Potters Show Their Dark Side in A Killer Collection


A Killer Collection by Ellery AdamsA Killer Collection, the first book in the Antiques and Collectibles series by Ellery Adams, delves into the competitive world of pottery collectors. Molly Appleby, a writer for Collector’s Weekly, makes her first visit to a kiln opening, where she meets the rude and detestable George Bradley Staunton. While Molly is watching George, she sees him stumble dazedly and collapse. By the time the ambulance arrives, the man with the second biggest pottery collection in North Carolina is dead.

Because Molly refuses to believe from the first that George could have died naturally, she begins to investigate on her own, getting help from the co-worker she has had a crush on for two years. In the midst of her search for the truth, Molly visits potters and collectors, both for articles in her magazine and to learn more about the world in which George circulated and made enemies. In the midst of this, she just finds more mysteries in George’s life.

A Killer Collection is a fun cozy mystery with a creative premise of exploring the worlds of both pottery and collectors. I learned a lot of interesting details about pottery, including the way potters form the shape and work with colors and glazes. The way potters make their own kilns and create a certain number of pieces in it before having a big sale of all the pieces made in that particular kiln proved crucial information for the solution of the mystery.

This book did not contain what I have come to identify as the unique gifts of Ellery Adams, both the way she makes her characters come to life and the way she makes her books about ever so much more than just a mystery. The characters in this book entertained me, but they did not contain the roundness of the ones in her Books by the Bay or Book Retreat series, her two most recent series. In its use of the world of pottery as the basis of the plot, the book did approach Adams’s later genius working with multiple genres. Being written earlier in her career, it shows her progress towards her later trademark.

I should point out that the version available under the name of Ellery Adams has been revised and republished under her own name instead of the pseudonym J.B. Stanley.

The audio version of this book is performed by Andi Arndt. I must give a disclaimer that Arndt narrates most of the Sarah Kelling/ Max Bittersohn books by Carola Dunn, which I have previously reviewed on this site. After having listened to those books many times, I had a hard time not picturing Sarah and Max in her voices. With 702 titles in my Audible library, most of them listened to, I have listened to many narrators who read a variety of authors, and this is the first time I have noticed this problem. That said, I did sometimes feel that some of the voices blended together, though the text made it clear which character was speaking, so I was never confused.

To conclude, I really enjoyed listening to A Killer Collection and look forward to getting the next books in the series. I liked learning about a realm totally unfamiliar to me, and Adams explains the world of pottery in such a way as to inform the totally uninitiated about it while likely not boring potters themselves. By laying this field out through the research of the journalist, Adams finds a creative way to teach without seeming didactic. This book is well written and deserves four stars!

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