After their parents' deaths, Avery Ayers and her teenaged sister, Tilly, take over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised. Life in Lilac Grove is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings...and the antics of eccentric Aunt Midge. But their world is rocked when they learn that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to their parents' demise.
The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a stone in the museum's bejeweled dragon's-head medallion. One of the dragon's ruby eyes was stolen long ago--replaced with a fake. Now, Avery's colleagues--pompous Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott--suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Detective Art Smith is snooping around. Another body turns up. And Avery finds mysterious notes that, impossibly, seem to be written by her father.
Accompanied by her Afghan hound, Avery enlists Art's help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Or was the theft an inside job, perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can't find the culprit, Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery's own death.
Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner is the debut of An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series. I enjoyed this stimulating new cozy mystery. Avery Ayers and her sister, Tilly lost their parents in an auto accident a year ago. Their eccentric Aunt Midge moved in with them along with her dog, Halston. Avery began working at her parent’s business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised. Their latest assignment has the company appraising a rare ruby that could link to a dragon medallion currently on display at the museum. Before Avery can delve into the job, she receives a threatening note. This is just the beginning of strange incidents and threats. Avery has no intention of backing off the case. She is going to get answers and resolve this matter once and for all. I thought Ruby Red Herring was well-written with developed characters. The author takes the time to introduce our main characters and set the stage for the series. I like Avery, Tilly, and Aunt Midge. They are a close-knit unit. We get to spend time in their home as they go about their lives. Aunt Midge and Tilly provide humor and lightness. There is also Micah, Sir Robert, Art Smith, and Halston, Aunt Midge’s Afghan hound. I am glad the author gave us the characters backstory. The mystery was fascinating and complex. It involves lies, intrigue, threats, a large ruby, and murder. There was plenty of action that kept propelling the story forward toward the conclusion. I had a good time solving this whodunit (I love a challenging mystery). I like how everything tied together along with the satisfying conclusion. It was interesting learning about the appraisal process. It is explained in an easy-to-understand manner. I like how the author addressed Avery’s mental health issues after the death of her parents. She was grief stricken and felt their death was her fault. Avery also has anger management issues. She visits a therapist who gives her coping techniques. I could certainly understand her pain over her parents’ death and the feelings of guilt. Ruby Red Herring is an intriguing cozy mystery with a stimulating stone, terrifying threats, cryptic clues, a cherished canine, an energetic teen, an affectionate aunt, and a murdered man.
The Avid Reader
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