Greed, duplicity and violence disrupt the life of a Virginia antiques appraiser.
Sterling Glass is astonished when a valuable tea urn is found by her friend and love interest Peter Donaldson, an ex-minister with an eye for antiques who helps at the thrift shop in historic Leemont. Then Peter discovers a diamond brooch in a batch of items donated by the estate of a woman of modest means found dead in unusual circumstances. On a trip to Manhattan to oversee the urn’s safe passage to the high-toned Layton auction house, Sterling finds the brooch on an insurance list of property missing from a Virginia estate. A side trip to Brooklyn previously arranged in an enigmatic call from Sol Hobstein reveals a treasure trove of Art Deco figurines that have survived two wars. Sterling is soon embroiled in Sol’s problems. She witnesses an attack on his junk-shop friend by two thugs who want the figurines and goes to work for the insurance company on the list of missing items. The suspects include a phony roofer, a sitter for the elderly, the secretary for Layton’s Art deco expert, and the Layton specialist who covers the south. Peter and Leemont police chief Ed Pavich assist Sterling in tying all the clues together.
Though this debut mystery is a bit facile, Sterling is a beguiling heroine, and antiques aficionados will love the store of insider information.