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Deadly Threads (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries) by Jane K. Cleland
Cover Artist: Scott Nobles
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312586560
Date: 12 April 2011 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Josie Prescott is the owner of Prescott's Antiques & Auctions. While teaching a workshop on vintage clothing, she discovers the strangled body of her friend and guest lecturer, Riley Jordan, hidden beneath a display table. Employees and workshop attendees fall under suspicion. Also a suspect is the philandering, celebrity chef husband, Bobby Jordan. Hank, the adopted, stray cat, finds an invaluable clue, a pearl rosette button; it is the key to solving the crime. An employee, Gretchen Brock, caught a glimpse of the killer's silver car; soon afterwards, numerous attempts are made on her life. Josie must find the killer before he/she succeeds in giving Gretchen a case of permanent amnesia.

Deadly Threads is an entertaining cozy in Jane K. Cleland's highly successful Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries series. Once again, Josie must become an amateur sleuth in solving a murder connected to her antique store. She reminds me of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Old-fashioned clues in the form of vintage clothing -- not modern, forensic evidence -- are used to identify the murderer. Josie is very dependent on the local police force and media for supplying her with valuable information, and vice versa. She can't solve the murder without the aid of Chief Ellis Hunter and Wes Smith, the investigative reporter for the Seacoast Star.

The killer's identity came as a great surprise; I never suspected this person. However, he/she spent at least ten minutes providing an unprovoked confession that probably won't be permissible in court. Fortunately, there is a large quantity of other evidence to convict him/her. I found the confession unrealistic as I did other elements of the story. Prescott's Antiques & Auctions is too perfect. The boss is very understanding and accommodating and all the employees love each other. I work with mostly women and there is constant whining, complaining, and backstabbing; it's a veritable war zone. At Prescott's, the birds are always singing, the coffee is always percolating, and everyone is munching on Cara's home-baked cookies. Reading Deadly Threads nearly gave me a toothache; this novel is very sappy sweet.

I like cozies that make me laugh out loud; Deadly Threads did not. The only time I snickered was when Gretchen referred to herself as a cookie ho. Furthermore, the quaint, coastal village of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, with its friendly, affluent citizens, is the typical cozy setting; it is not a unique one. Josie's finding of clues and the occasional attack on her employee, Gretchen, help propel the plot onward; however, another murder would've greatly added impetus. As it was, there were times when the overall plot became stagnant. Josie overreacting to every dilemma grew tiresome.

In all fairness, I did find Deadly Threads to be very romantic. It deals much with love -- love won and love lost. Old relationships, such as the one Josie shares with Ty Alverez, are being strengthened and new relationships, such as the one Gretchen has with Jack Stene, are blossoming. Riley Jordan, the reader learns, was a very generous, remarkable woman, which made her death even more tragic. Also, from reading this novel, I learned more about the time consuming, often arduous, task involved in appraising antiques, especially vintage clothing. I also learned some interesting tips on how to distinguish genuine pearls from their synthetic counterparts.

Deadly Threads is recommended for those readers who like their cozies sweet and charming. It is for readers who want an intelligent, but vulnerable, female heroine; they are readers who also fantasize about working in the perfect company where all the employees love each other and the boss is sympathetic, patient, and understanding. Women, like my mom, who love and collect antiques, will want to read Deadly Threads as well as its predecessors in the Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries series. Readers should be warned that it is not hilarious like other cozies such as Parnell Hall's The KenKen Killings, Laura DiSilverio's Swift Justice and Joelle Charbonneau's Skating Around the Law.

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