I'm always looking for a unique perspective in a mystery, and as a longtime Antique Roadshow fan, I was drawn to Jane Wheel's job as a antique "picker," somebody who finds unique "stuff" for dealers.
Jane has an avocation as a detective, working for Bruce Oh, whose wife is in trouble. A dealer has turned up dead and Claire Oh is a suspect because the dealer accused her of trying to sell him a phony chest of drawers.
Jane and her partner Tim Lowry set off to Campbell and LaSalle's, an artist's colony that also does furniture restoration, to try to exonerate Clair. When they get there, Jane discovers a body, a man face down in a pool of water, an apparent suicide or accidental death.
The trouble with the lead character is that she can't seem to focus. If I were a doctor, I'd diagnose ADHD. The chapter headings offer a clue as to what this book will be like. They're from a book entitled, OVERSTUFFED. Because she was so occupied with collecting, Jane forgot to sign a permission slip for her son and he wasn't allowed to go on a field trip. Now she feels like a bad mother and she's determined to eliminate the clutter from her life. So, every so often, even in the midst of an important clue as to what's going at Campbell and LaSalle's, Jane will be distracted by her bulging purse, her cell phone, a good-looking man, some delicacy she's having for lunch, or by her sidekick, Tim, who's always pulling practical jokes on her. The plot is extremely thin and the resolution is even thinner. The characters are stereotypical. There's a gay man, an inscrutable oriental and a nagging mother. What's really hard to believe is that this is the third in a series. St. Martin's was one of the last to reject over-the-transom submissions. If this is the best they can do, they really ought to go back to the slush pile.