A very public poisoning provides a second case for antiques-appraiser and sleuth Josie Prescott (Consigned to Death, 2006).
At a fundraiser for the Portsmouth Woman’s Guild, organizer Maisy Gaylor collapses and dies after drinking wine laced with cyanide. Abrasive Detective Rowcliff eyes Josie, who’s moved from Manhattan to New Hampshire and built up a nice business in auctions, tag sales and appraisals. Josie is either the murderer or the intended victim, since her wine glass and Maisy’s were side by side. Josie’s former boss, sent to prison by her testimony, has just been released. Was the poison meant for Josie, or was Maisy concealing a deadly secret? With her police-chief boyfriend out of town, Josie turns to her lawyer for help. Then she’s forced to hire a bodyguard when she’s almost killed in a hit-and-run. Nor is the danger to her alone. A valuable tureen sold at the fundraiser and stored at her warehouse is replaced with a cheap reproduction. Is someone out to ruin her business? Josie keeps digging into Maisy’s life with help from an ambitious young reporter whose sources turn up an imminent divorce and a sizable offshore account in Maisy’s name. In order to save her life and her business, Josie continues her investigation despite the danger.
A more introspective Josie, the obligatory antiques-related tidbits and a diabolical killer.