Review: ANTIQUES WANTED by Barbara Allan

35988655The strength of this story lies in its characters, totally multi-dimensional and nutty as fruitcakes.  Being a character driven reader, I was all over that like a bad rash.

Brandy’s a thirtysomething divorcee back home with Mama in her small hometown.  They run Trash ‘N’ Treasures, an antiques store me and my youngest daughter would go crazy for, I’m sure.  She kinda has a boyfriend, thinks her mother’s nuts, and seems sure her life is going nowhere.

But she actually has her hands full.

Vivien’s in her seventies and her daughter is right.  She’s nuts.  But that’s what makes her so much fun.  She has tons of friends and knows how to rope her daughter into all her little schemes and adventures.  I had a mother like that once.  Gosh, I miss her.  She’s in heaven now.  Took me a while, but I finally realized her entertainment value.

So Vivien gets her daughter involved in her crazy plan to become sheriff.  Really?  A little old lady’s going to protect us from all the baddies of the world?  Well, she is pretty good at solving mysteries.

Did I mention they have a little dog named Sushi?

Vivien decides the best way to raise campaign funds is to have a White Elephant Sale and she provides tips within the story, like she’s chatting with friends.

Where does she go to find quality merchandise for her sale?

The assisted living home, of course.  They love her there.  Well, the residents do.  The staff and relatives seem to think she’s a menace to polite society.  Nevertheless, even the mother of Vivien’s competition donates stuff for the sale.

But then there’s an explosion and Brandy gets hurt.  Now Vivien’s got a real problem to solve and she’ll stop at nothing to uncover who hurt her baby girl.  Visiting the retirement home is too obvious, because the staff and relatives dislike her so much.  So, she decides to go under deep cover.

Vivien gets bunion surgery and becomes a resident while in recovery.  She’s not the kind who needs a dog to sniff out anything, although she does like having one.

This book is hilarious.  Brandy and Vivien are both fully realized, breathing characters who will toss you into the old car and drag you along on their adventures.

Better check it out.