An antiques dealer finally lands a job that suits her unique skills.
After a long string of sleuthing successes (Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides, 2018, etc.), Vivian Borne, who runs an antiques shop in Serenity, Iowa, with her daughter, Brandy, has managed to snag the position of county sheriff. Although Vivian is a thespian whose flamboyant style is not best suited to the sheriff’s job, she’s about to tackle a difficult case with Brandy and her diabetic Shih Tzu, Sushi, at her side. Vivian’s lost her license to drive, so Brandy’s her unpaid chauffeur when she’s called to Antiqua, a town dedicated to antiques shops, where the launch of Edgar Allan Poe Days, a three-day festival that offers the public clues to the location of a valuable association item hidden in one of the many shops, has been upended by a series of break-ins. The mayor and council, all of them antiques dealers, set the sleuthing trio up in a vintage Pullman car parked behind a charming cottage. Burglary yields to murder when Sushi leads Brandy to a mausoleum where she finds Morella, a discontented waitress, dead inside a sarcophagus. The graveyard is attached to the church belonging to Pastor Creed, who minces no words about his disapproval of the Poe festival. As they investigate Morella’s murder and the break-ins, Vivian and Brandy find that their best suspects are all antiques dealers. An emerging pattern suggests that someone is using Poe’s works as a template for murder. Even though Brandy’s boyfriend, Tony Cassato, police chief of the town of Serenity, does his best to keep them on the straight and narrow, Vivian and Brandy insist on following their own path to solve cases. They know they’re on the right track when someone tries to kill them.
Plenty of plausible suspects make this one of the best in Allan’s long-running series, which is always humorous and full of tips for antiques hunters.