cover image Gilt by Association

Gilt by Association

Tamar Myers / Author Avon Books $6.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-380-78

Number two in the series featuring goings-on at the Den of Antiquity in Charlotte, N.C., has gals (never women) who say y'all and Hey! in greeting, but, except for some magnolias toward the end, precious little Southern atmosphere. Narrator/proprietor Abigail Timberlake, whose mama wears crinolines while cleaning house, is four feet nine inches of indefatigable perkiness who, when it comes right down to it, would rather die than not be cute. A serviceable story involving a corpse that has bloodied a valuable armoire is frequently stopped in its tracks by wildly exaggerated descriptions and non sequiturs that are seldom funny and often tasteless (""[Y]ou wouldn't like it if I farted on your food, would you?""). Random bits about antiques may lure other readers, but true appreciators will be die-hard cozy addicts. (Dec.)