cover image False Picture: An Abbot Agency Mystery

False Picture: An Abbot Agency Mystery

Veronica Heley, . . Severn, $28.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6656-1

In Heley's sprightly second cozy to feature London detective Bea Abbot (after 2007's False Charity ), Bea insists her domestic agency doesn't do murder, but murder sneaks into her latest missing person case—the disappearance of her best friend Velma Weston's stepson, Philip, a wastrel who might have stolen a pre-Raphaelite painting by John Everett Millais either before or after Lady Lucinda Farne, his elderly godmother, was killed by a thief. The thief, who calls himself Rafael, plots to smuggle the loot he took from the victim, a collection of portrait miniatures and gold snuff boxes, out of the country. Meanwhile, Maggie, Bea's feisty assistant, goes undercover, taking a vacancy at the flat where Philip was living with several roommates. After Velma's husband has a heart attack, the action escalates for Heley's intrepid sleuth, who relies on “arrow prayers” rather than conventional weapons and knows just how to handle knife-wielding art thieves and missing bad boys. (Oct.)