In A Fatal Appraisal by Ellery Adams, Molly Appleby travels to Richmond to report on the popular television show Hidden Treasures for Collector’s Weekly. A takeoff on the actual TV show Antiques Roadshow, Hidden Treasures encourages the public to bring their personal treasures for appraisal. Molly loves the atmosphere of the show and the quaint bed and breakfast where she is staying. Yes, Victoria, the hostess, and Frank, the furniture appraiser, don’t seem to get along very well, but what do you expect of a married couple?
But then the day before they begin filming, Frank, who has been looking for secret compartments in an incredibly preserved desk from 1776, complains of feeling sick. No one seems to notice or care that Frank has not come to the team dinner, but when he never returns to his hotel room, Victoria begins to panic. The next morning, as the public begins to stream into the Civil War museum, Victoria enlists the help of Molly to look for Frank. Molly finds him dead in his own car, a victim of a heart attack brought on by someone’s having intentionally exposed him to a strong mold.
This leads Molly to look into the death of Frank, with visions of headlines on how the Collector’s Weekly reporter aided the police in solving a case too difficult for them. The book then wraps up in a big wild denouement that is a lot of fun.
I really enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow, so I especially appreciated the setting of A Fatal Appraisal. The book highlights the many aspects of a show like Hidden Treasures, introducing us to the many different people involved in putting on such a production, including appraisers of all kinds of materials, whether books or jewelry or furniture or coins or toys. The various characters come across as real people, some nice, others not-so-nice. We also learn more about antique furniture as well as other types of antiques shown, and I found that highly informative. I think that even those who do not usually care for the TV show or antiques in general will likely be interested in the material used as the setting of the book just because Adams does a fantastic job of bringing things to life.
Andi Arndt does narration of the audio version of this book. I enjoyed her narration and voicing of the different characters in the book.
The solution to the murder in A Fatal Appraisal was both creative and satisfying, wrapping up the whole fun book in a great way. I definitely plan to purchase the next book in the series and listen to it soon! I give this book five stars!
To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.