Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Deadly Dealer - J.B. Stanley

A Deadly Dealer
A Collectible Mystery
J.B. Stanley
Berkley Prime Crime


Molly Appleby, a reporter for “Collector’s Weekly” is in Nashville to cover the Heart of Dixie antique show. Her mother, Clara, a collector, is just there to attend the convention. They’re staying at the Opryland Hotel, a place so vast that guests are provided with a map upon check-in, and advised to keep the map with them at all times. During the preview night, they encounter Tom Barnett, a well-known collector of medical antiquities. His booth, however, is in uncharacteristic disarray, with apothecary chests sharing space with walking sticks. A bit later in the evening, they see him arguing with a powerful New York dealer.

The following morning, in search of a cup of coffee, and without her map, Molly wanders around the first floor of the hotel. Eventually, she discovers something else that wakes her up in a big hurry. Tom’s body is lying partially obscured by plants; his face submerged in the indoor stream. There are plenty of suspects, from a bitter ex-wife to the New York dealer, who claims that a blanket chest in Tom’s booth really belongs to him.

With a convention full of antiques dealers and collectors, there’s no shortage of suspects or motives. Collecting can become a compulsion for some. Molly’s job as a reporter gives her a valid reason to look into the death, and her mother’s knowledge of the people and background comes in very handy. Last seen in A FATAL APPRAISAL, they make a fine team. The author includes some historical vignettes that illustrate various aspects of the antiques, and really outdoes herself with the section at the end, detailing walking sticks concealing various instruments and weapons, complete with fascinating photos. This series is great for collectors, history buffs, and mystery fans alike.

Rating: 7 ½
August 2007ISBN# 978-0-425-21670-5 (paperback)


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