Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mystery Series I’ve Discovered Recently Part Two

The Vintage Magic Mysteries~Annette Blair

Maddie Cutler loves vintage fashion but has been designing contemporary clothing for a New York fashion house. Home for the wedding of her youngest sister in CT, she becomes involved with a murder, old neighbors, an ex-flame FBI agent, the snooty mother of the groom and a ghost. Maddie comes to the realization that her late mom had some paranormal skills that have been passed down to her and, with the help of her beloved Aunt Fiona, is ready to explore them. I’m enjoying the journey Maddie is making, back to her hometown (I don’t want to give away too much about that), with her best friend, Eve, her sweet, literary professor dad, and assorted characters, with plenty of romance thrown in for good measure.

There’s so much I like about this series; heart, humor, friendship, family and love of vintage couture among them. Of course, I like any series I’m willing to read but there’s something about this one that makes it special. Maybe it’s the supernatural overtones or the fact that Maddie is so creative and I love her personality and the characters who surround her and… Well, I hope you’ll see for yourself!

A Veiled Deception

Larceny and Lace

Death by Diamonds (just picked this up at the library today~YAY!)

Trash and Treasures Mysteries~Barbara Allan

Brandy Borne returns to her hometown after a divorce, to live with her mentally unstable mom and take some of the burden off her much older sister, Peggy Sue (yes, mom named them after songs…). She and her blind, diabetic dog, Sushi, are at loose ends and she hopes to bring her life under some control. In a murder mystery? Fat chance! Very soon, the antiques dealer who swindled her addled and theatrical mother, Vivian, and who Brandy called out very publicly, winds up dead in the middle of a country road. So begins the sleuthing of this most endearing team.

Of course there are love interests (a local cop) and characters galore (the ROMEO’s~retired old men eating out, we always find them at local restaurants, and Joe, a veteran of the first Iraq war, who hangs out in the local parkland, gathering intel). What I really like about this series is Brandy’s voice, which is really funny and self-deprecating, and Vivian. I imagine that to live with an actual Vivian would be difficult and heartbreaking, but as a character, she’s the bomb. Almost always over the top, she constantly surprises with her insights and small kindnesses. She’s a Blanche DuBois without the overblown sadness.

At the end of every chapter is an antiques and collectibles tip and in every book (I’ve read two so far) Vivian gets her own chapter, which is interesting because you get to see a different view of Brandy. And Vivian, too, when you think about it. In these books, the mystery is almost secondary to the development of the characters, which to me is fine. Just be aware that there’s more story than mystery here.

Barbara Allan is actually Max Allan Collins and his wife, Barbara Collins.

Antiques Roadkill

Antiques Maul

Antiques Flee Market

Antiques Bizarre

Do What You Love!

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