A Celine Caldwell Mystery by Bridgette R. Alexander
Review: Celine Caldwell is a sixteen-year-old high school junior happy to spend time with her friends while enjoying her internship as an art historian at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art where her mother, Julia, is the curator of modern art. Celine and Julia are not as close as Celine would like, as it seems Julia's work is more important to her than her role as a mother. One afternoon while on her way to the museum, Celine is confronted by a stranger advising her to tell her mother to follow his orders are he will go to the police and have Julia arrested, in Southern Gothic, the first entry in this young adult mystery series by Bridgette R. Alexander.
Her mother refuses to even discuss the matter. Celine then hears that two costly paintings by John Talley have disappeared from the museum warehouse and that her mother is under suspicion of stealing them. The paintings are over one hundred years old. Celine, who has read all of Nancy Drew's exploits, commences to investigate the situation. During her search in the archives and talking with the people that handled the paintings that were not presently on public display, Celine learns that there are actually three paintings in the set, the third being in the possession of a living relative of the painter. When she found and was able to interview the relative, she was allowed to see the third painting. It depicted a house on farm land with cows, and two black men standing in front shaking each other's hand. She also noticed that the painting was signed by Tanner and two other men. How many artists have more than just their signature on the painting? Now the search for the missing art work is leading Celine into areas that proved to be threatening. Her investigation leads back to the Civil War and later the Ku Klux Klan. The closer she gets to the truth the more danger she finds herself in.
Though clearly intended for a young adult audience, the really quite interesting mystery in Southern Gothic should appeal equally as well to adults. The characters are remarkably well-drawn, in particular Celine and her mother; their relationship seems to mirror so many in families of divorce. Equally appealing and rewarding are the friendships Celine has with her high school classmates. The story and backstory to the missing paintings makes for an intriguing and exciting read for all ages.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Southern Gothic.
Acknowledgment: Raab Associates provided a copy of Southern Gothic for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Southern Gothic: New York City
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Southern Gothic by Bridgette R. Alexander — A Celine Caldwell Mystery
Publisher: Paris 1865 Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2016
List Price: $16.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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