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The False-Hearted Teddy: A Bear Collector's Mystery by John J. Lamb
Cover Artist: Jeff Crosby
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425216101
Date: 05 June 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Brad and Ashleigh Lyon have been settling into their new home and new lives after the events of The Mournful Teddy. They're off to a bear show in Baltimore and Brad has made his own bear, Dirty Beary, to display at the show along with Ashleigh's Confection Collection. They had barely arrived when Brad needs to step between Jennifer and Tony Swift in the midst of a domestic dispute verging into physical abuse. Later they watch a noisy confrontation between Jennifer and Donna Jordan who accuses Jennifer of stealing her bear design. When Jennifer later dies after an asthma attack that turns out to have been murder, Brad feels he has to step in since the local police seem to think Brad is the number one suspect.

Even in the wonderful world of bears, their creators, and the people who love them, people are still at heart people with the same motivations, drives, and ambitions. As a bear collector myself, I felt the same shock and anger as did Brad and Ashleigh that murder, betrayal, and greed would spill into this wonderful world. Nevertheless it did, and luckily for the bear world, Brad was there to step in. Not that the police couldn't handle it but, as with so much, it's easier to see connections from the inside than it is from the outside relying only on what you've found out by asking nervous eyewitnesses. Because we all know that things are not what they seem.

While the murder and it's motivations may be tied up with the bear community, Brad is as much an outsider as the reader. We follow along as he learns who the players in this drama are. What we don't know is how the facts fit together but we have the same ones that Brad and Ashleigh gather. There's some deep philosophical questions wrapped up in this story, not the "what is life" kind, but questions about the meaning of friendship, loyalty, trust, and honor. Actions we take every day can have an impact on the lives of others and come back to haunt us.

Once again the book ends with a profile of a teddy bear artisan. This time it's Dolores J. Austin. Check out her website.

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