Most people collect something, even if they think they don't. They may make a conscious choice or fall into it almost by accident, but you will know when their eyes suddenly light up and they begin to gleefully and minutely describe this or that treasure that you have discovered their passion. This nearly universal acquisitive instinct is fed by the surge in popularity of stories and shows about collecting and collectors.
When the famous furniture appraiser (who resembles neither of the irresistibly exuberant Keno brothers) fails to appear for the first day of shooting in the local Civil War museum hosting the show, Molly checks for his car in the parking lot only to find him, swollen and dead, still clutching the steering wheel. Traces of mold in the priceless Revolutionary War period desk that is the centerpiece of the show appear to have been the cause. Another appraiser is strangled after noting disdainfully that several valuable coins in the museum's collection are fakes. The shoot is in shambles, and the long lines of ticket holders clutching their treasures for evaluation must go home disappointed. The writing here was somewhat trite and cliche-filled, but it offered a good plot and a fascinating and unusual look behind the scenes of an Antiques Roadshow setting. I would love to read more mysteries set around the making of this show.
This story just didn't come together for me. Too many words spent on too many weird characters failed to compensate for the rather weak story line. Nonetheless, I appreciated the warning about the number and variety of frauds that can happen in online auctions.
When Ben knocks down a man who was threatening a woman that night, he asks Maggie for help making sure the man is not hurt. They find Harry dead, nowhere near where Ben thinks he knocked him down. Both the police and Ben think that he has killed Harry, and Ben is arrested.
When it is found that Harry died of poisoning, like a dealer at an earlier show, Harry's wife asks Maggie's help finding her husband's murderer. They have only three days before the fair is disbanded, and the dealers scattered. This solidly constructed first in a series was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery, and I look forward to reading more of Maggie's adventures.
With winter coming on, he builds himself a cozy nest on a pile of carpets by a chimney and reads the winter away, only sneaking out every few days with a filched trinket or two to sell for provisions. Fortuitously, he finds almost everything he needs in the capacious attic, from clothing he can wear, to a chalkboard and chalk, to leftover staple provisions. New boxes of treasures are lugged up from time to time by a pair of gossipy footmen, who never suspect his presence. Arthur lives safely and secretly, like a mouse in the attic, for several years, until he is old enough to enlist. This heart-lifting little story, available as an ebook only, vastly improved my mood for the rest of a gloomy day.