Ornaments of Death

Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries, #10

A great plot from start to finish! Loved how the antique industry is illustrated and how some people are into it for the pursuit of money just as much as for the beauty or history of an item. The characters are well-defined and the story arc is well developed. Ms. Cleland takes the time to illustrate how realistic an appraisal can aid insurance or sell value while at the same time she shows how important the smallest item in the appraisal can be in terms of history and/or terms of money.

It's Christmastime and it's time for Josie Prescott's annual holiday bash. Not only that, but a recently discovered distant relative is coming to see her: Ian Bennington. He is traveling from England to visit her. The party is a hit as is Ian! Josie can't wait to visit in detail with him at a planned dinner. Sadly, Ian goes missing.

Unfortunately he shows up as a corpse when she next meets him. Not only that, but he's murdered. Now Josie needs to find his daughter (Becca Bennington) to tell her the bad news. It takes awhile, but Josie is able to make contact with her. The police are also busy trying to find Becca as she is a person of interest in Ian's death. But Josie believes in Becca's innocence and searches for the truth of who killed Ian and why.

Ms. Cleland's approach towards the plot is just as dedicated as the antique information she skillfully inserts into the novel. If you have not had the time to read any of her works, this novel is an excellent sample of her story line development. She meticulously provides the details of the murder, the suspects and their motivations, and uses her antique knowledge as the base that holds it all together. Ms. Cleland has many other novels in this story line, so if you love this book, give her other novels a try.

Book Blurb for Ornaments of Death

Christmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, and Prescott's Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott's annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year-Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. Both Ian and Josie are, it seems, descended from Arabella Churchill, a 17th century royal mistress. The party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family-and unexpected dread when he vanishes.

Ian doesn't keep his dinner date with Josie's good friend, Lavinia, or his lunch date with her. Surely, he would have done so-if he could. Ian has given his daughter two priceless 17th century watercolor miniature portraits, one of Arabella and one of her lover, King James II, and they've gone missing, too. Knowing that after her nasty divorce, Lavinia is facing financial ruin, Josie can't help wondering if her friend is behind the theft-and Ian's disappearance.

Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so, she learns the true meaning of Christmas-and the true meaning of family. Jane Cleland's Ornaments of Death is another masterful addition to the Josie Prescott series.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2016 4.00