Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Book Review: The Art of Betrayal by Connie Berry (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, puzzling mystery
Cons: Nothing that betrayed my overall enjoyment
The Bottom Line:
Antiques theft, murder
Twisty, compelling story
With great characters

Murder of a Recluse, Theft of an Antique Jar

It’s been a while (at least for us) since we last visited Kate Hamilton, an antiques dealer who is spending more time in England these days thanks to her budding relationship with Detective Inspector Tom Mallory.  I was anxious to see how life was progressing for her in The Art of Betrayal, and I enjoyed getting to spend more time with her.

Kate is back in the Suffolk village of Long Barston for the month of May.  Not only does this mean more time visiting Tom, but she is able to help her new friend and fellow antique dealer Ivor Tweedy run his antique shop while he recovers from surgery.

One afternoon, a woman comes in with a piece she wants to sell.  Kate quickly identifies it as a piece of Chinese pottery that is highly valuable, and is thrilled when the woman leaves it behind for the shop to sell on consignment.

That night is the annual May Fair celebration in the village, and Kate and Tom are enjoying themselves.  In the middle of the pageant the community puts on, a woman stumbles on the stage and dies – the same woman who brought the pottery to the shop that afternoon.  Then Tom is called to Tweedy’s antique shop, which has been broken into.  The only thing missing is that pottery.  While Tom is investigating, Kate can’t help but get more and more drawn into the case.  Will she figure out what is going on?

Let’s get my frustration about of the way early.  There were some time line issues, and a couple of times where the location where the body was found seemed to change.  I was reading an ARC, and hopefully they were caught and changed before they went to press.  They annoyed me, but they were minor overall, and I’m ignoring them for the rest of this review.

This is a strong mystery, and I was quickly pulled in.  There are multiple threads that Kate has to follow to figure out what is going on.  I figured out one or two of them early, but I still had huge gaps in my picture of the case when I reached the climax.  And then I felt silly for not having pieced it all together earlier myself.  Those are my favorite kind of mysteries.  The climax is quite exciting, as well.

Kate is older than the typical cozy protagonist since she’s a widow with grown children, and I love that about her.  (I’m all about variety.)  I found some of the sub-plots in her personal life very refreshing as a result.

And the rest of the cast is great as well.  Tom continues to be a fantastic love interest.  I’ll admit that I didn’t remember much about some of the other returning characters, but it wasn’t long before I could place them in the village and in Kate’s life there.  The new characters are strong and helped draw me into the story.

It truly was great to check in with Kate again.  The Art of Betrayal will make her current fans happy and should bring her more fans who enjoy puzzling mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

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