Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Treacherous Trader (Antiques and Collectibles Mystery #4)

Author:  Ellery Adams/Parker Riggs
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder.

Molly Appleby is on cloud nine.  The talented reporter and senior staff writer for Collector's Weekly just got engaged to the man she loves.  When she takes time off to plan her wedding and shop for a vintage gown, the spunky writer with a growing reputation for finding corpses and solving murders vows to her family and and fiancĂ© to avoid trouble at all costs. Until the wedding photographer she visits turns up dead in his home, the victim of foul play. 

So when she’s not busy shopping for the perfect dress or sampling endless varieties of cake, Molly once again finds herself attempting to unravel a mystery, and the endless string of women spurned by the playboy photographer leaves no shortage of suspects. When another corpse turns up and Molly discovers that the woman who sold her a gorgeous vintage gown might be the murderer—and that the gown itself may be linked to a decades-old crime—Molly must summon all her sleuthing skills to find the killer before her preparations for the big day become plans for her funeral. 

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Molly Appleby is in Vermont with her mother, Clara, to plan Molly's wedding.  Shortly after arriving, she has an uncomfortable encounter with a bridal shop owner named Bristol, who insults her by practically telling her outright she's too fat to fit in a wedding dress.  Molly should have cancelled her trip then and there, but being who she is, didn't, of course, and it could have saved her the nightmare that followed...

After meeting a couple of other people staying at her hotel, Violet and Lindsay, it is learned that Lindsay has discovered her father, a photographer - who left her and her mother shortly after her birth, and permanently physically injured Violet - lives there, and Lindsay has been attempting to avoid him.  But Violet wants to know if he's even curious about them, and so is Molly, with her own insatiable curiosity, so she goes to his studio under the guise of hiring him for her wedding, and finds out on her own that he is just as unpleasant as she's heard.

When Alec Portman, the father, is killed, (and we know he will be, because he is a nasty human being, and this is a mystery, after all,) Molly finds there are no dearth of suspects.  Nearly every female in town had reason to hate him, for it turns out he was a womanizer of the worst kind, not caring who he hit on.  And when he is killed, more things come to light about Mr. Portman and his activities.

I found the backstory quite intriguing.  It tells a tale of pre-war Germany and moves to the United States, bringing with it a true historical feel (and I love all things historical).  It ties in completely with what is happening to Molly in present-day Vermont, and with others in the book, and I enjoyed the trips back in time as they related to what things were going on in the story today.  Quite a bit of thought was given to the story, and it shows.

We watch Molly as she tries to plan her wedding, and how she is sidetracked at every turn with something having to do with the murder.  And when Detective Lombardi, the policeman assigned to the case, becomes fascinated with her, and her abilities to "wring information out of" people who knew Alec and may have a stake in his death, it is entirely plausible, and fun to watch.

If anything about the book bothered me - and naturally this would have - as Molly is offended by Bristol's remarks to her, I was offended by Molly's remarks about Las Vegas weddings being "the chapel of cheap weddings."  I would like to inform 'Molly' that Las Vegas is a Destination Wedding, and it is anything but cheap.  Having been married myself here, and several relatives also, it can get quite pricey, as much as anywhere else; and many, many people do it and I don't believe any of them would care for the fact it was considered they did it on the "cheap."  (Yes, some elope, but people elope in many states).

Other than that one thing, I found the book quite nicely done and a good addition to the series.  It connects several people (mostly by tenuous threads, but connections nevertheless) and everything appears to come full circle, which was very nice indeed.  Highly recommended.




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