A Wealth of Deception (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery)
by Trish Esden
About A Wealth of Deception
A Wealth of Deception (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Crooked Lane Books (April 18, 2023)
Hardcover : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 163910254X
ISBN-13 : 978-1639102549
Digital ASIN : B0B6Z76QTK
Danger, art, and a touch of romance collide in Trish Esden’s second exquisitely crafted Scandal Mountain Antiques mystery, perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry.
Some people are willing to die for their art. Others are willing to kill for it.
When Vermont antique and art dealer Edie Brown discovers an unsettlingly dark collage by the famed reclusive “outsider” artist known only as Vespa, she opens a Pandora’s Box of deception and danger.
Edie teams up with Uncle Tuck and Kala to investigate the background of the collage but only uncover secrets that are more disturbing than the artwork itself. As Edie tracks down the validity of the piece, she stumbles into an art underground where some people are willing to kill to keep their schemes a secret.
We are back at Scandal Mountain Fine Arts and Antiques. “Nestled in the foothills of Mount Mansfield . . . just south of the Canadian border” and Edie has found a very unique piece of art with a huge mystery to be solved. Is it a work by Vespa, a reclusive “outsider” artist? or has been created by someone trying to copy Vespa’s style? Edie is immediately drawn to the work and hopes to work together with her Uncle Tuck and their tech-savvy employee Kala to find answers to her questions. If it truly is a Vespa it could mean a big addition to the shop’s coffers and they really need that right now. That is if Edie isn’t killed first!
Like the first book in this series, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and pulls the reader right into the story.
The main characters in this series are so well-crafted. Edie is driven to save the family business and make the repairs necessary. She is a risk taker and like a dog with a bone to uncover the secrets of the mysterious collage. While she hopes her efforts pay off she truly wants to help some of the people enveloped in the mystery. Tuck has Edie’s back and is a calming influence. He knows when to jump in and when to back off and let Edie take the lead. Their relationship is genuine and heartwarming. We find out more about Kala in this story but there is so much more buried deeply within the girl with access to the dark web and her “friends” she reaches out to for more information. With Kala living with Tuck and Edie, they are quickly becoming family. We also have Detective Shane Payton. Edie’s “friend with benefits”. There is plenty of romantic tension between them with the possibility of a future but he was a little shady in this story.
Ms. Esden introduces several new characters that are caught up in the Vespa conundrum. Each is unique in their own way and with their own secrets. I was surprised by the depth of the scheme created. I enjoyed the way Edie, Tuck, and Kala researched and tracked down each clue. The author did a brilliant job of describing what her characters did and where they went, I felt like a little bird on their shoulders as they examined each find and plotted it out in a way that made sense. There was definitely a lot of moving parts in this story. And someone definitely didn’t want Edie nosing around their business. As the clues started to fall into place the pages on my Kindle were flying.
I also enjoyed the author’s narration of each piece of art Edie viewed. The collages, the NFT digital works, and other pieces all came alive in my mind. I also enjoyed the behind-the-scenes knowledge I gained in this small part of the art world. Like after reading The Art of the Decoy, I felt smarter after reading this book, especially about outsider artists and fantastic collages.
I must take time to applaud Ms. Esden. The young man featured in this story is intellectually disabled after being hit by a car. This person had people taking advantage of him and Edie was his champion. She was patient and soothing and gentle as she tried to gain knowledge to help him. My daughter has worked for over 15 years at a facility taking care of people just like him so I know how hard of a job that is and that it takes a special individual to hold that job. Edie had the instinct some people take years to learn and most never get it. It made me like her more than I already did.
A Wealth of Deception is a fascinatingly complex mystery with incredible characters. I am hooked! I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.
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*A Wealth of Deception will be released on Tuesday (April 18).
Do yourself a favor and preorder it now.
Also, Book 1 – The Art of the Decoy is on Sale right now for just $1.99 for Kindle and $16.99 for Hardcover.
About Trish Esden
Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs and birds, in various orders depending on the day. She lives in northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting for old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings. Trish is the author of the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series which explores the secretive and adrenaline-charged underbelly of the antique and art world.
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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.”