Peril at Pennington Manor (An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (June 7, 2022) – Today!
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643859064
ISBN-13 : 978-1643859064
Kindle ASIN : B09FNYW6WZ
Thanks to Aunt Midge’s unlikely friendship with Nicholas Pennington, the Duke of Valle Charme, Avery Ayers and her associates at Antiques and Artifacts Appraised head off to their most glamorous assignment yet—cataloging and appraising the contents of a castle-like mansion on the Hudson River. But regal splendor becomes a backdrop to mayhem when the precious Viktor Petrova timepiece disappears—and housekeeper Suzanne Vick plummets from a parapet to her death.
Avery, her dad William, and colleagues Micah Abbott and Sir Robert Lane soon learn that Suzanne’s predecessor also met with an untimely end. Further, the housekeeper’s suspicious demise coincides with Avery’s discovery that many of the Duke’s most priceless heirlooms have been replaced by fakes.
Detective Art Smith lends his expertise, but the suspect list encompasses the Duke’s entire retinue—including his family. Could the killer be someone intimately familiar with the Pennington estate, such as caretaker couple Ira and Lynn Hoffman, the Penningtons’ chauffeur Roderick, or even one of the heirs to the Pennington fortune?
Then the duke himself is injured in an inexplicable riding accident, and the clock swiftly ticks toward a reckoning with a cold-blooded killer. A criminal mastermind is making a desperate bid for ill-gotten riches…can Avery bring the culprit to justice before her time is up?
Is Pennington Manor cursed?
Avery Ayers is about to find out.
She is surprised to learn that Aunt Midge is old friends with Nicholas Pennington, the Duke of Valle Charme. He is planning to sell his mansion on the Hudson River and Antiques and Artifacts Appraised has been awarded the assignment of cataloging and appraising a long list of antiques and valuable artwork. When the Duke attempts to show them his prize possession, a Viktor Petrova timepiece, they discover it is missing. Before they can even attempt to find it a scream rings out. Hurrying to find the source, they find the housekeeper, Suzanne Vick has fallen from the roof to her death . . . the same way the previous housekeeper died.
After Suzanne’s death, Avery determines several of the Duke’s prized heirlooms are missing and have been replaced by inferior copies. The suspects for the missing objects and the murder have to be either part of the Pennington family or their staff, but who? Avery with the assistance again from Detective Art Smith is going to do their best to find out before the thief/killer turns the tables on them.
All of the characters I loved in the first book are back and joined by Avery’s dad, William. Avery and Tillie are so happy to have their dad back but they are all still dealing with the death of their mom. For William, it is still especially hard. I loved the way the author has written these characters. William hasn’t really had a chance to mourn his wife’s passing. Tillie has some issues at school abroad and Avery truly was carrying the weight of the business on her shoulders. These characters are true to life and feel so genuine. The supporting cast is so well-crafted too.
We meet several new characters that include the Duke of Valle Charme, his family, and his staff. All developed nicely over the course of the story. Many end up on the suspect list at one time or another giving a vast number of possibilities. They all reside in the fabulous Pennington Manor when they are in the States. The Old English style mansion has its own secrets and plenty of little nooks. It also has a huge pool and circular turret staircases. Outside you will find lily ponds, a greenhouse, perfectly manicured gardens, and a large stable full of horses. A wonderful setting for a mystery or two.
Ms. Gardner has written a delightful mystery with some really nice twists and turns to create moments of misdirection. Very well-plotted, I was kept guessing right up until the very end. The reveal was very exciting with some of our favorite characters finding themselves in peril.
The author also balances out the suspenseful moments with the exact amount of humor needed. Some of it delivered by a clowder of kittens and a majestic Afghan hound named Halston.
I was happy to see that Avery was able to take part in something she had worked hard for before the story drew to a close. Tillie also has a new opportunity and that Art and Avery’s relationship is growing.
Peril at Pennington Manor is a terrific follow-up to Ruby Red Herring. I do recommend reading the books in order because reading this book first reveals something very important that would be spoiled by reading this one prior to Ruby Red Herring.
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Read my review of Ruby Red Herring here.
About the Author
As I type this I see the Kindle Edition of Ruby Red Herring is on sale for $1.99
Also by Tracy Gardner
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”