I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.Killer Finds on April 22, 2016
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Antique hunter Anne Hillstrom’s whirlwind shopping tour to Paris comes to a dead stop, as dead as the man sitting next to her on the plane. And to make matters worse, her identity has been stolen, leaving her to face her worst nightmare. She must sell all her precious antiques with the help of her business partner and co-blogger, CC Muller. Together, they open a pop-up antique store in the quaint suburb of Glen Ellyn Illinois. Their blog fans flock to the store looking to find that perfect treasure and so does a killer. When the Sweet Shop lady next door is found caramelized, the success of the pop-up sale turns bittersweet. Anne and CC dust off the clues, unraveling a centuries-old mystery that leads them to one conclusion. They must find the killer before the killer finds them.
Hillstrom, how can I begin to tell you about Anne Hillstrom and her best friend and fellow antique blogger, CC Muller. Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Betsy Buttersworth, no relation to the syrup but a continuously sticky problem for Anne. I seem to have become Anne’s antique hunting nemesis.
It started with the episode of the pants. Let me clarify, not just any pants, but a pair of 1960s vintage capri pants worn by a Hollywood starlet. Anne won that round. You can read about it in Murder by the Spoonful, the first book in the Antique Hunters Mystery series. Anne and I compete not just for Killer Finds but also for the love of the very tall and very British Chicago police detective Nigel Towers.
Speaking of Killer Finds, that is the latest book in the Antique Hunters Mystery series. I do play a very important role in the book, as always. What would Sherlock Holmes be without Professor Moriarty? Or, what would Nancy Drew be without Deirdre Shannon?
I have to say that in some way, Anne, CC and I are old friends. We grew up together in Chicago but life sent us on different paths. Anne and CC’s to antique hunting and solving murder mysteries and mine to garden parties and Chicago high society. I am a supporter of the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation in Oak Park and serve on boards for various museums including the Driehaus, the restored Gilded mansion in Chicago. Anne, on the other hand, would like to live in the Driehaus.
Her Chicago bungalow is filled to the rafters with what she calls precious antiques. I know better. CC Muller, a respected investigative journalist at least others respect her work, is the brains behind the Spoon Sisters blog. Together, the Spoon Sisters as they were labeled by the Chicago Tribune for supposedly solving the mystery behind the estate sale murders travel the country picking through barns, garages, flea markets and entangling themselves in trouble, putting their snooping noses where their noses shouldn’t go.
I actually commissioned them to travel to Nashville for me for music related antiques. Their trip is chronicled in Pickin’ Murder, the second book in the Antique Hunters mystery series. It didn’t end so well for me as you’ll discover.
If CC is the brain of the Spoon Sisters, Anne is the heart. Checking off a list of fan requests for childhood memorabilia, lost family heirlooms and answers to unsolved murders. Her heart is as big as her expanding waistline. To be fair, she is more Rubenesque than heavy but her love for antiques is only rivaled by her love for food. CC feeds into it by preparing delicious recipes which she shares on the Spoon Sisters blog. One recipe I found actually quite delicious was for goat-cheese stuffed chicken breasts.
I will share it with you with CC’s permission.
Goat-cheese stuffed chicken
Put olive oil in cast iron frying pan, heat until oil shimmers. Mix goat cheese with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cut a slit in four skinless chicken breasts. Stuff goat cheese mixture into pocket. Put chicken in hot pan. Sear for 10 minutes on one side. Turn over, put pat of butter in pan and then put chicken in 400 degree oven. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Place chicken on plate, pour butter mixture on top.
In the Spoon Sisters blog, you’ll also find many tips on authenticating antiques, how and where to find them and their value. Anne does have a keen eye for quality even though her methods may seem unorthodox. I once saw her lick a Van Briggle vase. To my shock, she explained the vase had been repaired. She could tell by the temperature difference between the original vase and the repair. She held it up and shined her pen flashlight showing me where the original vase was opaque and the repair was solid, light would not pass through.
Well, I have to run! Garden parties don’t run themselves. Toodooloo.
Killer Finds by Vicki Vass is the 3rd book in the Antique Hunters Mystery series, but it’s the first that I’ve read. Anne and CC return from an antique shopping spree in Paris with a lot of strange things happening, starting with the death of a man on the plane. From there, Anne’s identity is stolen and all of her cash and savings is taken, leading her to need to sell many of her precious antiques. Another murder occurs. Anne’s storage semis were broken into and her car was stolen. There is so much going on in this story, and it was difficult to follow some of it and to relate to the characters. Some of this may be because I haven’t read earlier books in the series. Overall, I liked the story. I wanted to see whodunit and I want to read earlier books in the series. It seemed to wrap up pretty quickly even though there were so many different elements to the story. I did like that I learned a lot about antiques that I didn’t know. It was fun to follow them on their hunt for orphaned artifacts. 🙂
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