A Wealth of Deception by Trish Esden

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for A Wealth of Deception by Trish Esden. Many thanks to Lori from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the invite.

Title: A Wealth of Deception (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery #2)

Author: Trish Esden

Published on: 18 April 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Wealth of Deception is the second book in Trish Esden’s Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series.

When Vermont antique and art dealer Edie Brown discovers an unsettlingly dark collage by the famed reclusive “outsider” artist known only as Vespa, she opens a Pandora’s Box of deception and danger.

Edie teams up with Uncle Tuck and Kala to investigate the background of the collage but only uncover secrets that are more disturbing than the artwork itself. As Edie tracks down the validity of the piece, she stumbles into an art underground where some people are willing to kill to keep their schemes a secret.

I absolutely enjoyed reading every bit of this book. Fantastic storytelling, likable characters and a mystery to keep one guessing till the end. I love stories that feature art – paintings mostly, as I too dabble in oils at times. 🙂 This book felt special as the mystery is that of a collage done by a reclusive artist.

By chance, Edie stumbles across a collage in an old lady’s house – she’s passed away and her daughter wants to clear all the junk before listing the house for sale. Edie is asked to come and take a look at the items and pick what she thinks she could sell at her family-run antiques store. Edie and her uncle, Tuck, visit the place, and while in the old lady’s bedroom, Edie feels she’s missing the big picture. Turns out, she was about to miss a literally ‘big picture’ – a collage done by Vespa, a reclusive artist.

As Edie enquires about the collage, the (deceased) lady’s daughter says it was painted by her sibling. But Edie is pretty sure the work is that of Vespa – it even has a signature at the bottom, an inverted ‘V’. With the help of Uncle Tuck and Kala (who works at their antique store), Edie starts digging deeper into the mysterious collage and the reclusive Vespa.

She discovers something sinister – an art scam. The people behind the scheme know Edie’s out to get them and they are willing to stop her… for good.

As the story proceeds, the mystery behind Vespa’s identity gets murkier. We also have Edie wanting to talk to the man who created the painting – but it’s not that easy to talk to him. He’s known for his temper and Edie is warned to be careful.

Coming to Edie’s personal life – things are going smoothly; almost. Her ‘friends with benefits’ relationship with Shane is going steady. The store, not so much. There’s a septic tank leak and no funds to repair. Since her mum’s conviction in forgery, things are looking bleak for the store, but Edie is sure business will pick up, albeit a bit slow.

I also loved the bond that Shane and Edie share. Though FWB, it is pretty clear they like each other a lot. Another character who caught my attention was Kala – she’s just twenty-one but a master hacker, problem solver, and much more.

Overall, this was an engrossing, interesting and unique mystery. I am looking forward to reading more of Edie’s adventures. If you love antiques and art, you might want to give A Wealth of Deception by Trish Esden a try.

There’s a giveaway for this tour. Click here to enter.

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