An adorable mystery debut for nonfiction anthologist Fiffer (Body, 1999) slathered in so much charm one wants to forgive her outlandish solution. Jane Wheel, a suburban Illinois advertising executive and mom recently separated from her job, her husband, and her son, borrows her neighbors’ van for a morning of yard sales, but when she returns she finds poor Sandy Balance with her throat cut. When the other neighbors assume Jane’s guilt—after all, didn’t they catch her kissing Sandy’s husband Jack a few months back in the Balances’ kitchen during a party?—she turns for solace to her gay chum Tim, a floral designer/antiques purveyor. The two return from foraging among estate sales to find handsome David Gattreaux, Tim’s sometime helper, dead. Two bodies in two days! Detective Oh, whose wife also loves flea markets and yard sales, wonders what the deaths have in common besides Jane. Architectural scavenger Richard Rose, who keeps bumping into Jane at yard sales, asks her out to another estate sale. But while Jane is hunting down Bakelite buttons and McCoy pitchers, Tim is being thrashed in an attic, and another body turns up dead right next to him. Jane will also get bumped, thumped, and beaten to estate-sale treasures before Oh’s low-key skills tie the murders together.
A delightful look at collector’s mania, with childhood friends Jane and Tim charming, semi-witty, and entertaining. If Fiffer can find her way out of a plot as easily as she can find her way to the next yard sale, she’ll have fans galore.