As owner of the Den of Antiquity, recently divorced(but never bitter!) Abigail Timberlake is accustomed to delving into the past, searching for losttreasures, and navigating the cutthroat world of rival dealers at flea markets and auctions. Still, she never thought she'd be putting her expertise in mayhemand detection to other use -- until crotchety "junque" dealer, Abby's aunt Eulonia Wiggins, was found murdered!
Although Abigail is puzzled by the instrument of death -- an exquisite antiquebell pull that Aunt Eulonia never would have had the taste to aquire -- she's willing to let the authorities find the culprit. But now, Auntie's priceless lace is missing,and somebody's threatened Abby's most priceless possession: her son, Charlie. It's up to Abby to put the murderer "on the block."
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May 31, 1996
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Excerpt from Larceny and Old Lace by Tamar Myers
Eulonia Wiggins was found strangled to death by an antique bellpull. It was afine example of nineteenthcentury needlework. On the blue velvet background,
a slendid red rooster paraded, his comb erect, his spurs as long as talons. Anelaborate crest of one of the finest noble families in England was displayedproudly above the cock. I would have charged at least $200 for the pull, more tothe right customer. I suppose if my aunt had to die by strangulation, the pullwas as suitable an implement as any. But I can't help thinking that if I hadreacted in a more rational and placating manner, my aunt might still be alive.
We -- the members of Selwyn Avenue Antique Dealers As sociation -- had gatheredtogether for our monthly breakfast at the local Denny's restaurant. Normally thisis just a social event, since our organization is too small to have any realbusiness. Today, however, the business was my aunt.
I must immediately point out that my aunt was the first of our group to open ashop on prestigious Selwyn Avenue. If it hadn't been for her pioneering spirit,and persuasive tongue (the zoning board was slow to come around), none of uswould have our shops today. Plainly put, we all owed her a great deal.
In the interest of fairness, I am compelled to say that her shop, Feathers 'NTreasures, had seen better days. Okay, to put it frankly, it was an eyesore, butshe didn't deserve to die for it. Lightly flogged, maybe. I mean, since when ispeeling paint a capital crime? As for those tacky cardboard signs in the windows,she did change them every time she ran a sale. I'll even admit that most of hermerchandise was garage sale leftovers, but hey, this is a free country. EuloniaWiggins, age eighty-six, had paid her dues to society. If the Selwyn AvenueAntique Dealers Association had a problem with my auntwell, they could lump it,or else answer to me.