Title: Ruby Red Herring (An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery #1)
Author: Tracy Gardner
Published on: 8 June 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
An antiques appraiser hunts a missing gem while probing her parents’ (possible) murder. Ruby Red Herring is the first book in a brand new cozy mystery series by Tracy Gardner.
The first book in An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series and we cozy lovers are in for treat! There’s mystery, scratch that, two mysteries – 1) the missing gem 2) the possibility that Avery’s parents were murdered, then we have a dash of quirk (Tilly, Avery’s younger sister) and a dash of romance (the kind that makes you go aww!).
Usually, in a series debut, the spotlight is on the setting and character introduction. But Ruby Red Herring is unlike any other cozy debuts – there’s character introduction but the spotlight is on the missing ruby and the possible murder case.
As the story begins, we see Avery receiving an anonymous letter – the writer warns her of the rare ruby she’s about to appraise. Then, Avery and her colleagues – Sir Robert and Micah – doubt if the ruby might be the ‘missing eye’ of the museum’s most-prized exhibit, The Dragon Medallion. Someone linked to the aforementioned ruby is found dead in their apartment and that is when trouble starts. Will Avery solve the mystery before she becomes the next mystery?
Avery moved back home (at Lilac Grove) after the death of her parents. Her father’s sister, Midge, came over, along with her Afghan Hound, to live with Avery and her sister Tilly. The second anonymous letter Avery receives mentions an ally – Art. Art is a security guard at the museum where the ruby is currently kept. Sir Robert’s girlfriend is an acquisitions liaison and is known to have spoken to the recluse art collector who ‘found’ the ruby at a Flea market in Munich . Avery is suspicious of the art collector as he refuses to meet her or the rest of the museum staff.
Apt to the title, there are a lot of red herrings – which also means the suspects’ list is long. Is it the curator? The Acquisitions Liaison? The Art collector? Which of these were involved in Avery’s parents’ murder and what has it got to do with the ruby?
Excellent character portrayal and storytelling. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. The mystery kept me guessing till the end. The identity of the perp was unexpected and surprising – I couldn’t guess their identity until the revelation. The suspense is well-maintained throughout and we have an action-movie-ish chase scene at the end. (Wow!)
Engrossing, entertaining and unique, Ruby Red Herring is a smashing cozy debut! I cannot wait to see what’s next for Avery Ayers.