Lethal Treasure by Jane K. Cleland
Lethal Treasure is the 8th entry in Cleland’s series featuring Josie Prescott, an antiques dealer whose business is set in the fictional town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire. I chose to review this book for several reasons. First, as a devoted mystery fan, I am always on the lookout for a series I have not yet read and I love books that take me into a world I know little about, in this case the business side of antiques. While waiting for the book to arrive, I read Cleland’s first book in this series, Consigned to Death, which just whetted my appetite for another Josie Prescott predicament.
In Lethal Treasure, Josie’s interest in an abandoned storage unit whose contents are being auctioned off is the springboard for the story. Josie and her friend Henri Dubois, a decorator, both appear at the same auction and win bids on different units. Unfortunately, the next morning Henri is found bludgeoned to death in his.
There are suspects aplenty. First there is the man who has bid against Henri for the unit and goes away angry when he does not win. There are the bereaved widow Leigh Ann and her ex-husband who has come to Rocky Point with perhaps the hope of winning her back. A deal of Henri’s that has apparently gone sour may provide a suspect also and did the manager of a newly reopened restaurant that Henri and Leigh Ann redecorated have a hidden motive?
Questions as to the provenance and value of some very old hand-painted movie posters from the early days of film Henri found in his unit may provide some clues, especially to the mysterious renter of the unit. Did someone kill Henri and take some posters he had not yet removed?
When Josie’s house and car are broken into and incriminating evidence planted, Josie becomes a suspect in the eyes of the police and her interest in solving the crime becomes more urgent. Josie was also a suspect in Consigned to Death and I hope Cleland has made this only an occasional aspect of the series.
As Lethal Treasure unfolds, the reader is treated to a fascinating insight into the world of antiques. Not being someone whose interest normally lies in that world, I loved all I learned about it in the seamless way Cleland weaves it into this story. Not too little, not too much…just right.
I did not figure this one out correctly before the murderer was revealed. The reason for Henri’s death was there, but I had the wrong reason and person in mind. Love when that happens. There’s nothing worse than a mystery that is too easy to solve by the reader.
I can wholeheartedly recommend Lethal Treasure and I know I will be going back for more Josie Prescott mysteries in the near future. There’s nothing better than finding a new mystery series!
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