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Deadly Appraisal

by Jane K. Cleland

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1546127,613 (3.54)3
Antiques expert Josie Prescott's new life in New Hampshire is thriving, with a successful business and a romance with the police chief, until Maisy Gaylor drops dead at a benefit and Josie finds herself on the short list of suspects.



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Enjoyable read. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
Even though I figured it out early, it was a great read. ( )
  cougargirl1967 | Jul 24, 2014 |
I still really like this series! Josie is a wonderful character, full of integrity and pride and compassion. Boyfriend Ty is out of town dealing with the failing health of his aunt so Josie is left pretty much on her own.

Josie is hosting a Gala for the Portsmouth Women's Guild when one of the organizers is killed. Josie is either the prime suspect, or the target. She is cooperating with the police but is also investigating with some help from reporter Max.

There is a lot of interesting clues and even more interesting descriptions of various antiques. I had the murderer on my radar screen but no idea *why* the person would do such a thing.

Josie makes a new friend in her new landlady and her two toddlers. It was nice to see Josie with some female companionship.

Looking forward to the next in the series. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
Josie Prescott, antiques dealer is at a Gala and Maisie drops dead, poisoned. Was Josie the real target? Who could hate her that much. She gets really involved with sorting it all out, though always with her lawyer close at hand. A newspaper reporter helps and hinders her, and the Detective on the case is rather hostile. Lots of red herrings and a satisfying end. ( )
  pak6th | Jun 30, 2009 |
Josie Prescott owns an antiques house in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It's a nice little business where she holds tag sales and auctions. And at the onset of Deadly Appraisal, she's hosting a charity auction for the Portsmouth Women's Guild Annual Black and Gold Gala. The Gala is a huge success until Maisy Gaylor, a Guild representative, dies after drinking poisoned wine.

But wait! The mystery is not simply who killed Maisy. It is much more complex than that. There is some question about whether Maisy was the intended victim. Detective Rowcliff first wants to know if Josie killed Maisy. BUT, then he wants to know if anyone would have a reason to want JOSIE dead. Could Josie have been the intended victim? The wine glass was sitting on the table where both Josie and Maisy stood. Could the wine have been meant for Josie, not Maisy? Was Maisy collateral damage? It just so happens that Josie's former boss, who she testified against in New York City, has recently been released from jail. Could he be hunting Josie down to seek retribution?

Josie investigates antiques and their histories, she doesn't investigate crime. But, when someone tries to run her down with their car, she refuses to be a wilting flower. She'll get to the bottom of this case one way or another.

I don't have many cozy mysteries in my library, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I started Deadly Appraisal. What I found was a fun, dynamic woman in Josie Prescott. What was especially wonderful about Deadly Appraisal was that Josie Prescott didn't magically become this ace investigator after having no experience with detecting whatsoever. Instead she simply used her survival instinct to weather a bad situation. She relied on the police. She relied on her attorney. She even relied on a hired body guard. Josie experienced fear, uncertainty, loneliness.

One of the main themes to this novel is "perception." I couldn't help myself from wondering, "wouldn't I have had those same questions? come to those same conclusions?" Perception is a powerful concept, and Cleland taps the power of perception to keep the reader wondering. You might figure things out early in the book; Cleland gives you the ability to do that, but at the same time, there are all kinds of different possibilities as well that will make you start to seriously question your conclusion. You're trapped in those mis-perceptions. It's like you're in a room with a bunch of wax figures and the real thing. But the wax figures are so realistic that you can't determine which is the "real thing." Josie says it best when she narrates, "It felt as if I'd catapulted through time into the petrifying hall of mirrors of my childhood and I could no longer trust my perceptions."

The language of this books is befitting the setting of an antiques house. The beauty transcends time. It isn't new-fangled hip slang, but rather a classic use of language that teases the senses.

I loved the plot of this book and the language is divine, but what really endeared me was the character development. Josie is a wonderful character, but there is a great supporting cast as well. Zoe and her two children are funny and warm, down to Earth. Max is Josie's attorney and he has a very father-like personality. He's 100% in Josie's corner, but he's also very in tune to what is going on with the investigation, what's the right thing to do, etc. And Josie's staff. Their interactions with Josie and with each other make the antiques house an inviting place.

This is a series I will be sticking with! ( )
  jenforbus | Dec 26, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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This is for Jo-Ann
and, of course, for Joe
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So," Detective Rowcliff asked, "did you kill her?"
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Average: (3.54)
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