19 February 2010

Just finished reading...

Antiques Bizarre by Barbara Allen.

Thanks to LibraryThing for this free review copy of the fourth in the Trash 'n' Treasures mystery series.

Our heroines are Brandy Borne and her mother Vivian, who share a house in the small mid-western town of Serenity. They own a stall in an antiques mall, although Brandy seems to spend most of her time keeping her mother out of trouble, a practice which is made slightly more difficult than usual because Brandy is pregnant with a child she is carrying as a surrogate for her best friend and husband.

The story begins when Brandy and Vivian set out to visit reclusive Nastasya Petrova to ask her to donate her Faberge egg for a church antiques auction. Madame Petrova agrees, though the egg must first be appraised.

The auction is marred by the sudden illness of much of the audience, the death of the winning bidder and the theft of the egg. Vivian decides that she must find the killer and the thief, because the whole thing was her idea. Brandy, accustomed to her mother's amateur sleuthing, tries to rein her in and keep peace between Vivian and the police chief, with whom Brandy is involved.

The story is written very realistically from Vivian's first-person point of view. (I know it's realistic because it accurately mimics a digressive thought process very much my own, filled with parenthetical asides and associative changes of subject.)

Barbara Allan is the pseudonym for the writing team of Barbara and Max Allan Collins. (Yes, the same Max Allan Collins who wrote Road to Perdition.) This is about as different from Perdition as can be, but it's done well and is a light, enjoyable read.

The third book in this series, Antiques Flee Market, won the 2008 Romantic Times award for most humorous mystery, a definite reason to read it and the two previous entries.

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