Hardcover; also in Paperback and ebook
ISBN #: 9780758293046
$18.63 Amazon; $7.99 Paperback
April 28, 2015
It happened at Serenity's swap meet, right after Brandy Borne and her ever-more eccentric mother Vivian finished shooting the pilot for their very own TV show, Antiques Sleuths. Brandy just, well, lost her balance and fell...into the helpful arms of an old flame, local tycoon Wesley Sinclair III. But did Brandy's innocent slip lead to the murder of Wesley's wife, Vanessa?
Sure, Vanessa was furious that she caught Brandy in Wesley's embrace. And she did storm off threatening dire consequences for her humbled husband. So when Vanessa turns ups very dead, the local tongue-wag is that Wesley may have permanently dethroned the queen of his castle. But Brandy--along with her notoriously nosy mother and their sleuthing shih tzu Sushi--is determined to dig for the whole truth.
Each new clue points in a different direction. What about this suspicious Club of Eight, a super-secret high-society bridge group that supposedly has very liberal rules about "partners"? When a key witness joins the dead list, Brandy and Vivian know they've got to crack this case before the remorseless killer puts an end to their antiquing days--forever!
On a nice summer day Brandy Borne and her mother Vivian are attending a local swap meet, wrapping up the final taping of their proposed television pilot for Antiques Sleuths. With Vivian off on a jaunt, Brandy indulges in a local treat under the shade of a tree, and is soon joined by an old boyfriend, Wesley Sinclair III. After eating, they both stand, and Brandy takes a misstep, falling into Wesley. However, it is just at this moment that Mrs. Sinclair, Vanessa, spies them and creates a scene, accusing Brandy and Wesley of having a tryst. While Wes tells her not to worry about it and he will sort it out, Brandy still feels bad that she caused trouble.
But the next day Brandy is confused when Vanessa calls her to apologize - and ask her to come over because Wes has a beer sign collection he wants to get rid of and thinks Brandy and her mother could buy them for their shop. So Brandy dutifully complies; leaves shortly after with a promise to return after checking the value online (in order to make a qualified offer), and returns with Vivian in tow - only to find Vanessa dead.
When Wes denies to the police that he wanted to sell his sign collection, it appears Brandy is the logical suspect, having been seen arguing with Vanessa. But Brandy is cleared shortly after, and the next logical suspect is Wes himself. Yet Brandy isn't sure Wes murdered his wife, and Vivian, of course, wants to find out the truth, even as Brandy has promised her boyfriend, Tony, a local cop, that she will stay out of the investigation.
But when Vivian is attacked, Brandy makes it her personal mission to find out the truth. A truth that will bring her to see that there is more than meets the eye, that Wes and Vanessa were involved in a bridge club that may not have the members playing bridge at all: that all eight members have a lot to hide and a lot to lose if the truth comes out.
Ms. Allen never disappoints, and this newest is no different. This latest entry in the Trash 'n Treasures mysteries is done very well indeed. Brandy is her usual voice of reason, and Vivian is her usual over-the-top drama queen (but I think Vivian may be getting a tad forgetful - it was Bugs Bunny, not Daffy Duck, who said "He don't know me very well, do he?") who definitely needs not a caregiver, but a keeper.
And when the answer does finally come, it comes from an unlikely source, which allows Brandy and Vivian to put the pieces together so the puzzle can be complete. Although I had my suspicions all along, the way each piece is connected to the other makes perfect sense in the end. What pleases me most is that although this is a book series, you do not have to read the previous one; it can be read as a stand-alone (although it is such fun to read that you might want to pick up any previous ones you've missed). Highly recommended.