Kensington, Sept 2007, $22.00, 220 pp.
Small town living in Serenity, Iowa is anything but dull for divorcee Brandy Bonne. After her marriage breaks up, she went home to live with her quirky and eccentric mother Vivian and her dog Sushi who she got custody of in the settlement. Her husband has custody of their son Jake who rightly blames her for the divorce. Both Brandy and her mother are seeing psychiatrists to get the murders that kept them on edge out of their systems and to deal with their other problems.
After solving one homicide, Brandy doesn’t want to play amateur sleuth again but her mother wouldn’t mind being in the middle of such a situation again. When her mother’s good friend gets the director’s position in the community theater that Vivian wanted, Brandy persuades her mother to open up a stall in the antiques mall. When they arrive there one day, they find the woman in charge dead and the victim’s pet bull covered in blood; it looks like the dog killed her, but Vivian is positive she was murdered by a human. Brandy is afraid mom will try to prove her theory.
The second Trash ‘n Treasure mystery is a delightfully charming cozy that keeps readers interested in the storyline because of the protagonists, Brandy and Vivian. Their witty repartee and Brady’s attempt to keep her mother under control will have the audience laughing out loud. There aren’t any viable suspects in ANTIQUES MAUL so readers will wonder if the dog actually did the deed. Barbara Allen is a terrific storyteller who knows how to grab and keep reader interest.