I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.
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The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Vermont
Crooked Lane Books (April 5, 2022)
Hardcover : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643859641
ISBN-13 : 978-1643859644
Digital ASIN : B098PXZNDF
Perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry, Tricia Esden’s series debut is sure to please.
After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother is gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.
When Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.
Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.
With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.
Protagonist Edie Brown has grown up in the family’s fine art and antiques business. Unfortunately, her mother landed in the slammer for art forgery, implicating Edie in the process for which Edie paid with probation for selling said property.
Now she is back in Northern Vermont to take over the business with a little help from uncle Tuck. When she is approached with a waterfowl decoy that may be the tip of an iceberg, Edie sees a huge possibility in scoring a collection from a hoarder’s farmhouse with hopes of securing lucrative auctioning rights.
“For me, researching folk art was like setting a beagle free in a park full of squirrels.”
Edie definitely gets in over her head as she fails to ignore warnings, including one from an ex-lover. While I had a few problems getting into Edie’s head, I appreciated several other main characters including Kala and Shane. There is a murder off-page, the craft of antiquing, and descriptions of the area and proximity to Canada.
For a debut novel and the first in the series, the author appears to have set up quite the storyline as well as several remarkable characters. Definitely a good start and an interesting introduction to the world of buying, trading, pricing, and selling of antiques. The well-plotted narrative, however, tends to sag a bit and do a repeat of motives, slowing the pace, and could have used a bit more fleshing of Edie and Shane.
An interesting start for a promising new series in the world of antiquing.
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Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs, and birds, in various orders depending on the day. She lives in northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting down old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings.
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
March 29 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
March 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 30 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, RECIPE
March 30 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 31 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
April 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 1 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
April 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 3 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW
April 3 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
April 4 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
April 4 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
April 5 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
April 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
April 6 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
April 7 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
April 8 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 9 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
April 11 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2022 V Williams