It was the bright yellow cover that caught my eye – and the blurb that promised lots of high jinks and mayhem around a mother and daughter investigative team. The unusual family dynamic and promise of a funny murder mystery meant that I was keen to read this one.
BLURB: Vivian Borne – true-crime author, antiques dealer and ex-sheriff of Serenity, Iowa – is looking forward to meeting her new editor in London. Flying first class, rooms at the Savoy . . . Her long-suffering co-author, daughter Brandy, worries the trip will bankrupt them both, but the alternative – Mother travelling alone – is unthinkable. Brandy’s almost tempted to make her fiance, Tony – Serenity’s Chief of Police – call Scotland Yard and warn them Vivian’s coming. But even Brandy doesn’t predict their vacation will end in murder . . . or that she and Mother will be unceremoniously ejected from the country, with an order to leave things well alone.
Vivian and Brandy need a case to write about, and Mother doesn’t care which one. But as the intrepid sleuths – ably supported by doggy detective Sushi – investigate a promising local prospect, they’re plunged into a complex mystery that stretches right back to London . . . with no choice but to carry on.
REVIEW: I hadn’t appreciated that this was the fifteenth book in the series, when I started reading it – but as it happened, that really didn’t matter all that much. While I’m sure there are all sorts of issues within this one that I would have appreciated more, had I read the series from the start, the entertaining friction between the characters and the ongoing whodunit meant I didn’t flounder in any way.
Each chapter is written in alternate viewpoints between Vivian and Brandy, with comments aimed directly at the reader at regular intervals. It isn’t to everyone’s taste and is easy to overdo such that it becomes annoying. I think Allan has got the balance right – and I certainly enjoyed the difference between the two characters. It is a structure regularly seen in romances, but less common in other genres and worked well here, where Vivian’s larger-than-life attitude to the world contrasted nicely with Brandy’s weary attempts to keep her mother in check. Needless to say, she mostly failed…
All this could have become irritating if the bones of a good whodunit wasn’t also in place – which it was. In the end, I appreciated the denouement, how well the plot held together and why the murders were committed. While I’m not going to go right back to the start of this series and read the previous fourteen – if I encounter another one of these entertaining stories, I wouldn’t hesitate to immediately pick it up and tuck into it. Recommended for fans of quirky murder mysteries. While I obtained an arc of Antiques Carry On from Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
I have to say there’s nothing more daunting to run across a book you want to read only to find out its far into a series that can’t be read out of order. Allan is very smart to write books that can stand alone😁
I agree, Tammy! Though crashing midway into series seems to be a hobby of mine, as you know:)).
This sounds like fun, particularly for the inverted family dynamic where the daughter seems to be the adult and the mother the wayward youngster… 😀
Thank you, Maddalena:). Oh yes – that inverted dynamic was huge fun – and Allan got the balance right. If it had gone too far the other way, it could have simply been an annoying cliche…
So glad you could still enjoy this one, even though you jumped in at #15.
Thank you, Carla:)). Allan has written this series so that you shouldn’t be floundering too much if you do happen to jump in midway.
That is good to know, Thanks Sarah.
I’ve really been learning that series are best read in order but I kind of jumped in halfway with this series and didn’t have any issues either! The mystery does balance out the hijinks and this is a series I am planning on reading more of. I’m glad you liked it!
Thank you Katherine – and I completely agree with you! While I’ve no plans to go right back to the start and read them all in order – I’d happily pick up another one, too:)).