Monday, April 04, 2016

Antiques Fate by Barbara Allan

     "In my rendition, I play all the parts in a sixty minute condensation of my own creation. Shakespeare was a good writer, but he runs to the long-winded and needs occasional editing."
  The speaker here could only be Vivian Borne aging bi-polar diva (and antiques expert) and mother of Brandy Borne (co-owner of the family antique store back in Serenity, Iowa), long suffering thirty-two year old daughter who must follow her mother around to keep her out of amateur theater trouble but also murder trouble. Vivian does love a mystery.
   Antiques Fate is, for me, the funniest yet in the series. As usual Brandy narrates and spends a fair share of the time directly addressing the reader:
   "Yes, we were a pill-happy little group--lithium for Mother's bi-polar disorder, Prozac for my depression, and insulin for (shih tzu) Sushi's diabetes."
   When a  New York troupe has to cancel because performing "Macbeth" at a weekend festival at town that celebrates its its carefully crafted resemblance to a quaint English village, Vivian steps in as a substitute. She will perform all the roles herself, changing hats each time she changes character. Simply by changing hats the audience will be able to identify who each character. Is Vivian ever wrong?
   The village of Olde York is having problems. Some of its citizens want to modernize it and some want to leave it as it is. Feelings run deep and dangerous as Vivian and Brandy discover when people start to die.
   I really like the writing here. For all the humor Barbara Allan (husband and wife Barbara and Max Allan Collins) are able to create not just suspense but numerous ominous scenes especially inside the theater. The past here has rotted; there is an almost decadent gloom among those work operate it.
  Vivian remains the star of course as she bulldozes her way into disinterring old secrets that ultimately lead to the true murderer (several enticing suspects.)
   Five star fun. I can't wait for Vivian to drive all of us crazy again.

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