Deadly Appraisal Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Antiques dealer Josie Prescott thought she left trouble behind in New York City, where she weathered a price-fixing scandal in 2006's Consigned to Death, but her efforts to start afresh in New Hampshire stall when she gets mixed up in murder in Cleland's adept second cozy. After the Portsmouth Women's Guild representative, Maisy Gaylor, drops dead from potassium cyanide poisoning at a benefit gala that Josie has sponsored, Detective Rowcliff insinuates that Josie might have been the possible target. Cleland keeps the reader guessing about the true target of the poison and the possible suspects. Did Britt Epps, the chairman of the fete, have it in for Maisy, or does the theft of a $20,000 Chinese porcelain tureen mean Josie should still be worried about her nemesis from her former New York auction house? With the help of her lawyer and the intermittent cooperation of a nosy reporter, Josie finds some surprising answers. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Antiques appraiser Josie Prescott has moved to New Hampshire and opened her own business after testifying against her boss spelled the end of her last position. With the new business prospering, she partners with the Portsmouth Women's Guild on a fund-raiser. The evening is going well until guild member Maisy Gaylor is poisoned. Who would want Maisy dead? Or was Josie the intended victim? Josie investigates, bumping heads with police detective Rowcliff and wondering if her old boss, recently released from prison, is out to even the score. Then a valuable "Birds and Flowers" tureen is stolen and a fake substituted, threatening Josie's reputation in the antiques community. While the brusque detective Rowcliff is a rather stereotypical cop, Josie is a multifaceted, vulnerable character who is trying to start a new life and a new romantic relationship. The story is framed with details of the antiques business, and numerous well-developed secondary characters populate the book, the second in a series that will appeal to Sharon Fiffer fans. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book has good bones, if you will. There is a lot of potential there, but the execution of the book leaves just about everything to be desired. First and foremost, Josie whines, ALL the time. She is constantly crying, or fighting tears, or closing her eyes and breathing deep to get herself together. I think she has a mini breakdown in every chapter. She constantly bemoans her lack of friends, her unsure love life, and the grevious wrongs done to her at her last job. Enough already! I was so disgusted by this constant carrying on that I almost put down the book without finishing it.
Second - Josie re-hashes 'words of wisdom' from her late father ad nauseum. Again, in every chapter, at least once, we have to hear dear ole Pop's nuggets, even though they aren't particularly insightful. Unless the author plans to bring back Dad as a ghost, it is way past time for Josie to stop re-running her father's business advice in her head.
Third - Cleland makes a big deal out of the fact that Josie knows next to nothing about her employees, including the ones she entrusts with her entire busines. Everytime there is a crime, Josie finds reason to question whether or not her employees are the theives or the killers. Inevitably, she discovers they are innocent and then bursts into tears of happiness. Once is understandable, but multiple times in the first two books of the series is way too much. Either investigate these people and trust them, or don't. Conveniently, despite all of these people being investigated by police multiple times, Josie never learns any of the deep, dark secrets that Cleland hints the supporting characters are harboring.
As I said in the title, I really wanted to like both of the books in this series, but I just can't get past the annoying, neurotic main character. Other things can be overlooked or done better in the next book, but unless this character grows up and gets it together, I will not be reading the third installment.
Josie had been working closely with Maisy to plan the event, and Josie can't think of a quieter, nicer woman. Who could have possibly wanted her dead?
With boyfriend Ty Alvarez, the local chief of police, out of town, Josie finds herself dealing with the gruff and unfriendly Detective Rowcliff. Rowcliff seems to be treating her as a suspect until he makes a startling statement, Josie could have been the intended victim. At first it seems crazy, but then Josie learns that someone from her past in New York is out of jail. Who was supposed to drink the poison? And who is the killer?
This second mystery in the series is fun. It took me a little while to get into the story, mainly because I was reading a few pages here and there. Once I did, I got hooked. I thought I had a clue who the killer was early on, but the constant red herrings kept making me forget about them.
The characters are real, and the supporting cast is entertaining. Josie herself is often an emotional wreck. That's a change from the strong main characters I am used to who rarely show emotion. A couple times it got annoying. However, considering everything the character has been through, I find it much more realistic then the books I normally read.
The book got stronger as it went along, and by the end, I couldn't put it down. This is another enjoyable entry in a fun series.
It may have been because she is always reacting with little provocation to do so. It wasn't difficult to figure out who-done-it, which spoiled the story. I may have missed something, but since there was never any evidence of a phone tap all the meetings with Wes really didn't produce anything.
A director a charity is poisoned at a gala dinner, a Chinese export tureen is stolen, someone tries to run Josie down and Ty is on the West Coast.
Love the series for the antiques. Read this one at your leisure.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.