Collecting Can Be Murder (Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries)
This cozy mystery is the first in the series and is set in France.
Coming out of retirement can be deadly…
After tragedy struck three years earlier, art sleuth Carmen De Luca vowed to never work in the field again. But fifty is too young to fill her days with water aerobics and bingo, so when her former partner calls and begs for her help, Carmen gladly agrees.
Yet after their first assignment – the recovery of a rare medieval prayer book from an eccentric collector living in rural France – goes horribly wrong, Carmen ends up in the crosshairs of both the local police and a murderer!
With her target dead and the stolen book missing, she and her partner will have to pull out all of the stops to sleuth out the true killer’s identity – before their stay in France becomes permanent.
Introducing Carmen De Luca, an art sleuth with a nose for mystery and the job of locating valuable artwork stolen from museums around the world. If you love strong and resourceful heroines, puzzling mysteries, and a dash of art history, pick up Collecting Can Be Murder now!
Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries:
Book One: Collecting Can Be Murder
Book Two: A Statue To Die For
More adventures coming soon!
These mysteries contain no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.
1 Wakey Wakey
“Carmen—wake up!” A light slap greeted my return to consciousness. All around me, voices were crying out, gasping in fear or surprise; I couldn’t tell for certain which. But their anxiety was audible.
I opened my eyes and saw a fuzzy version of the Baroness, my favorite partner in crime, hovering over me.
When she raised her hand to strike my cheek again, I caught it midswing. “I’m awake.”
“Talk to me! Who are you?” Lady Sophie Rutherford—or the Baroness, as I called her—knelt down, the hem of her aquamarine ball gown spreading out around her like a silky pool of water, and grabbed hold of my shoulders, shaking me as hard as her social status allowed.
“Carmen De Luca, art sleuth,” I mumbled as I ran my fingers over my temple, wincing when I hit broken skin. “Why is there a baseball growing out of my forehead?”
“It looks like you got hit by a whole lot of books. Those covers aren’t soft at all. Or maybe the bookshelf nicked you.”
“The bookcase!” My last memory before I lost consciousness was of a mass of books racing towards me. I sat up far too quickly, jarring my bruised skull. Several hardcovers slid off of my chest, adding tiny bruises to my list of injuries. I squeezed my eyes shut and lay back down.
“I guess it did hit me. How’s Harold?”
The Baroness’s eyes widened slightly, enough to tell me something was very wrong. “He took the brunt of it.”
My brain screamed for me to remain still, but I had to see what had happened to my target. I pushed myself up onto my elbows and followed my partner’s gaze over to the ceiling-high bookcase that had been filled with hundreds of rare first editions when I had entered. It was now lying across the room, its valuable contents strewn over the floor and furniture.
The legs of the chair that had been closest to the bookcase had been crushed by the heavy planks, as if they were toothpicks. Sticking out from under the shelving were a pair of burgundy pants and alligator-skin boots—the same ensemble our party’s flamboyant host, Harold Moreau, had been wearing this evening.
Neither the legs nor boots were moving. Billy, a curator at a literature museum on the East Coast, and two of the collectors invited to the private viewing were busy clearing the many books covering Harold’s body, chucking the pricey volumes behind them in their rush to reach his face.
Several almost nicked Harold’s wife, Tammy, who was pacing the floor, seemingly unaware of the heavy books being thrown in her direction.
“I told Harold that bookshelf was top-heavy, but he wouldn’t listen. Instead, he kept buying more and more. It wasn’t a hobby anymore, it was an illness. No wonder it toppled over!”
“That’s not right. I saw a pair of arms pushing the bookcase, just before everything went black,” I muttered, too softly for the anxious wife to hear.
The Baroness leaned in close to my ear. “Are you sure? That would mean…”
“That someone intentionally pushed it onto Harold. He was sitting in that chair when it fell.” I groaned when a horrible thought struck. “He wouldn’t have been able to react and perhaps save himself, either, thanks to the chloroform I’d administered. But why would someone want to harm him?”
About Jennifer S. Alderson
Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, grew up in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she lived in Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands.
Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning Zelda Richardson Mystery series, her Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries, and her Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels.
When not writing, she can be found perusing a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.
For more information about the author and her upcoming novels, please visit http://www.JenniferSAlderson.com.
Purchase Link – Amazon