Friday, February 27, 2015

Blood Rubies by Jane K. Cleland

Reviewed by Jeanne

Josie Prescott, owner of Prescott’s Antiques, has been asked to film a segment for a new reality TV show featuring Ana Yartsin, a local celebrity chef.  There’s a wedding theme, featuring cakes made in the shape of Faberge eggs, because Ana’s family owns a marvelous snow globe with a real Faberge egg—or what is supposed to be a Faberge egg.  That’s where Josie comes in, as she and her team will be trying to authenticate the egg.  If it is indeed what it’s supposed to be, then it could be worth millions. 

Before the show finishes filming, disaster strikes.  The groom is murdered—and the weapon is apparently the snow globe egg, now smashed to bits. Or was it? Some of the remains are definitely fake, leaving Josie to wonder if the actual egg has been stolen to sell or if someone knew it was a fake all along.  

I have enjoyed all the Josie Prescott mysteries and this one is no exception.  Cleland does a wonderful job of planting clues as well as enlightening readers about the antiques trade. There are many fascinating tidbits dropped about antiques and collectibles sure to send readers to attics and closets to check out some of their own possible treasures, but the story never bogs down with these details.  The mystery itself is well-done, and the book is nicely paced.  Although you don’t need to read these in order, I will say that there has been character growth and development along the way. 

Josie is a good, salt of the earth character while being a strong and independent business woman, which is refreshing.  She’s quick to figure a profit margin, and know what her company can and can’t do.  She’s a warm and friendly person but also one who can size people up dispassionately. She has a Significant Other in Ty, who is a trainer for Homeland Security, a knowledgeable staff ready to research everything from a vintage Chanel handbag to an antique armchair or Art Deco chess set.  She’s sensible, steady, and intelligent, not given to the hand-wringing drama in which some heroines indulge, and which I find increasingly tiresome.  That’s not to say Josie can’t make impulsive decisions; she just doesn’t manufacture crisis where none exist.  There so many little details that I appreciate in this series that don't often show up in others.  For example, when questioned by the police, Josie always checks with her lawyer even though the police chief is a friend.  It's just a sensible thing to do.

If you like a good follow the clues mystery with solid characters and dollops of interesting information, I’d highly recommend the Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series. 

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