When former army medic Tony Dozier is accused of killing a member of the hate group that disrupted his wife's funeral, the prosecution charges premeditated murder and the defense claims temporary insanity. Former Marine Death Bogart and auctioneer Wren Morgan think there's more to the story.
They're both led to the long-abandoned Hadleigh House, where Wren begins preparing the contents for auction but ends up searching for the story behind an antique sketchbook. As Wren uncovers the century-old tale of a World War I soldier and his angel, Death finds a set of truths that will change...or end...their lives.
Series: Auction Block Mystery #3 | Publisher: Midnight Ink | Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Source: Purchased| Rating: 4 Cups
Challenges Read For: Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge (I used my one and only swap and switched out a travel mystery)
In this one, Wren is expression her concern to Death about having to walk down the same path where the dead guy was found.
“But what if they missed bits?”He half turned to peer down at her, his right eyebrow cocked up in amusement. “Missed bits? Really!”
“It could happen.”
“No, sweetheart. I promise. It couldn’t. The police are very thorough when it comes to dead guys. They always make sure to get all the bits.”
“What if they were invisible bits?”
“Like dead guy cooties?”
She glowered at him. “You say that like it isn’t a thing.”
As soon as Amazon alerted me that a new Auction Block Mystery was coming out, I pre-ordered it. Given that, not only am I addiction to these books, the ending of the second book set up this one and I knew I was going to be in for a treat so there was no way I could wait for the review copy of the audio to come in.
Okay, so the blurb has it backwards. Here’s what’s going on. When the Keystone’s are hired to sort out the auction of the Hadleigh House, Wren’s the person they assign to catalogue the possessions. She’s already wigged out because a guy was, once again, killed on the Vengeance Trail, although the really creepy part is the dead guy was wearing a Civil War Calvary uniform that he had apparently taken off a corpse. Always one up for a little investigation, Death decides to do a bit of investigating to see what he can turn up. As he’s searching for clues about one mystery, he stumbles upon a veteran’s camp where the owner seeks Death’s assistance to clear the name of a fellow brother-in-arms. As the investigations get underway, danger and secrets lurk in the shadows.
Seriously, Wren and Death best cozy mystery couple, ever! Not only are they fun and quirky, they truly love each other and in this one, we get to see their romance continue to grow. And I love how Death sits back and lets Wren quirkiness bloom. He’s also one to match her wit.
I really enjoyed the mysteries in this one. There’s three threads: proving Tony’s innocence’s and figuring out who really murdered the member of the hate group, figuring out who the dead guy was on the Vengeance Trail and why he was wearing a Civil War uniform taken from corpse, and last but not least who was the gravedigger’s angel. They all revolve around the Hadleigh House and they all compliment the story without taking anything away from the others. Some of the mysteries I figured out early on, some had some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. All of them managed to hold my attention.
As with the previous two books, there’s humor and wit but there’s also the serious issue of soldiers returning with PTSD. I love how Ross manages to touch on important matters while keeping the plot light.
So, Ross did take a risk by adding in a group of religious nutters who have formed a hate group. I was a little iffy when I read the blurb but I thought it she handled it the right way and, for this book, they made the perfect antagonists.
Another thing I loved about this one was the secondary characters that I’ve come to love and loathe are still there. They add so much depth and fun to the story, I don’t see how it would work without them.
This was my first time reading rather than listening to a book from the Auction Block Mystery series and I enjoyed it just as much. Although, I will say, the audios last longer—I had the book read in two hours because I could not put it down.
Overall, I know I’m in for a treat when I pick up one of these books and I wasn’t disappointed. While there’s weighty issues, there’s also humor and little Easter eggs hidden in the book that’s fun to pick out. And I’m always intrigued to see what items Wren will use for weapons, we could all probably learn a thing or two from her. Also, I just had to laugh when the horse that chose Death happened to be a pale one.
Auction Block Mystery Series
#3-Death and the Gravedigger's Angel