My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
In this Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series debut, perfect for fans of Ellery Adams and Jane K. Cleland, an antiques appraiser hunts a missing gem while probing her parents’ deaths.
After her parents’ deaths, Avery Ayers takes over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised, from the home office in Lilac Grove and a branch in Manhattan. Now living back at home with her younger sister Tilly and their newly moved-in, eccentric Aunt Midge and her Afghan hound, Avery’s life is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings, and rare finds. But their world is rocked when Avery learns that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to her parents’ demise.
The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a solitary stone in the museum’s prized Xiang Dynasty bejeweled dragon medallion exhibit, which has long been missing one of its ruby eyes. Now, Avery and her colleagues–ostentatious Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott–suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Security guard Art Smith is always underfoot but is not what he appears. Another body turns up connected to the appraisal. And Avery receives mysterious notes that begin to put her life in danger.
Avery enlists possible ally Art’s help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Acquisitions Liaison Francesca Giolitti? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Was the crime impersonal or perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can’t find the culprit, lovely Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery’s own death.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
When I read the blurb for this one I knew I wanted to read it. It sounded like a fun and exciting read with an interesting mystery. I liked the idea of following an antique appraiser and the mystery she stumbles upon. This book turned out to be exactly that. I had a great time reading this one and enjoyed the mystery as well as the antique theme of the book.
I liked how this book deviated a bit from the standard cozy mystery plot line set up. There is no dead body found at the start and the mystery isn’t a clear cut who did it mystery, although it does tie in with a dead body eventually. I liked how the mystery centered around the ruby and possibly related medallion and also how it ties in with the work of the main character and her family in a way that makes it feel natural for her to be part of it. It’s more that the mystery comes to her than that she gets involved in the mystery.
The mystery did progress a bit slowly at times and only at the end all the pieces come together. It kept my interest throughout and I also liked the more daily life scenes and work related scenes in between the mystery bits. I liked how the main character got involved in the mystery and it made sense why she kept digging into it as it related directly to her work and family. I liked seeing the mystery progress and the danger and suspenseful vibe it had at times. I also was surprised when the conclusion came to light as I always felt I missed some pieces to make sense of it, but when the reveal is there it does make sense and it’s nice to see some of the earlier hints that point in that direction.
Avery was an interesting main character to read about. I enjoyed getting a feel for her characters and the friends and family she surrounded herself with. I liked seeing her interact with her sister and her aunt and how close the three are and ofcourse the dog. There are some interesting side characters as well and a possible romance. I hope to get to know the characters more in future books, but so far I liked what I saw and how the author gave everyone their own personality.
I liked the antique appraisal theme of the book. I don’t think I’ve read a cozy mystery with this theme before and it was fun to learn a bit about how they go to spot the difference between a real and fake ruby and how the process progressed.
To summarize: I liked this book. It kept my attention and I was curious to find out what was going on. The mystery was different than the usual cozy mystery set up and I think that worked here. It was nice how the mystery was closely tied in with the main character’s job and her family, which made it feel natural how she got involved. While the mystery progressed a bit slowly, with most of the pieces only coming to light toward the end, it did keep my attention and I enjoyed the mystery. The main character was interesting enough and I liked getting a feel for her and the side characters. The antique appraisal theme was a fun theme. I look forward to more books in this series!