An auctioneer and a former Marine make a formidable pair of sleuths.
Arriving at the Campbell house to inventory the contents for an upcoming auction, auctioneer Wren Morgan finds a naked corpse. At the police station she meets Death Bogart, who pronounces his first name “Deeth,” just like the middle name of fictional detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Death’s parents and younger brother were all killed in accidents while he was serving in Afghanistan, and his wife dumped him in absentia. He returned home still suffering from serious wounds that dashed his hopes of being a cop or firefighter. Now he’s living in his car and working as a bounty hunter. Death recognizes the dead man as ex-con Flow Whitaker, a fence involved in a case he’s working. The Campbell house, willed to the Historical Society by the late Ava Fairchild, is rumored to be the hiding place of two sets of jewels. The first set went missing during the Civil War; the only clue to their whereabouts is the owner’s dying ramblings. The second set is an assortment of modern jewels Death hopes will lead to a murderer. Wren and Death strike sparks, and he helps her look for the jewels at the Campbell house, where she’s too nervous to be alone, especially after someone takes a shot at them. Their search puts both of them in danger from more than one criminal bent on finding the jewels. As their romance heats up, however, Death’s prospects improve, and they find some clues that may solve both cases.
Ross’ debut features a likable pair of sleuths, some local Missouri history and a nice little mystery. First of a planned series.