A Nora Barnes and Toby Sandler Mystery #2
Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden
Terrace Books/University of Wisconsin Press, September 2020
When the body of a murdered man is found in a boat floating in Bodega Bay, married couple Nora Barnes and Toby Sandler are astonished to discover it is Charlie Halloran, Toby’s new partner in his art and antiques gallery. Charlie had been the most personable of men. Who would want to kill him? The answer, they soon discover, lies within the antique business, an auction Charlie had just attended, and his purchase of an old Russian icon—which has now disappeared.Nora is an art history teacher at Sonoma College, and with Toby’s expertise in antiques, they are called upon to help the resident deputy, Dan Ellis, with the investigation. Clues mount up. People who may have had a connection to the missing icon are contacted and investigated, but the case moves slowly without the icon. When at last the icon is found, the chase intensifies.
There’s nothing I like more than a treasure hunt, and this one is particularly interesting. I love hidden recesses in old furniture. Buried treasure is a hoot. And most intriguing is the way that in an age when used items were not discarded (and thank goodness for that or we’d be lacking in humankind’s history) but reused. Old canvases were painted over. You’d guessed that, hadn’t you?
I love reading about the processes involved in reclamation projects. Specifically, in this case I loved the chase not only of a murderer, but the solving of an even older mystery. The Body in Bodega Bay is a fine way to spend a few hours.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Five Days, Five Dead: A China Bohannon Novel