Saturday, March 12, 2022

Antiques Ravin' (A Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery #13), by Barbara Allan (author), Romy Nordlinger (narrator)

Highbridge Audio, ISBN 9781684417452, April 2019

Seventy-something Vivian Borne, co-owner with her daughter Brandy of antiques store Trash 'n' Treasures, has, due to events in earlier entries in the series, been elected sheriff of Serenity County. She has actually done some useful things, such upgrading the county's emergency communications, so that police, fire, and EMS can all communicate directly with each other when need. Vivian has also, though, appointed her daughter Brandy as a very reluctant deputy to be her driver. This is necessary because, oops, Vivian's driver's license has been revoked because of her reckless driving, and she can't legally drive her spiffy new official vehicle anywhere. The third member of their little team is Sushi, their shih tzu, who, unlike most small dogs in fiction, acts like a real dog, and a fairly smart one at that.

So far, Vivian has faced no major cases, but that is about to change. The little town of Antiqua, whose only claims to fame are their many antique shops and their annual Edgar Allan Poe festival, called Poe Days, has had a string of odd burglaries, right before this year's festival. Many of the antique shops were broken into, and left in disarray, yet it appears that nothing was stolen. The theory is that the burglar was searching for this year's Poe Days prize, a valuable Poe-related antique that won't even be publicly identified until the second day of the festival. The contest for it is a kind of scavenger hunt. Vivian, Brandy, and Sushi head to the little town, rent a Pullman railroad car that's now part of a bed & breakfast, and meet with the town council.

At first there seems to be no evidence, but then more alarming and spooky things start to happen. Brandy has the opportunity to overhear some potentially useful local gossip. A young woman woman who worked in the coffee shop is found dead in a mausoleum in the church cemetery. (I'll pause here to note that she's found when she is because Sushi decides to check out an interesting smell and leads Brandy to her.) The town's mayor disappears, and is found, unconscious, locked in a hidden part of the church. He was hit on the head, but fortunately not badly hurt. 

There are rumors of affairs, dark secrets in the past of various town residents, and a dangerous accident involving the Pullman car the Bornes are staying in. And while Vivian and Brandy each turn up important clues, it's Sushi who finds the real culprit with her natural doggy talents.

It's fun. It's got its problems, not least the number of "let's ignore all proper procedure and common sense" things Vivian does and takes for granted that she can. But it is fun, and, sorry, I'm a sucker for a book where there's a small dog that's treated by the author as a real dog, and not a big joke and an embarrassment to its owners. Sushi is a fine little dog who really grabbed my heart.

Recommended for light reading.

I bought this book.

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