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Book Author: Jane K. Cleland

HIDDEN TREASURE by Jane K. Cleland: Book Review

Sadly, I don’t own any antiques and have almost no knowledge of them.  But a quick Google search under the general topic brought up dozens, if not more, of antique stores and galleries near me, featuring everything from silver to furniture, paintings to vintage doors.  Who knew?

Josie Prescott is the owner of Prescott’s Antiques and Auctions.  After leaving New York City a number of years earlier to move to the small town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, she now also has a television show featuring her discoveries that is starting its fifth season.

Josie and her husband have just purchased Gingerbread House from Maudie Wilson, a widow in her seventies.  Shortly after the purchase of their new home but before Josie and Ty move in, Maudie’s niece Celia comes to the gallery with a request.  She tells Josie that she and her sister Stacy, her aunt’s only relatives, had urged their aunt to move into an assisted living facility in town because they believe her memory is slipping.

As partial proof of this, Celia says that when her aunt arrived at her new apartment, she realized that an antique trunk belonging to her late husband’s family hadn’t arrived with the rest of her belongings.  Maudie can’t remember seeing it loaded onto the truck when the movers took everything out of the Gingerbread House or even the last time she saw it.

Celia and Josie search the Gingerbread House, but the trunk is not found.  The following day Stacy, Celia’s younger sister, approaches Josie with a similar concern, but a bit more forcefully, and she is equally distraught about the missing trunk and two objects it apparently contained, a box and a ceramic cat.

It seems to Josie that both women are more concerned about the missing items, which may have a substantial value, than the well-being of Maudie.   Both Celia and Stacy are in need of money, Celia because her husband has just lost his job and they are behind on their mortgage payments, and Stacy because she is creating a new line of high-quality furniture and needs funding.

Then Josie meets Maudie, and the two discuss having an appraisal of some of the valuable items she owns.  Maudie appears excited and grateful, but when Josie returns to the apartment to continue the conversation Maudie is not there.  She’s disappeared, and no one, not her nieces nor her friends, knows where she is.

Jane K. Cleland’s latest novel combines the happenings of Prescott’s Antiques and Auctions with a very clever plot including murder, assault, and theft.  The characters are realistic, and the excitement and love of antiques permeate the book and make for really enjoyable reading.

You can read more about Jane K. Cleland at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.