1 year ago
When you own a vintage clothing store, it pays to have a friend who specializes in liquidating estates. Charley knows she owes Calvin Prescott for saving the rack of gorgeous items from the Mulbridge estate. When she goes to collect the clothing from Calvin’s warehouse, she discovers her friend dead on the floor of his office. Charley needs to figure out if his death is related to the rumor that Augusta Mulbridge left a secret will quickly or the bulldozers will raze the property and it won’t matter if there is another will or not and Calvin’s death could be for naught. Having not read the first of Nagel’s Oakwood Mystery, The Book Club Murders, I found the second installment highly entertaining. The plot moves along at a steady pace and is filled with complex story lines that all come together to a satisfying end. As you read you feel all of the character’s triumphs and frustrations, frustrations that include the handsome detective Marcus Trenault. I certainly would have loved to attend the Mulbridge House estate sale. I wish to thank the publisher’s for their generosity in providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy from NetGalley for my honest review.
BookloverUT More than 1 year ago
Charley Carpenter, proprietor of Old Hat Vintage Fashions in Oakwood, Ohio is dismayed when she finds auctioneer Calvin Prescott dead on the floor of his office. She believes his death has something to do with the demolition of Mulbridge House. Charley’s suspicions are compounded when she sees plans that show a new development in its place. Could the owners of the property want the development so bad that they killed for it? Charley is on the case, but when her boyfriend, Detective Marcus Trenault, asks her to stay away from it, will she risk her life and love to prove her worth? I loved reading this cozy mystery. It has wonderful characters, and a plot that made me yell, “Don’t do that,” especially when Charley was doing something dangerous on her own. I was on the edge of my seat, literally, hoping that there would be a happy ending. I also loved the references to Scooby Doo, my favorite cartoon character of all time. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
Sue_H More than 1 year ago
The Antique House Murders is the second book in the Oakwood Mystery series. This is a standalone with no cliffhanger, though it is open-ended for future books in the series. There is described violence, this is a murder mystery after all. The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat that all of that info here. The author did a great job of explaining and describing the characters and the town. This is a cozy mystery. There are a lot of clues in the storyline that keep you guessing what twists and turns will be revealed next. And they continue to keep coming until the end of the book. It definitely kept me riveted. I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. I look forward to reading more of Leslie Nagel's books. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and chose to leave a review for other readers.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
When I read the first book in this series, I knew it was going to be a hit. I was so excited when The Antique House Murders became available on NetGalley. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ability to voluntarily read an ARC of this book. Charly Carpenter is a fun, quirky character. Running her own vintage clothing store is one of the joys in her life. The hunky detective, Marc Trenault is another. After winning the vintage clothing that was auctioned off at the Mulbridge house, Charly is excited to expand her inventory. With an unexpected death of a family friend, Charly is devastated and is certain foul play was involved. Refusing to listen to Marc, Charly begins investigating and before long finds herself in the hot seat, literally. I really enjoyed this book. The author has a wonderful style of writing and there were times I found myself yelling at Charly and telling her who she needed to talk to. This book has all the great things I look for in a cozy mystery and I enjoyed this book as much as the first. I am looking forward to reading the next book and seeing what kind of mischief Charly gets into next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was still very detailed and suspenseful, I loved this book better thsn the first. Im excited for book three.