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One of the mainstays of Prescott's Antiques and Appraisals has always been the cheerful and helpful assistant, Gretchen, who turned up unexpectedly just as Josie was setting up shop in New Hampshire. Gretchen has always been so dependable that it seems odd when she doesn't show up for work one day. Surprise soon turns to alarm when a dead body is found in Gretchen's house, with Gretchen the prime suspect.

How much does Josie know about Gretchen, anyway? Enough to believe she isn't capable of murder, so Josie, with a crack team of antiques appraisers at her side, sets out to find the real killer and bring Gretchen home safely, no matter the cost.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on Apr 14, 2009
ISBN: 9781429936804
List price: $7.99
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Josie Prescott returns in the fourth Antiques Mystery by Jane Cleland, Killer Keepsakes. This time an unidentified man shows up in Josie's assistant's apartment. But Josie's assistant, Gretchen is no where to be found. As Gretchen's mysterious past begins to unfold, Josie searches diligently to find Gretchen and bring her home.As I've mentioned with the other Antiques Mysteries in this series, Josie is a wonderful character. She's so well developed that I can see us sharing tea or gauvatinis; I keep hoping she'll move out of New Hampshire and come buy the house across the street from me. One of the elements of her character that stands out especially prominent in this book is her caretaker tendencies, her motherly tendencies. And just as a mother will do anything for her child, so Josie will do for those who are near and dear to her. Unconditionally. Josie is simply one of those people who sees the good in others. She isn't oblivious to the bad, but she also doesn't harp on insignificant things. If you've earned her friendship, she'd go to the ends of the Earth for you. Don't we all know folks like that? They're usually the folks we cherish most in our circles of friends.On the flip side, Cleland can create an antagonist to make your skin crawl. Vince does just that. He's not an extraordinary villain; he's the bad guy we see too often in too many lives. And that is precisely what makes Cleland's characters come alive for me, the fact that I am able to visualize them in my own life. None of them have super powers - they can't stop speeding bullets with their over-developed pectorals - instead they possess characteristics like you and I. They could be devoted or obsessive or self-conscious or intelligent. Those characteristics make them palpable; they make them real. Cleland's characters are realistic in another element as well. They help solve the mysteries using the talents God and education gave them, not amazing talents they magically develop in 15 chapters. Josie and team do not outsmart the police. Instead they work in tandem with the police AND the journalists. Everyone does what they do best. How refreshing not to have an incompetent, idiot police force!But character isn't the only element of this novel that shines. The plot is outstanding. Every time I would think I had outsmarted Cleland and knew how the conclusion would play out, Josie would discover something that nipped my idea right in the bud. The nipping usually ended up happening on the very next page even. And when those discoveries were taking place, they were adding layers to the mystery, complexity to the plot. When some books attempt to do this the result is overbearing. The reader thinks, "good lord, what more can this poor character have to endure." But Killer Keepsakes builds complexity that pulls the reader further into the plot and the lives of the characters.As I've come to expect from Cleland, the writing in Killer Keepsakes breathes life into the plot, the setting, the characters. Sometimes it even steals color right out of a character's cheeks: "She looked petrified, as if she were losing ground in a race against the devil." And Cleland doesn't need to be verbose, in a simple sentence like "I was in-my-bones upset" the message comes across loud and clear.For a couple of days I stepped into Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and wrapped myself in the mystery of Gretchen's disappearance. It was time very well spent with friends I adore. Again, I begrudgingly waved good-bye as the wind chimes on Prescott's door bid me a fond farewell, and I found myself hoping it wouldn't be my final visit.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is the book in this series I have been waiting for. Finally we find out the background and the reason for the secretive life that Gretchen seems to lead.

When Gretchen doesn't show up after a vacation Josie can't stand it so she goes to Gretchen's apartment to see if something is wrong. Something is wrong all right, there is a dead man in the apartment and there is no sign of Gretchen.

Woven around a couple of interesting stories about antiques this is mostly a story about women on the run, and why.

I found it fascinating in certain respects and horrifying in others.

Can't wait to read the next in the series.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Good fun. A Chinese Vase is the antique in this book n the series. Josie's mysterious but excellent worker disappears after going on vacation. When Josie visits her apartment she finds a dead man in the living room. Turns out Gretchen has been on the run. Josie keeps finding clues to pass on to the Detective and of course Wes is always calling and asking for info, and giving some too. Everything is sorted out in the end.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Josie Prescott returns in the fourth Antiques Mystery by Jane Cleland, Killer Keepsakes. This time an unidentified man shows up in Josie's assistant's apartment. But Josie's assistant, Gretchen is no where to be found. As Gretchen's mysterious past begins to unfold, Josie searches diligently to find Gretchen and bring her home.As I've mentioned with the other Antiques Mysteries in this series, Josie is a wonderful character. She's so well developed that I can see us sharing tea or gauvatinis; I keep hoping she'll move out of New Hampshire and come buy the house across the street from me. One of the elements of her character that stands out especially prominent in this book is her caretaker tendencies, her motherly tendencies. And just as a mother will do anything for her child, so Josie will do for those who are near and dear to her. Unconditionally. Josie is simply one of those people who sees the good in others. She isn't oblivious to the bad, but she also doesn't harp on insignificant things. If you've earned her friendship, she'd go to the ends of the Earth for you. Don't we all know folks like that? They're usually the folks we cherish most in our circles of friends.On the flip side, Cleland can create an antagonist to make your skin crawl. Vince does just that. He's not an extraordinary villain; he's the bad guy we see too often in too many lives. And that is precisely what makes Cleland's characters come alive for me, the fact that I am able to visualize them in my own life. None of them have super powers - they can't stop speeding bullets with their over-developed pectorals - instead they possess characteristics like you and I. They could be devoted or obsessive or self-conscious or intelligent. Those characteristics make them palpable; they make them real. Cleland's characters are realistic in another element as well. They help solve the mysteries using the talents God and education gave them, not amazing talents they magically develop in 15 chapters. Josie and team do not outsmart the police. Instead they work in tandem with the police AND the journalists. Everyone does what they do best. How refreshing not to have an incompetent, idiot police force!But character isn't the only element of this novel that shines. The plot is outstanding. Every time I would think I had outsmarted Cleland and knew how the conclusion would play out, Josie would discover something that nipped my idea right in the bud. The nipping usually ended up happening on the very next page even. And when those discoveries were taking place, they were adding layers to the mystery, complexity to the plot. When some books attempt to do this the result is overbearing. The reader thinks, "good lord, what more can this poor character have to endure." But Killer Keepsakes builds complexity that pulls the reader further into the plot and the lives of the characters.As I've come to expect from Cleland, the writing in Killer Keepsakes breathes life into the plot, the setting, the characters. Sometimes it even steals color right out of a character's cheeks: "She looked petrified, as if she were losing ground in a race against the devil." And Cleland doesn't need to be verbose, in a simple sentence like "I was in-my-bones upset" the message comes across loud and clear.For a couple of days I stepped into Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and wrapped myself in the mystery of Gretchen's disappearance. It was time very well spent with friends I adore. Again, I begrudgingly waved good-bye as the wind chimes on Prescott's door bid me a fond farewell, and I found myself hoping it wouldn't be my final visit.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is the book in this series I have been waiting for. Finally we find out the background and the reason for the secretive life that Gretchen seems to lead.

When Gretchen doesn't show up after a vacation Josie can't stand it so she goes to Gretchen's apartment to see if something is wrong. Something is wrong all right, there is a dead man in the apartment and there is no sign of Gretchen.

Woven around a couple of interesting stories about antiques this is mostly a story about women on the run, and why.

I found it fascinating in certain respects and horrifying in others.

Can't wait to read the next in the series.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Good fun. A Chinese Vase is the antique in this book n the series. Josie's mysterious but excellent worker disappears after going on vacation. When Josie visits her apartment she finds a dead man in the living room. Turns out Gretchen has been on the run. Josie keeps finding clues to pass on to the Detective and of course Wes is always calling and asking for info, and giving some too. Everything is sorted out in the end.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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