Antique Blues by Jane K. Cleland (Book Review)

I received a free copy of this book, thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.

Book Blurb:

When amateur sleuth and antiques expert Josie Prescott is called in to appraise a Japanese woodblock print and vintage guitar for her friend Mo, she’s thrilled—until Mo is murdered.

It doesn’t take her long to pinpoint one suspect: Mo’s sister’s manipulative boyfriend, who sold her the print—and has now, conveniently, disappeared. Josie’s antiques know-how and detective skills soon lead her down an increasingly perplexing trail, scattered with gamblers, extramarital affairs, and under-the-table purchases.

Readers will relish a return to Rocky Point with Josie as she works together with her friends—the ambitious young reporter Wes Smith, and Rocky Point’s savvy police chief, Ellis Hunter—to sift through the conflicting stories around them and find Mo’s killer.

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Genre: Cosy Mystery
My Thoughts:

This is actually the second book I’ve ever read in the cosy mystery genre, the first one being Plain Brown Wrapper(I didn’t realize that was a cosy until I started reading this 2nd one!)

Antique Blues, the 12th book in the Josie Prescott Antiques series, is your typical cosy mystery book. The main plot started out somewhat early on into the book(if you’re a cosies fan). The characters were not dynamic and needed a little more fleshing out, I found them to be quite stereotypical and frankly, bland. They were also quite cheesy throughout the book. The only character I liked was Shelley, Josie’s friend.

As far as plot and pacing goes, it was quite realistic. I didn’t guess the right culprit but maybe my detective deductions isn’t as good as I thought it was. The conclusion for the murder wasn’t as satisfying if you’re used to whodunnits and thrillers, but I’ll have to admit is closer to what would’ve happened in a real-life scenario. And since the protagonist is engaged I guess the romance takes a back seat, make that several rows back. It felt like the author, in trying to incorporate the romance element, just tacked on some loving exchanges between the two that just felt contrived to me. Contrived I say because the writing was very…wooden, in a way. I just can’t put my finger on why it seems so. The interactions between Josie Prescott and her fianceé, Ty, alternates between syrupy and dry. Could be because they’re in the honeymoon phase. In one scene, Josie even says ‘…but I bet your toes are jealous.’ To which Ty later responds,’I thought a brief walk on the beach —barefoot— was in order. Toe-parity.’ ◎_◎ Your toes are jealous?? Toe-parity??? Yeechh!

As for Josie’s character, I found her irritating from the get-go. She sat on a moral highhorse(like she KNEW she was morally superior) and was nosy as hell, galumphing off behind the police when they’re going to nab the culprit, or racing to get there BEFORE the police or going off on her own after a lead and sticking her nose further and further into danger when normal, self-preserving people, would’ve skooted off or atleast would’ve waited for backup. Like a grown-up Nancy Drew. She’s a major thorn in the backside! Atleast Nancy had the excuse of being an amateur detective. Plus, you can’t deny the woman has a paranoid streak, something she’s seemingly proud of. Somebody give me a fish to slap this woman.

Martin OM-45 Deluxe Guitar
The Martin OM-45 Deluxe guitar mentioned in Antique Blues actually exists! This one is starting at $875,000 and could go up to $2 million. Talk about valuable!

On the other hand, the insight on the antique industry was interesting. You get to learn some terms, such as ‘provenance’, and behind-the-scenes knowledge. I didn’t know the degree of patience and perseverance that goes into finding an items worth! This book also made art objects sound fascinating.

Meguro Drum Bridge and Setting Sun Hill  Woodblock Art
I thought the antiques Jane Cleland mentioned in the book were fictional. Turns out they’re real! What a pleasant surprise. Click on the picture to check out Utagawa Hiroshige’s other works.

I looked up ‘cosy mystery‘ on Wikipedia, and Antique Blues by Jane K. Cleland ticks all the boxes for this genre. So, if you’re a cosy mystery buff, this might be a good, light read, as even I wanted to know the culprit despite the annoying main character.

Parental Guidance: 12+
Violence – some brief description of murdered victims
Sex – The protagonist takes the occasional dip in a hot tub with her fianceé but with bathing suits. Nothing sexual is implied.
Religion – A Christian burial, nothing preachy.
Profanity – Very mild and few in between

Should You Get This Book?:
Get it if:

  • You enjoy cosy mysteries
  • You have an affinity for antiques
  • You like slow-paced mysteries
  • You like stories set in a small-town

Don’t get it if:

  • You’re looking for a more romantic novel
  • You want an utterly satisfying conclusion
  • You abhorr Nancy Drew and/or her character
  • You’re expecting an intricate plot

Grab this now on: Amazon | Barnes&Nobles | Book Depository


‘Nothing worth a damn is easy.’

‘Life isn’t a business, after all.’

22 thoughts on “Antique Blues by Jane K. Cleland (Book Review)

Add yours

    1. I started out with Mystery as my fav genre and have now branched out to Dystopian, YA, Fantasy & Historical. So far I have yet to like a cosy m.! By darker do you mean Jeffrey Deaver, Sidney Sheldon and the likes? Or something else?


  1. I do like a cozy mystery but I tend to veer towards supernatural cozy mysteries. I really enjoyed your review and your thoughts on the book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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