Saturday, February 11, 2017

Death and the Gravedigger's Angel: An Auction Block Mystery

Greetings!  I hope you are enjoying your Saturday.  I just love the cover on Death and the Gravedigger's Angel.  It shows the cemetery mentioned in the book.  It is like Wren Morgan (main character in book) is looking out a bedroom window of Hadleigh House and this is what she is seeing.  

Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel by Loretta Ross is the third book in An Auction Block Mystery series.  Wren Morgan and the Bogart brothers (Randy and Death) are heading to Hadleigh House.  It is an 1800s plantation and the path leading up to the house is a local legend.  Keystone and Sons, the auction company that Wren works for, has been contracted to sell the contents of the house. Wren needs to appraise and catalogue the items in the house.   The area is a crime scene after hikers found a man dead on the Vengeance Path in a Confederate uniform.  The man had stolen a horse from Warriors Rest, the vets camp next door, and ridden down the path into an overhanging branch.  Duncan Reynolds, Chief of Police, is still trying to identify the deceased.  While at Hadleigh House, Death is approached by Kurt Robinson (runs Warriors Rest with his wife).  Kurt would like Death (a private investigator) to help Anthony Dozier who is accused of murdering August Jones, Jr.  Anthony just lost his wife, Zahra and August Jones Jr. father, Tyler was protesting (with his group) at the funeral (he is against Muslims).  After meeting Anthony, Death knows that the man could not commit murder.  Death is determined to find out what really happened and get Anthony cleared of all charges. While going through the items in the house, Wren finds a sketchbook.  It is full of beautiful sketches of a woman surrounded by soldiers.  The woman looks very familiar to Wren.  Wren knows there must be a story behind these sketches.  Join Death, Randy and Wren in Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel as they search for answers.

Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel has a complex mystery and interesting characters.  I did, though, have trouble getting into the story.  I felt like I was missing something.  While I have purchased the first two books in the series, I have not had an opportunity to read them.  With the majority of cozy mystery series, you can pick up and read any book in the series (in any order).  That is not true with An Auction Block Mystery series.  I was confused in the beginning of the book.  The author does provide some detail on the characters (their jobs, what happened to Randy, and the romance between Wren and Death).   There are many characters in this story and it can be hard to keep them straight (the vets, the auction house family, the suspects).  To me the characters lacked depth.  Without more details, they feel (just a little) superficial.  I give Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I appreciate the mystery in the novel.  It was interesting to see how the author tied things together.   A reader can, though, solve the mystery before they are halfway through the book (avid mystery readers will probably solve it earlier).  The romance is very prominent in this story.  Wren and Death are very lovey dovey (it is a little mushy actually).  It is sweet, but the romance seems to have been pushed along rather quickly.  There was one scene that I really enjoyed.  Tyler Jones comes to the door of Hadleigh Manor demanding entrance.  He keeps tossing out various Bible verses.  Wren, with a little assistance, verbally spars with the minister.  It was entertaining to read.  I need to go back and read the first novel in the series (Death and the Redheaded Woman).  I can then form a better opinion about the series as a whole.   

Do not forget that Valentine's Day is on Tuesday.  If you have not picked up treats for your loved ones, you still have time.  May all of you have an enjoyable evening.  Ransom is on tonight at 8 p.m. I will return tomorrow to review A Measure of Murder by Leslie Karst.   Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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