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Antiques Maul (Trash 'n' Treasures Mysteries, No. 2) Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 28, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In this jumbled sequel to Antiques Roadkill (2006), Allan (the pseudonymous husband-and-wife writing team of Max Allan and Barbara Collins) burdens a simple whodunit with too much sentimental ornament. Recent divorcée Brandy Borne has her hands full with her aging, scatterbrained mother, Vivian, who has just announced her retirement from local theater. To keep Vivian busy and generate some cash, Brandy suggests they open a stall in the new antiques mall in their small Midwestern town of Serenity. Then the two women find a retired schoolteacher dead at the mall, apparently killed by her pit bull. Vivian insists the woman was murdered, but the official investigation comes up empty. Brandy and Vivian also detect a bit, but to little practical effect, eventually stumbling on the solution by chance. Brandy's rambling narration and Vivian's dotty escapades may not hold the attention of hardcore mystery fans, but antiques addicts will enjoy the trash 'n' treasures tips. (Sept.)
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Top customer reviews
I hated the incredible detail of what everyone was wearing, down to the shoes, with brand names and fashion style. Just says she's wearing a tan shirt and jeans not "I put on a BCBG tan jacket with epaulets and military buttons, Rock & Republic jeans (rolled up), and a pair of distressed brown Frye boots. To counter the armed forces look, I picked out a girly pink Betsey Johnson rhinestone-encrusted hobo bag and matching hip-slung belt." Followed by 3 pages of how only going to the salon 4 times a year and giving up the nail salon and going with fake nails will net you $200 to go shopping to buy more name brand cr*&.
Then the murder, **SPOILER ALERT** A Pitbull is introduced the day before the murder "That didn't erase the fact that pit bulls can--and do--kill people, and many towns ban them. Having a cutesy movie-star name didn't make Brad's fangs any duller, or take the kill out of killer instinct." The poor dog was scared to come out, a gentle soul, that did bark at first. They had an ancient ratty dog the protagonist Mother was wearing in a baby sling on her chest. Totally ridiculous. And a huge bias against big dogs.
I do not appreciate the stereo-typing of pitbulls as killers that should be banned from towns. They are generally gentle dogs that love their people deeply. Few are the killers that they are too often protrayed as, as that is the humans fault, not the dogs. They are a perfect example of nature versus nurture. Raised with love and guidance and not forced to fight and being raised with violence they are sweet dogs!
Then there is the going on and on and on about innane info that adds nothing to the story.
I finally gave up! I only finished half and just couldn't take it any more.
The heroine is a vain, frivolous character, which fits with the lighthearted theme of the book. She was very likeable most of the time and her quirky character added a lot of humour to the story. The secondary characters were also likeable and well drawn. The plot was a bit lightweight, but the book is a cozy mystery, so that is to be expected. However, the book was ruined for me by all of the distracting asides. They didn't bother me that much in the first book, but in "Antiques Mall", they became very distracting and annoying. They added nothing to the plot and slowed the action down considerably. Every time I got immersed in the story, an aside abruptly jolted me out of it. I had no interest in asides on how to shop in malls or how to shop for antiques, and I didn't like being torn from the main story at the end of every chapter. The story needed to be fleshed out more to be truly satisfying, but it was as if the unnecessary asides were substituted for substance.
I usually reread the books I liked, but I don't think many people could reread "Antiques Maul". If one actually enjoyed the asides at first reading, I think they would pall upon subsequent readings, once the novelty wore off. I know I found myself wondering "Where was the story?", once I finished the book. It was very disappointing when a book written by such a good writer, with such likeable characters and a potentially great plot was ruined by a literary device that detracted from the story. Humour is wonderful in a cozy mystery, but it has to fit within the framework of the story and not seem like something thrown in after-the-fact or like padding to increase the word count.