cover image A Wealth of Deception: A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery

A Wealth of Deception: A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery

Trish Esden. Crooked Lane, $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63910-254-9

Esden’s intricately plotted sequel to 2022’s The Art of the Decoy finds Edie Brown working hard to restore the reputation of her family antiques business in Scandal Mountain, Vt., since Edie’s mother was sent to prison for art forgery. So when Edie hears that Anna Gorin is looking for someone to appraise Anna’s mother’s estate, she jumps at the chance. On offer is mostly quirky tchotchkes, but Edie spots a collage that may be a priceless piece of “outsider art” by the art world’s latest sensation, Vespa, an elderly woman with a disturbing dystopian vision. When Anna tells her the piece was created by her brain-damaged brother, Erik Volkov, as art therapy, Edie is stunned. Is it really a Vespa, or is Erik an undiscovered artistic savant? Either way, the piece could be worth thousands—and the answer to all Edie’s troubles. As Edie investigates the artwork’s true provenance, she uncovers an international money-laundering scheme run by ruthless criminals who think nothing of killing to protect their interests. Esden offers appealing characters, a touch of romance, and a fascinating look into the complex world of art collection. Traditional mystery fans will be satisfied. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary. (Apr.)