Friday, January 28, 2011
Barbara Allan's Trash 'n' Treasures cozy mystery series is a good bet when you're in the mood for light and flighty mystery fun. Antiques Maul, the second book in the series (it follows Antiques Roadkill), is no exception. Was an ex-math teacher turned antiques mall proprietor mauled to death by her pet pit bull, or is the truth a bit more complicated? Brandy Borne and her ex-husband, son, and mother are thrust into the mystery at hand, and are going to discover the truth whether they want to or not.
The whole affair is lighter than it sounds, with many goofy asides (especially by Brandy's mom). Preventing the series from totally tipping over into light frothiness is the fact that Brandy is still haunted by the serious mistake that cost her her marriage and sent her packing home to mother for rest and recuperation. I like that aspect of the series... who says a light cozy mystery series can't have a touch of darkness and edge?
Barbara Allan is, of course, the pseudonym of the husband and wife writing team of Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins. Knowing of Mr. Collin's razor-sharp, to-the-point, and often violent mysteries (nothing cozy about them), it's kind of fun to see him work (and quite nicely, too) in a genre known for eccentric characters and frequent silliness. Though I only occasionally read cozy mysteries, I'm sure I'll return to the world of Brandy Borne before too long and see what's up with her and her crazy family.
I purchased and enjoyed Antiques Maul on my Kindle for $4.76. The e-book edition includes a generous excerpt from the third book in the series, Antiques Flee Market.