Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Do you enjoy the Antiques Road Show or like to stop in antiques stores? This week we review a new cozy with the owner of an antiques show as the sleuth and a massive outdoor antiques show with crowds of hundreds of thousands of people as the setting.
Copyright: July 2011 (Signet) 320 pgs
Series: 1st in Lucy St. Elmo Antiques Mysteries
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Main Character: Lucy St. Elmo, antiques shop owner
Setting: Modern day, Cape Cod and Brimfield Antiques Show
Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review
Lucy St. Elmo is a middle-aged woman who runs St. Elmo Fine Antiques in Cape Cod. She has been married to Hamp since college and has five grown children. Her passion is antiques and she is attending the huge Brimfield Antiques Show which brings thousands of sellers in one spot. It is a multi-day event and dealers come from everywhere. Entire "fields" opening their gates at staggered times which produces hundreds of people in line to rush in and scout a field to be the first to snatch up the great buys. It is in the intense atmosphere of thousands of people that a well known antiques person is murdered in the early morning hours of the first day of Brimfield.
Lucy knew Monty for several years. He was a bit unusual but Lucy figures that he was killed for the wad of money he always had at Brimfield to pay for a treasure on the spot. Two things happen that get Lucy involved: first she finds out the police are building the case against Monty's gentle and skittish partner "Silent Billy", and second that Monty's money was not taken. She is still going through her treasure hunting for her business but it doesn't hurt to get a lawyer for Billy and ask the network of dealers some questions.
I had a hard time getting really hooked by this character. She is okay and that didn't spark anything for me. I find antiques interesting, although I know very little about them and I really wanted to fall in love with this book. Lucy is drawn well and I could reasonably see her in my mind, she just didn't grab me. That is not to say other readers will not enjoy her. The best parts for me are when Lucy is interacting with her new daughter-in-law Monica. I really liked Monica and I am looking forward to her character being developed more in future books. This series has the potential for many eccentric characters to populate the stories, only one of them being Lucy's friend Natalie.
The mystery is dolled out in small little bits hidden among all the Brimfield Antique Show information and tips. The pacing seemed to maintain a steady pace until the last twenty pages when it raced to the conclusion. I had fingered the killer and some of the motive but that part was still enjoyable. The confrontation with the killer was tense with some harrowing moments which I always enjoy.
The massive event in the book, the Brimfield Antiques Show, is real and I found this video that gives a good introduction to the backdrop for the novel.