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DEATH OF A RUG LORD:


A Den of Antiquity Mystery
By Tamar Myers

Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2008 ($6.99)
ISBN-10: 0060846593
ISBN-13: 978-0-06084659-6

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Abigail Timberlake Washburn, petite antiques dealer in Charleston, South Carolina, is miffed when her customers desert her to buy their rugs from a new store offering rock-bottom prices. She trots right down to Pasha’s Palace to size up her competition, and is surprised to find some very valuable Persian carpets among the cheapies. She is even more surprised when the manager, Gwendolyn Spears, offers one of the most valuable to her as a wedding present for Abby’s brother. No fool she, Abby protests, but ends up taking it with her. The next day, when Gwen’s body turns up in the bay, wrapped in yet another priceless carpet, Abby pushes herself into the midst of the investigation. She’s done so often in the past, and as in the past the police aren’t best pleased with her contributions. She attributes that to her habit of solving crimes the police couldn’t.

Abby, heroine of ten previous Den of Antiquity mysteries, is a feisty, twice-married, proud member of the S.O.B.’s, those blessed few who live south of Broad Street in Charleston’s historic district. Her husband Greg is a retired police detective, now half-owner of a shrimp boat. Her mother, Mozella Wiggins, is "frozen in a time warp since July 4, 1958," the day her husband died. She is always dressed immaculately, prides herself on her gentility and social standing, and seems to get her greatest pleasure in life out of berating and arguing with her daughter. When she gets a chance to meet visiting royalty, the Duke and Duchess of Malberry, she’s beside herself with joy, but Abby is not so impressed with the duo. Something’s fishy about them, and Abby adds that to her list of mysteries to be solved. Soon she has a long, long list to work on.

I do enjoy this series, even though the characters often indulge in over-the-top behavior and some of the names are downright silly. Detective Esmeralda Tweedledee? Princess Abigail Strugendorf of Weisbladderbaden? Okay, that one’s a fake, but still...This is perfect for when you want something light and non-taxing.

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