An antiques appraiser hired by an insurance company finds the job taking her down some decidedly unexpected paths.
Sterling Glass arrives at Wynderly, a magnificent house in rural Virginia, to value items stolen and destroyed in a robbery. The house, which has been run as a museum, is closed while board members wrangle over its fate. Sterling’s curiosity is aroused when she realizes that among the valuable antiques are numerous reproductions being passed off as the real thing. A trip to the huge attic uncovers some hidden rooms and the diaries of Mazie Wyndfield, the Louisiana girl who married handsome, dashing Hoyt Wyndfield and traveled the world with him collecting antiques. Mazie’s diaries reveal her deep love and loyalty to Hoyt, even when she discovers that he’s selling off multiple reproductions of genuine antiques at a steep profit. Sterling’s detective instincts keep her on Mazie’s trail even though this isn’t the job she was hired to do. She learns a great deal from conversations with an elderly friend of Mazie, an uneducated curator who loves the house, and a wealthy woman who may rescue Wynderly. The sins of the past turn out to be linked to more than one present-day illegal plan.
Sterling’s second (Stealing with Style, 2005) is more puzzle than mystery, a leisurely, genteel story packed with information sure to please antiques lovers.