The Art of Betrayal by Connie Berry
Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Kate Hamilton Mysteries #3
Publication Date: 6/8/21
Number of Pages: 336
Connie Berry is a new-to-me author and although I came into this series on the third book, I don’t feel as if I’ve missed anything by not having read the previous books in the series. The writing is excellent and the mystery is compelling. As you meet different characters, you begin to feel something isn’t right with them, but you don’t know what it is – and won’t until the end when all of the players – good and bad – are sorted out. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters and am looking forward to another visit with them in the next book.
I don’t know if Kate Hamilton, an antique dealer in the USA, had left England after the last book or not, but, if she did, she is back now. Her good friend, Ivor Tweedy, had to have both hips replaced and he couldn’t just close his shop, so Kate left her best friend Charlotte in charge of her Ohio business and planned to spend the month of May looking after Ivor’s shop. As a widow with grown children, she didn’t have family to worry about, so spending time in the small Suffolk village of Long Barston wasn’t a problem for her.
Kate is rocking along managing Ivor’s shop and expanding her relationship with Tom Mallory, a detective inspector with the local constabulary. Evidently, something that happened in one of the two previous books cost Tom a promotion to DCI and he now has to report to a real jerk. Hopefully, that jerk will go away in the next book or two and Tom can get his promotion.
Kate is at The Cabinet of Curiosities, Ivor’s antiquities shop, when a lady identifying herself as Evelyn Villiers came into the shop with a rare and very valuable Húnpíng stoneware jar found in the Han dynasty tombs of early imperial China. Then, the new client dropped an even bigger bombshell – she wanted to sell several additional pieces of Meissen pieces. Kate was a bit leery of the lady – could she have stolen the goods and was just trying to fence them through Kate?
Later, at a local festival, a woman staggers into the crowds and dies. She had been stabbed – and the lady was none other than Evelyn Villiers. Right on the heels of that, Tom is called out to a break-in at Ivor’s shop. The only thing taken was the Húnpíng jar.
The Villiers family tale is a sad one. Eighteen years ago, the husband died while stopping his headstrong teenage daughter from eloping. Then, the mother, blaming their daughter, Lucy, for the death sent her daughter off to live with an aunt. The daughter ran away after about a year and nobody has seen her since then. Does the current death really start eighteen years ago? Are the theft and the murder related? Where is Lucy?
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. There are plenty of hints and red herrings dropped throughout the story, and they’ll just keep you guessing. You’ll think you know – but do you really? If you love mysteries, I hope you’ll give this book a try.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.