I don't have many cozy mysteries in my library, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I started Deadly Appraisal. What I found was a fun, dynamic woman in Josie Prescott. What was especially wonderful about Deadly Appraisal was that Josie Prescott didn't magically become this ace investigator after having no experience with detecting whatsoever. Instead she simply used her survival instinct to weather a bad situation. She relied on the police. She relied on her attorney. She even relied on a hired body guard. Josie experienced fear, uncertainty, loneliness. I found myself thinking, "I would probably respond exactly the same way."
...I loved the plot of this book and the language is divine, but what really endeared me - I know you're not surprised - was the character development. Josie is a wonderful character, but there is a great supporting cast as well.
So, now I know what to expect from a cozy mystery from Jane Cleland. A lot of fun, a reading experience for all my sense, and terrific, realistic, dynamic characters. This is a series I will be sticking with!
Jen Forbus on Jen's Book Thoughts blog
Jane Cleland, author of the Josie Prescott Antique Mysteries was [at the Fairfield Borders June 25, 2008], and I enjoyed a photo opportunity with her. If you want to call it that. You see, Jane does not like to have her picture taken. In fact, she hates it. (Which is unfortunate in her line of work!) Not to be deterred, I suggested that she pose with a copy of her book placed strategically in front of her face. I was only half-serious, but, to my delight, she agreed. Since she did me this small favor, I thought I'd take a moment to endorse her books, which are quite charming. The protagonist, Josie Prescott, is an antiques appraiser living along the New Hampshire Coast who has a knack for stumbling upon dead bodies. She then uses her knowledge of antiques to solve the crimes... . CONSIGNED TO DEATH (the first Josie) was wonderful, and the follow-up, DEADLY APPRAISAL, was even better. If you're looking for a cozy read, these books are for you.
John, This Little Life of Mine (blog), June 25, 2008
Deadly Appraisal is a murder mystery that will have you guessing who the killer is until the end. The author has a gift for her genre and is to be applauded. Her characters are well defined and believable. This is a series that everyone will enjoy and is great entertainment.
Quality Book Reviews
Deadly Appraisal is the second winning entry in this entertaining series by Jane K. Cleland that features New Hampshire antiques dealer and amateur sleuth Josie Prescott.
Josie's antique consignment shop is starting to do well, and she is quickly becoming known throughout the community. An opportunity to showcase her expertise comes up when .... [More at Hidden Staircase Mystery Reviews]
Betty, The Betz Review
DEADLY APPRAISAL is a fun, fast read cozy. Jane Cleland’s descriptions of the warehouse makes you feel like you are there. You can see the antiques, almost reach out and touch them. Scattered through the text is great information about antiques. Not only did I have an enjoyable escape, I learned about antiques. Delightful! Charming. I highly recommend it!
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.9.
Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., FMAM Mostly Mystery Review
Antiques a deadly business in mystery novel
Meet Josie Prescott, antiques dealer, shop owner and detective who takes solving crime to the next level. As the heroine in author Jane K. Cleland's new series, Josie is a charming, smart crime solver who finds herself in the unexpected role of playing detective after she's suspected of killing one of her wealthy clients....
Elizabeth Macik, August 1, 2007, OakPark-Leaves.com — Member of the Sun-Times News Group
If you like the Antiques Road Show and/or auctions, you will enjoy this book.
Josie Prescott is the owner of Prescott Auctions in southern New Hampshire. She has allowed her auction space to be used for a Gala Benefit, at which guests would bid on antiques on display. At the end of the dinner one of the organizers, Maisy, gasped for air and dropped dead. Was it natural causes or murder?
Josie, her staff, and her lawyer try to figure out what happened and when. The story moves along well and gives a good look at the antiques business.
Sara Berger, Mysterious Women Quarterly, Issue 2007-2
I love this series. Josie is such a fun character. Even though antiques are not my thing, I really enjoy this antiques mystery series. The mystery is very well crafted and the information about antiques does not hit us over the heads. The author has done a great job of this! I love the New Hampshire setting as well. Great place to set a mystery.
Mysterical - E
Josie Prescott is back in the middle of a controversial murder investigation again.
She sponsors a Gala auction for a local charity at her auction house. Maisy Gaylor, a Guild representative dies right there on stage in front of the 100’s of people that are attending. Naturally everybody there thinks it has to be natural causes. There are no outward signs of injury or wrong-doing. The next day, however, the police come to cord off the entire area. It was no accident or natural causes. It was murder....
Josie is paranoid - is someone trying to kill her? - is someone trying to ruin her reputation? She needs to move fast and figure out what’s going on before her business reputation is in ruins. She feels the police are just not moving fast enough. With the help of Wes, a reporter for the local paper, she starts her own investigation. There are multiple suspects and many secrets uncovered before the truth comes out.
In Deadly Appraisal Josie’s character has developed somewhat.... Intertwined throughout the book is information about antiques buying and selling which will be of real interest to mystery readers that are into antiques. A particular plus in this series is that each book stands alone. The first does not have to be read to understand the second and that is always good.
Reviewed by Diane Kasperski, Front Street Reviews
Josie Prescott, antiques dealer, escapes a price fixing scandal in New York City, by starting fresh in the New Hampshire town of Portsmouth.
To promote her antiques business, Prescotts Antiques, she sponsors the Portsmouth Women's Guild annual fund raiser. In the middle of the evening's festivities, Maisy Gaylor, one of Portsmouth's Women's Guild representatives, drops dead from potassium cyanide poisoning....
This is an enjoyable story of a young woman who is trying to put her past behind her and build a new life for herself. The plot is well constructed with the action fast and the suspense constant. The characters are well-developed, being people one would recognize or know. There are some insights into the world of the antiques houses such as Sothebys. MyShelf.com -- June, 2007 (Click to read the entire review.)
Josie Prescott is settling into her new life. She loves her business and has great employees. When she offers to do sponsor a Gala event for the Portsmouth Ladies Guild, she has nothing but great hopes for it. That all falls apart when one of the main members, Maisey dies suddenly on the stage before they can announce the winners of the different items auctioned. Josie is looked at as the prime suspect in the murder so she once again has to battle to clear her name. With her only support being her lawyer, she desperately does her best to hang in there. She has little successes throughout with her business but she wonders if she is just trying to do too much on her own.
I enjoyed the second book in the series by Ms. Cleland. She has a wonderful way of portraying the characters that emotions are felt when you are reading it. I was swept up in this book and didn’t want it to end. Boy I hope there is more!
I loved seeing past characters finding their way into the story like Sasha, Gretchen, Eric, and Fred. They are wonderful employees to have and I loved seeing the relationship between them and Josie deepens further. I got really irritated with Detective Rowcliff. I know he was just doing his job. Max put it wonderfully when he said the Detective had a problem of “persistent jerkitis” on page 245. I could not have described it better. Max really came to the top for Josie. He had done so in the last book but I really felt you got a better sense of whom he is. Josie is a sweet person but gets overwhelmed easily but when uncertainty is all around it makes complete sense.
I give this book a 5/5 because it carried the storylines from the previous book very well. I felt like I was coming home and I hope there are more to come. It was wonderfully written and expressed. I loved seeing how things changed and how Josie did get some more confidence. Great series and one I highly recommend but do please read Consigned to Death first.
Lover of Books Blog, May 2007
Josie Prescott's new life in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is going well until a friend, and the benefit organizer, is poisoned at a gala benefit she's hosting.
Detective Rowcliff isn't easy to deal with, especially since he isn't sure if Josie is a suspect, the intended victim, or is just holding back information.
Unfortunately Josie's new love, Rocky Point Police Chief Ty Alvarez, is out of town taking care of a sick aunt and isn't much support or help to Josie in this situation.
Soon Josie sees everyone as a potential suspect, even her staff. Plus she has some close calls herself. Also a valuable tureen goes missing from the benefit's auction. She knows she must help solve this murder quickly so that life can get back to normal. Reporter Wes Smith helps Josie get to the truth. Can Josie figure out who the murderer is before any more harm comes to her or her business?
I love this series. Josie is such a fun character. Even though antiques are not my thing, I really enjoy this antiques mystery series. The mystery is very well crafted and the information about antiques does not hit us over the heads. The author has done a great job of this!
I love the New Hampshire setting as well. Great place to set a mystery. I highly recommend this book and the series.
Dawn Dowdle, www.mysteryloverscorner.com -- email@example.com -- May 21, 2007
Jane K. Cleland’s first mystery, Consigned to Death, was nominated for an Agatha Award for best first novel in 2006 -- I reviewed it and gave it 4½ quills. Deadly Appraisal is a worthy successor to that first effort. The bottom line for me is whether I want to read more mysteries by an author. My response is “yes.” With great dialogue and description, a strong but insecure heroine and enough inside info about Josie’s business to satisfy an Antiques Roadshow fan – what’s not to like?
Mystery News, April-May 2007
For a sedate antiques dealer and appraiser, Josie Prescott gets herself into plenty of dangerous and precarious situations. In the debut novel in the series, Consigned to Death, she was involved in a murder. In this sequel, Josie is again in the midst of a murder investigation—even as a possible suspect—when a friend is poisoned at a gala charity benefit she is hosting at her establishment. And the murder is complicated by the question: Who was the intended victim, Josie or the person actually killed?
The plot builds slowly, with clues—both true and false—strewn along the way. Building to a completely unexpected conclusion, the story is well-told and carefully constructed. The author’s expertise derived from owning and operating a rare bookstore in Portsmouth, NH, many years ago shines throughout.
"Josie is a multifaceted, vulnerable character... the story is framed with details of the antiques business, and numerous well-developed secondary characters populate the book."
Cleland skillfully combines a charming locale (coastal New England), an intrepid heroine, and a unique milieu - the high-stakes world of the antiques trade - to create a solid basis for what her readers can only hope will be an enduring series. Amid the crimes, clues, and red herrings, author Cleland sprinkles antiques lore with aplomb, as befits someone who has herself owned a store much like the one run by her character. Whether she has Josie appraising a 14th century Chinese vase, exploring the peculiariities of life along New Hampshire's abbreviated coast, or indulging in her passion for home-cooking, Cleland displays the deft touch of a writer who knows whereof she writes.
Nancy Gratton, Heirloom Bookstore, York, PA