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by Tracy Gardner

Pub Date: June 7th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-64385-906-4
Publisher: Crooked Lane

Just as her life’s getting back to normal, a New York antiques appraiser faces a life-or-death situation.

Avery Ayers and her sister, Tilly, overcame the supposed deaths of their parents with the help of their wealthy Aunt Midge and enigmatic police detective Art Smith in Ruby Red Herring (2021). Although their mother really did die, their father is slowly recovering from his loss and his ordeal hiding out until the crime that led to her death was solved. Avery gets a job appraising a mansion full of antiques belonging to Aunt Midge’s friend Nick Pennington, duke of the little European kingdom of Valle Charme. Arriving at his Hudson River mansion, she soon learns that a valuable watch has vanished and notices tension among the assembled family members. Avery’s stress level goes up when Tilly, who’s studying voice in London, phones to say that she’s coming home. On her arrival, Tilly is extremely prickly and unwilling to talk. When Avery returns to the manor, the housekeeper, Suzanne, falls or is pushed off the roof just as Midge and Tilly arrive on the scene. Avery’s team discovers more valuable items missing and replaced by cheap imitations. Art, worried about Avery’s safety, pretends to be her assistant while working with the police in charge of the case. The family finally learns that the overwhelmed Tilly, who’s interested only in the vocal aspect of her schooling, was suspended for buying a term paper. Another murder, secret passages, unhappy staff, and Pennington sons with secrets bring Avery and Art face to face with danger as they seek answers.

Plenty of action, antiques lore, and developing romance add up to a fascinating page-turner.