Friday, January 9, 2015

Death and the Redheaded Woman (An Auction Block Mystery)

Author:  Loretta Ross
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars
 
When auctioneer Wren Morgan  begins cataloging the contents of the Campbell mansion, she’s unprepared to find something that can’t be appraised—a dead man. After the body turns out to be a criminal with ties to a recent jewel heist, Wren comes face-to-face with Death Bogart. A private eye and part-time bounty hunter, Death is searching for the stolen jewels needed to convict a murderer.
 
Death finds a friend and willing ally in Wren, but they aren’t the only ones searching for treasure. Two ruthless men are also on the hunt, and they will do anything to eliminate the competition. To survive, Death and Wren must solve two mysteries spanning a century and a half and outwit a pair of cold-blooded killers.
 
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Wren Morgan works for the Keystone brothers as an auctioneer.  When the Campbell house needs to be gone through and catalogued, she steps into the house and finds a dead man, who turns out to be a thief looking for jewels from a heist a few years ago.  While at the police station, she runs into a newly licensed bounty hunter, Death Bogart (pronounced "Deeth"), who hears the description and knows who the dead man was.

But there are also rumored to be other jewels missing; those dating back to the Civil War, when the tenant of the house hid them so that the soldiers wouldn't get them, and no one has been able to find them since.  As it turns out, the dead man wasn't the only one searching.  Declan Fairchild, nephew of Ava Fairchild, who willed the house to the historical society, escaped from prison and is also looking for the jewels from the heist, which he hid there - and will do whatever it takes to get them, even murder.

Death is an interesting character in that he's broken in body; he was injured in Afghanistan and is still physically weak at times, but his mind is sharp and he's intelligent, able to think quickly and find a solution to a problem when he knows he can't depend on his physical strength to get him through.  Wren for her part is resourceful, not exactly fearless but not afraid to do what's necessary to achieve her means, either.  Watching these two discover each other and work together makes for a satisfying read.  Even those these two carry most of the book, the secondary characters of the Keystone brothers are amusing to watch.  They look upon Wren as one of their own, while trying to push her and Death together, and not being subtle about it.  In fact, even the police chief isn't subtle about it.

The mystery was involved and moved along at a quick pace, which made it a pleasure to read.  Rarely do I read a book in one sitting, but this one I did.  While I won't say it kept me riveted, I put it down for an hour or so and found myself wanting to finish it, which is praise enough.  This appears to be the beginning of a new series and I look forward to the next book.  Highly recommended. 
 

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