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The Sayers Swindle by Victoria Abbott

The Sayers Swindle (2013)

by Victoria Abbott

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: A Book Collector Mystery (2)

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11310106,831 (3.77)9



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Jordan Bingham is a live-in employee of a wealthy women in Harrison Falls, New York. Her job is helping Vera Van Alst, the most hated woman in town, fill in her collection of classic mysteries. In The Sayers Swindle, Jordan is working on returning some books to the collection – books by Dorothy Sayers that were stolen from the Van Alst collection and, unknowingly sold by a local book dealer. Unfortunately, the book dealer, Karen Smith, is still recovering from a savage beating she endured in the first book of the series. Her memory is sporadic at best but she’s doing everything she can to help Jordan locate the books.

When they do locate the books, they’re in the hands of frail, elderly gentleman, Randolph Adams, who is living in a non-descript house with his wife Delilah and a younger man, Mason. It appears to Jordan and Karen that they are controlling Randolph – and they don’t allow the sale of the Sayers’ books to go through. Shortly after Jordan’s and Karen’s visit to the Adams family, there’s a murder in the neighborhood and the Adams family is gone.

Jordan will do just about anything she can to get the Sayers’ books for her employer. And, although she herself is “going straight,” she was raised by a passel of larcenous Irish uncles, who gave her a set of lock-picking tools for her 16th birthday. One of said uncles, Lucky, is smitten with Karen and Jordan is hoping that relationship flourishes. Jordan has her own thing going with “Smiley,” a local cop who is obviously keeping secrets.

This “Book Collector Mystery” is light-hearted and fun to read. Jordan is a great heroine and she is surrounded by a bevy of secondary characters, all of whom are eccentric to say the least. This cozy series is delightful. ( )
  NewsieQ | May 2, 2016 |
If in book one Jordan Bingham was trying to imitate Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, this time she's trying to imitate her fictional crush, Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey.

Jordan is still working for collector Vera Van Alst, who probably wouldn't know how to be charming if her life depended upon it. This time she has to track down the eight Sayers mysteries that were stolen from Vera's collection (see book one, The Christie Curse).

Remember Karen Smith, the nice bookseller who was attacked and left for dead? She's still having memory problems from her head injury. She'd bought and sold the Sayers books in good faith. If only she could remember the buyer. If a currently unreliable memory isn't trouble enough, Karen's new next-door neighbors are deeply unpleasant. I really hope the husband gets the book thrown at him for an almost unbelievable thing he does later.

Jordan's Uncles Mick and Lucky Kelley are still taking care of Karen's pug, Walter. They don't want to give him up when Karen will be well enough to care for him again. That could be a problem.

Eddie McRae, the mailman who has loved Vera since high school, is trying to solve his beloved's need for a gardener by taking care of her lawn. Vera is not appreciative. Is that his problem?

The Kellys have a more immediate problem and his name is Kevin Francis Kelly. Uncle Kev is a walking disaster waiting to happen -- to others. He's on the run and driving Mick and Lucky crazy. So far they haven't managed to fob him off on Uncles Bill, Connie, Danny, or Tiny.

Jordan has plenty of misadventures trying to get those books back ('helped' by Uncle Kev). Officer Dekker is back in the picture, as is handsome librarian Lance DeWitt. Jordan's best friend, nurse Tiffany 'Tiff' Tibeault, is currently working where Jordan can't keep in touch with texts. A policewoman seems interested in becoming friends, though.

I really enjoyed this book and regret that I don't know when my local library will get a copy of The Marsh Madness.


Interesting that Jordan says she collected photos of Craftsman houses while other kids collected My Little Ponies in chapter two. Her My Little Pony collection is mentioned more than once in book three, The Wolfe Widow.

Chapter two is where we find out that the World War I flying ace Billy Bishop is one of Uncle Kev 's heroes.

Chapter four: I watched 'The Addams Family' when I was a kid. If you didn't see the show's first run or somehow missed the reruns, Lurch was the Addams' butler. It's a fun show and the theme is well worth a listen. You might also want to see the books reprinting Charles Addams' magazine cartoons that led to the show.

See chapter eight for the kind of Simpsons pajamas that Tiff gave to Jordan.

Chapter 13: 'Shazam!' was a comic book wizard's name, the shouting of which transformed a boy named Billy Batson into the 1939-1953 Captain Marvel. (The wizard's name had to be used for the title of the 1972 revival comic book because Marvel Comics had had their own Captain Marvel since the late 1960s. I believe that I bought the first issue I owned of the latter in 1968.) If you enjoy superheroes, you might wish to check out reprint books of the original and revival issues. I wasn't a fan of the live-action TV series, but it did well enough.

See chapter 16 for what the Kellys consider the best of their traditional cuisine. One of the uncles is serving baloney and formerly frozen French fries earlier in the book, so consider yourself warned. I laughed at Jordan's reassurance to Vera and the Signora's reaction to one of the items on the menu.

Cat lovers: Vera's blue-point Siamese, Good Cat and Bad Cat, are in fine form. They even have a role in solving Vera's need for a new gardener/handyman.

Dog lovers: Not only has Walter the pug stolen the cover spot from the Siamese, we get introduced to a large, shaggy mutt named Cobain (called 'the spare dog' in one chapter).

The recipes in this book are 'Pollo Ai Peperoni' (Chicken With Peppers), 'Zuppa Rustica' (Rustic Italian Soup), and 'Maionesa' (Homemade Mayonnaise). ( )
  JalenV | Sep 11, 2015 |
The Sayers Swindle is the second in the Book Collector Mystery series by Victoria Abbott, and relations haven't much changed between Jordan Bingham and her employer, Vera Van Alst: the latter is still rude and demanding, the former still forbearing and resourceful. Unfortunately Vera's 11-book collection of first editions of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novels has been stolen and book seller Karen Smith has inadvertently sold them to another collector, and of course Vera wants them back, now. Karen had recently suffered serious head trauma, however, and she can't quite remember the name of the collector or where he or she might be. While Jordan tries to help Karen remember, she learns that there might be other people looking for the books, for different reasons than Vera's - reasons that might well lead to murder.... As with the first novel in this series, The Christie Curse, this entry is a quite delightful cozy, with a number of asides in which our first-person narrator muses about Sayers' work and her great sleuth, on whom Jordan has of course developed a quite understandable crush. One need not have read the first novel to enjoy this one, but certain events and relationships are much more clear if one has. Recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Jun 30, 2015 |
The Sayers Swindle is the second in the A Book Collectors Mystery series.

Vera Van Alst has had some of her Dorothy L. Sayers books go missing and has given Jordan the task of finding them and getting them back in her collection. Jordan turns to Karen, a bookseller who is recovering from a head injury for help. Slowly, Karen begins to remember selling them to a Randolph Adams. They go to see Adams and get him agree, reluctantly, to trade them for some other books. When Jordan goes back a couple days later the house is empty and Randolph is gone. When a dead body is discovered, Jordan is afraid that it might be Randolph. So now, not does she need to find the books, but wants to know what has happened to Randolph and the books.

Of course Vera is her old cantankerous self, still refusing to eat any more than she wants to of her cook, Signora Panetone, excellent cooking. And since Jordan likes to eat, Panetone goes out of her way to keep Jordan well fed.

Of course the zaney uncles are back to add a little humor. They may not be the most law abiding gentlemen, but they do look out for their niece. In this book, Uncle Kevin has taken up residence with his brother, as it seems there are other bad guys looking for him. He goes undercover for Jordan. In fact he goes so far undercover that they are having a hard time finding.

A wonderful mix of mystery and humor. Looking forward to book 3. ( )
  FredYoder | May 8, 2015 |
Jordan Bingham is trying hard to be the only member of her family who doesn't engage in criminal activities and in order to do so would like to hold onto her job working for Vera Van Alst even if Vera is not the easiest person to work for. Jordan is desperate to find Vera’s missing collection of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books but it is not going to be easy. Not only are the Wimsey books missing but several people go missing including one of Jordan's uncles. When a dead body turns up Jordan fears it may be her uncle or someone else she cares about. Can Jordan solve the mystery of these disappearances or will she be the next to disappear - permanently?

“The Sayers Swindle” is the second book in Victoria Abbott’s A Book Collector cozy mystery series - a series I like more and more with each book. Abbott has put together a great cast of characters - Jordan, her less than lawful uncles, her friend Karen, Vera, Signora, and Officer :Smiley - that make this book a delight to read. Another nice aspect is Jordan's job - which I'd love to have! - I actually learned quite a bit about Dorothy L. Sayers from reading this book and bought one of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries when I finished reading this book. There is a wonderful sly sense of humor throughout the book - not laugh out loud funny but more of a wink and a nod from the authors to the reader. As for the mystery itself – it is very well plotted with more than a few twists and turns and red herrings - the word “swindle” in the title applies more than once in the book.

“The Sayers Swindle” is a nicely done cozy mystery. ( )
1 vote drebbles | Oct 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abbott, Victoriaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maffini, Mary Janereal name of the co-authorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maffini, Victoriareal name of the authorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I WAS FALLING for an older man.
[Jordan is idly wondering which mystery author Vera might aspire to be. After comparing her to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers...]

Being housebound for so long and now set in her ways, Vera was more like Nero Wolfe, without the 'charm.' (chapter 10)
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A follow-up to The Christie Curse finds Jordan Bingham tracking down a missing set of valuable Dorothy Sayers first-edition novels and preparing to make a strategic trade with an elderly man whose entire family disappears at the same time a murdered body is discovered.… (more)

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