On their honeymoon in England, Molly Appleby and Matt Harrison make a stop to visit Molly’s great-aunt Tessa in her small village of Marlow Crossing in A Devious Lot by Ellery Adams. There, the couple meets Tessa’s former student Tiffany, who has returned to her hometown from London in an effort to win back Giles Adair, the boyfriend who dumped her after 14 years of dating in order to get engaged to the rich heiress Penelope. When Tessa takes Molly and Matt to tea at the Adairs’ estate, Tiffany shows up with a brooch given to her by Giles that he wants back. Called an eye miniature or lover’s eye, which has a portrait of a woman’s eye amid the gems, this style of brooch was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The next morning, Gingersnap, Tiffany’s cat, shows up at Tessa’s house to seek help as he leads Molly to discover the murdered body of his owner. Because of Molly’s background with previous murder investigations and her tendency to get people to open up to her, the detective in the case enlists Molly’s help in solving this murder.
The plot alternates between the contemporary setting and the story behind the lover’s eye from 1851. The tale of Lilian and Julius gives their romance story. Unlike the other books in the Antiques & Collectibles series, the side story features more about the people related to the lover’s eye than the object that each book centers around. But as in all the books in the series, I really enjoyed the historical story.
Andi Arndt narrates the audio version of this book. She does a good job of creating the scene, but it did feel awkward to hear the British characters use an American accent.
While the story was good, I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous books in the series. As in the other books, the way the detective enlists Molly’s help felt really contrived. Further, Molly’s arrogance in determining to solve the murder by herself without notifying the authorities of her discoveries got ridiculous. Even when ordered to call the detective in charge by her own American detective friend, Molly refuses, hanging up on her friend. She has exhibited such tendencies in the earlier books, but in this book she takes her arrogance to an extreme. A Devious Lot was still a good read, giving me several hours of enjoyment. I give it three stars.
The revised edition is available only in audio and Kindle versions. To purchase the CD for yourself, click here on Amazon.