Friday, January 22, 2010

Antiques Roadkill by Barbara Allan


I was surprised.  This was a pretty good story.

I had expected a humorous book with little story.  In fact, the story kept me guessing.  It had several murders, one of them a really chilling murder set up carefully in the scenes which led up to it.

It all begins when Brandy Borne returns home to her mother Vivian after Brandy's divorce.  Both Brandy and Vivian struggle with mental illness. Vivian's illness is more serious if she gets off her meds. 

Someone murders a local antiques dealer who is a creep.  The man is new in town.  He has taken advantage of Vivian's illness to buy her valuable antique furniture for almost nothing.

This is one part of the story which struck me as truly real.  The  local dealer conned several old people out of their valuable antiques.

I was a minister.  In every place I served, I saw old people preyed upon by charlatans.  They were charged massive amounts for small services.  They had insurance polices whose benefits they had assigned to people who had conned them. They had antique furniture stolen.  They had their bank accounts looted by in-house helpers, and when friends tried to point out what was happening, the people being conned were often just incensed.  They trusted those who were conning them. 

I'm here to tell you that the crime of theft from the old is a real crime which happens every day.

But there is more to what this antique dealer does, and that becomes clear as Brandy and Vivian keep stirring up the pot.  They themselves are almost killed, and the whole thing ends with what is supposed to be a funny scene, though to me it seemed to be the most lame part of the book.

Among the laudatory quotes in the front of this book is one from Sara Paretsky.  She talks about how much she likes Brandy's "clothes obsession."

In other words, this book is kind of combination of chic lit (whatever that is) and cozy.

I read the book because I had read the Christmas cozy with the same characters.  My wife and I both got chuckles out of the Christmas adventure, though we didn't think it was great writing.  We decided to try another book in the same series.

I've read that characters make the novel, and for me that is often true.  Brandy and Vivian are interesting characters. 

So if you are looking for humorous reading with interesting characters in the cozy mode, you might want to try Antiques Roadkill.

1 comment:

Joe Barone said...

I'm still getting some robo-posts so I have initiated word-verification along with moderation. Sorry to make it so hard to post.

I check a couple times a day to see if there are posts from friends and fellow bloggers and I post them quickly.

Thanks for your continuing comments.