Antiques restorer Lina Townend (Guilt Edged, 2013, etc.) gets her knickers in a knot when she suspects that someone’s stealing an old woman’s treasures.
As Lina’s elderly partner, Griff Tripp, has healed nicely from his bypass operation, he’s decided to pay it forward by joining a church team that brings Communion to shut-ins. But blind, confused Dodie Boulton worries Griff. He’s sure that along with a lot of cheap bric-a-brac, she owned a valuable netsuke mouse that’s gone missing. Visiting a market fair, Lina finds the keepsake for sale at a booth run by Devon Cottage Antiques, whose dodgy owner, Arthur Habgood, once accused Lina of trading in stolen goods. Once she’s returned Dodie’s mouse, Lina is afraid that accusing Habgood would just seem like payback. But while vowing to keep a better eye on Dodie’s belongings, she’s drawn into a more serious case when she interrupts a burglary at St. Sidwell’s, a Preservation Trust church west of Dartmoor. The thwarted thieves take note of her distinctively marked van. Soon, not even her friendship with DS Carwyn Morgan can protect her from retaliation. Lina tries to relax with Pilates, trying even harder to make gal pals out of fellow students Laura and Honey. But as Griff worries about how to provide for Lina after his impending demise, the fallout from her investigation makes him wonder whether she’ll actually survive him.
Another solid outing for Cutler, who never lets her interest in Lina’s developing relationships cloud her eye for the puzzle.