Looking for a cozy mainstream amateur sleuthing tale to help you entertain yourself during the long cold winter nights we have been subjected to lately? Fans of classic puzzles will adore “The Book Collector Mysteries,” written by mother/daughter team Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini, under the pen name Victoria Abbott. I have spent the last week engrossed in the universe of Jordan Bingham, vintage library researcher turned detective. I received a complimentary copy of the latest release, “The Wolfe Widow, ” from Berkeley Crime Time in exchange for my upfront opinion about the title.
This is the third volume in a solid series. At the beginning, we find Jordan looking forward to a pleasant thanksgiving ensconced in her beloved quarters enjoying the culinary masterpieces of prepared by Vera Van Alst’s housekeeper. Circumstances change in hurry, however, when Jordan’s usually selective employer agrees to meet with an enigmatic stranger who shows up without an appointment at a highly unusual hour. The next morning, Jordan is blindsided by the news that her services are no longer needed. She is unceremoniously bounced out of her lodging, and the newcomer, a woman named Daphne, quickly moves in. Devastated by the loss of her comfortable new life, our heroine returns home to her beloved uncles. Something about Daphne isn’t right, however. Can Jordan and her cohorts discern her true motives before Vera loses her most prized possessions, or worse?
I highly recommend this whole series. The books can be enjoyed totally independent of each other, but for those of you who prefer to start at the beginning, the chronology is as follows:
“The Christie Curse” (Book Collector Mystery #1)
“The Sayers Swindle” (Book Collector Mystery #2)
“The Wolfe Widow” (Book Collector Mystery #3)
To my way of thinking, this book is appropriate for those thirteen years and older. The only objectionable material I found were a smattering of mild curse words, so people who can’t tolerate that content have been warned. It’s a crime novel, but it isn’t graphic. None of the those elements marred my appreciation of the manuscript. Lovers of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Rex Stout will be thrilled to discover a fresh voice, not to mention devotees of Mary Higgins Clark and Mary Daheim. My rating for “The Wolfe Widow” is five out of five stars, and the whole collection is available in paperback and electronic format wherever fiction is sold, so go out and get them today. This reviewer can’t wait for the next installment, so I hope I am chosen to be one of the fortunate few who gets to tell you all about it. Until we meet again…