Review: Deadly Appraisal is the second winning entry in this entertaining series by Jane K. Cleland that features New Hampshire antiques dealer and amateur sleuth Josie Prescott.
Josie's antique consignment shop is starting to do well, and she is quickly becoming known throughout the community. An opportunity to showcase her expertise comes up when Maisy Gaylor of the Portsmouth Women's Guild asks Josie to sponsor a charity dinner and antique auction. Following the dinner, the rather shy Maisy is to announce the winning bidders. Before she can do so, she coughs, screams, and collapses to the floor – dead. Someone has poisoned her wine. Who would want to kill Maisy? She had no enemies. Through intense questioning of everyone at the gala by the police, the question becomes not who killed Maisy, but was Maisy the intended victim? Could the poison have been meant for Josie? This idea becomes even more credible when a few nights later Josie is injured by a hit-and-run. Even Josie begins to believe that there is someone out there trying to kill her. But why?
Though this series has a fairly typical background story (woman leaves the big city to establish herself anew in a small town, starts a new business, makes new friends, and without really trying finds herself in a new relationship), Cleland makes it seem fresh. Deadly Appraisal nicely balances Josie's personal life, her professional life, and of course a murder mystery that will have the reader guessing as to the killer's identity until the very end. There is also the requisite inclusion of facts about the antiques business, but Cleland so effortlessly incorporates them into the story that they are an interesting, integral part of the plot. Why, for example, is one antique worth so much money when another, virtually identical item, is worthless? The answer to this question may lead to murder!
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Deadly Appraisal.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Deadly Appraisal for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Consigned to Death
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), April 2006
ISBN-13: 9780312347253; ISBN-10: 0312347251
Location(s) referenced in Deadly Appraisal: New Hampshire
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Deadly Appraisal by Jane K. Cleland — A Josie Prescott Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $23.95