Christmas is coming and so is murder.
New Hampshire antiques appraiser and auction-house owner Josie Prescott receives an early Christmas present when she's contacted by Englishman Ian Bennington, who says he's a long-lost cousin. Ian sold his business for a large amount of money and, after taking up genealogy, found he and Josie were distantly related through Arabella Churchill, mistress of King James II. He tells her he owns exquisite miniature portraits of these notable ancestors, which he's given to his daughter, Becca, a marine biologist specializing in clams who's working in Boston. Ian is warmly welcomed at Josie’s Christmas bash, so when he later misses a date with one of her friends and then stands up Josie herself, she's concerned and goes to the police, but there's nothing they can do. Once Ian’s body is found—he's been killed in a hit-and-run—Josie works with her friend Ellis, the Rocky Point police chief, to find out what happened. When Josie calls Becca to tell her about her father, the woman hangs up on her and vanishes. Shock follows shock as Josie and the police make several startling discoveries. Josie’s antiques expertise is a big help when it becomes clear the miniatures were a motive for murder, but who did the deed?
The 10th in Cleland’s charming and informative series (Blood Rubies, 2014, etc.) pairs plenty of antiques knowledge with a puzzling mystery.