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The Majolica Murders by Deborah Morgan

The Majolica Murders (2006)

by Deborah Morgan

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Ex-FBI agent, Jeff Talbot, is now an antiques picker in Seattle. His friend, Lanny, also a picker, was Jeff's informant in his FBI days. Lanny has been arrested and charged with the murder of an antiques dealer. This was my first by Morgan. Despite a weak plot, poorly developed characters, and being far-fetched, I got a few hours of mild entertainment following the twists. ( )
  VivienneR | Sep 14, 2015 |
Antique picker and former FBI agent Jeff Talbot is looking for a special piece of antique majolica (pottery) to give to his wife. When he asks Lanny, also a picker, to help locate it, Jeff can’t know it will lead them both down a very dangerous path or what surprises it will bring for both of them. On October 11, as he celebrates his 40th birthday in his four-story mansion with some close friends, Jeff gets a call from Seattle police that Lanny is in jail. He’s been arrested for the murder of the owner of Garden Gate Antiques, Fiona Brock, with whom he had argued earlier in the day.

Jeff has a particular fondness for Lanny, who was his informant during the years he was with the FBI; plus Lanny once saved the life of Jeff’s wife Sheila. The grandson of a Seattle lumber baron, Jeff has enough clout to get Lanny released from jail after his arraignment. He is certain Lanny couldn’t have murdered Fiona, but Lanny is pretty secretive – until the arraignment, Jeff didn’t know his real name was John Smith-- and Jeff isn’t sure the younger man is being totally forthcoming with the police or him. Using his knowledge of the world of antiques and bits and pieces of information Lanny gives him, Jeff does a little snooping of his own.

The story proceeds from October 11 to Halloween, the night Jeff is shot by the father of a trick-or-treater. That’s not revealing a secret readers don’t already know, as The Majolica Murder’s first chapter tells the tale of the shooting. The story then rewinds to October 11 to tell relate the events leading up to the shooting.

Secrets abound in The Majolica Murders … and what at first seemed like a simple plot got very complex as it moved along. Although I thought the characters were very interesting and the plot outstanding, I found the resolution somewhat unsatisfying and the motive a bit thin and tough to believe. Still, I would not hesitate picking up one of the four earlier books in the series for an afternoon’s diversion.

By Diana. First published in Mystery News, June-July 2006 edition. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jul 24, 2006 |
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Ex-FBI agent and antiques picker Jeff Talbot asks Lanny, a fellow picker, to scout out some antique majolica as a present for his wife, Sheila (an agorapobic). Lanny is a bit of a loner, but Jeff has always liked him. So it comes as a total shock when the young man is arrested for murdering an antiques dealer. Jeff learns that Lanny quarreled with the dealer after she sold two pieces of majolica she was supposed to hold for him. As Jeff investigates Lanny's claims of innocence, he learns the majolica has a long history with Lanny, one that somebody is determined to keep quiet.
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Jeff learns that Lanny quarreled with the dealer after she sold two pieces of majolica she was supposed to hold for him uncharacteristic of the kind, caring, and trustworthy man that Jeff knows. As Jeff investigates Lanny's claims of innocence, he learns the majolica has a long history; one that somebody is determined to keep quiet.… (more)

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