Tuesday, June 8, 2021

ARC Review: Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner

Ruby Red Herring

Tracy Gardner
Series: An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (June 8, 2021)

Description: In this Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series debut, perfect for fans of Ellery Adams and Jane K. Cleland, an antiques appraiser hunts a missing gem while probing her parents' deaths.

After her parents' deaths, Avery Ayers takes over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised, from the home office in Lilac Grove and a branch in Manhattan. Now living back at home with her younger sister Tilly and their newly moved-in, eccentric Aunt Midge and her Afghan hound, Avery's life is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings, and rare finds. But their world is rocked when Avery learns that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to her parents' demise.

The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a solitary stone in the museum's prized Xiang Dynasty bejeweled dragon medallion exhibit, which has long been missing one of its ruby eyes. Now, Avery and her colleagues--ostentatious Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott--suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Security guard Art Smith is always underfoot but is not what he appears. Another body turns up connected to the appraisal. And Avery receives mysterious notes that begin to put her life in danger.

Avery enlists possible ally Art's help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Acquisitions Liaison Francesca Giolitti? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Was the crime impersonal or perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can't find the culprit, lovely Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery's own death.

My Thoughts: Twenty-five-year-old Avery Ayres has taken over the family's Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised after her parents' death in a car accident the previous year. She is dividing her time between the family home in Lilac Grove with her younger sister Tilly and her Aunt Midge who lives with them and the shop in Manhattan. Luckily, she still has her parents' partners Sir Robert and Micah.

They are hired by the Museum of Antiquities for analyze and authenticate a ruby turned up by a mysterious collector. It is hoped that the ruby is the missing eye of the Emperor's Twins, the most prized possession of the museum, and the last artifact vetted by her parents before their death. They are cautiously optimistic that the ruby is the missing piece of the Emperor's Twins which would be quite a coup for the museum. 

But there are questions... The collector's story is a little hard to believe and his reclusiveness raises a lot of questions too. A note supposedly from her deceased father tells her to back off from the assignment which only brings the grief Avery, Tilly and Aunt Midge are still feeling back to the forefront of their minds. Tilly really wants to believe her father is still alive despite the surgeon telling them that he didn't survive his injuries. 

Their house is broken into and some documentation about the Emperor's Twins is almost the only thing missing. When a similar break-in occurs at the museum wherein their copy of the documentation also goes missing, Avery is led to Security Guard/local cop Art Smith by another anonymous note who is supposed to be an ally. Then Micah is shot and his house is searched with the documentation on the Emperor's Twins stolen.

The story was well-written. The characters were interesting. I especially liked Avery who was still dealing with anger issues and seeing a therapist after her parents' deaths. It looks like Art Smith could be a love interest in later books that are forecast for this series though Avery isn't ready for any new relationship yet. There were a number of suspects and all were realistic and nicely shady. 

Favorite Quote:
"How are you feeling?" he asked.

"Like someone in one of Tilly's Sherlock Holmes mysteries. And not one of the cool, in-the-know characters. More like the clueless neighbor who keep stumbling onto bits of information to do much about it. I'm so frustrated and angry about all of this!" She set the tea down in front of him and leaned on her elbows on the counter top.

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!