The mysterious contents of a storage locker they’ve purchased land a ditzy mother-daughter duo in yet another murder.
Vivian Borne and her daughter—well, really her granddaughter—Brandy make a little extra cash selling antiques in the Mississippi River town of Serenity. When Vivian gets a tip from her old friend Big Jim Bob that the storage locker he’s auctioning off contains some valuable items, the pair bid on the item, win it and haul off the first load of treasure. But on their return, the locker is empty except for the body of Big Jim Bob. Vivian, who considers herself a detective, dives into the investigation, dragging along Brandy, who’s been depressed ever since her boyfriend suddenly left town, and her actual daughter Peggy Sue, who’s Brandy’s birth mother. Peggy Sue’s spirits have been equally low since her husband died, leaving her nothing but debts and forcing her to move in with Vivian and Brandy. A few treasures are found in the boxes they brought home. But it’s not until someone breaks in and attacks Peggy Sue and Brandy’s blind dog Sushi in order to search the house that they realize they must have something the killer wants. A cornet that may have belonged to Bix Beiderbecke is the only item that would seem to merit the killer’s interest. Once they learn that the owner of the storage locker was also murdered, Vivian plans a denouement out of Nero Wolfe.
Allan’s sixth (Antiques Knock-Off, 2011, etc.) combines the latest on the ongoing saga of the ladies’ lives and the obligatory antiquing tips with another amusing mystery.