Mary Ellen Hughes, author of three other mystery series, brings Agatha Christie up to date in her Keepsake Cove series, which features Callie Reed, owner (due to murder in the preceding book, A Fatal Collection) of a shop selling highly collectible and enchanting music boxes. With A VINTAGE DEATH, Hughes makes it clear that the tourist-attraction cluster of shops forming Keepsake Cove might as well be a village: Everyone knows a little about each other, but there's a tradition of respecting privacy about "back stories." So when the merchant group invites an author of spooky novels, Lyssa Hammond, to give a reading at Halloween, the sudden menace and murder emerging within the group has no obvious source.
Callie is unwilling to let her much-liked fellow merchant Dorothy be blamed for the murder, even though the victim is Dorothy's obnoxious estranged husband. An inheritance and a pair of antique scissors from Dorothy's shop tighten the noose ... but Callie knows there must be some other explanation, and begins to poke around. She's too young to be a Miss Marple type, but her naive assumptions about the shopkeepers slide to one side as she digs for other possible motives.
Looking for a pleasant distraction from holiday to-do lists, or a charming Maryland mystery as a gift? Pick up a copy of A VINTAGE DEATH and relax in the hands of a seasoned storyteller who adds a hint of romance and just enough risk to spice up the action. It's a Midnight Ink publication, new this month.
PS: Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.