Death and the Gravedigger's Angel (An Auction Block Mystery #3) by Loretta Ross
Description: When former army medic Tony Dozier is accused of killing a member of the hate group that disrupted his wife's funeral, the prosecution charges premeditated murder and the defense claims temporary insanity. Former marine Death Bogart and auctioneer Wren Morgan think there's more to the story.
They're both led to the long-abandoned Hadleigh House, where Wren begins preparing the contents for auction but ends up searching for the story behind an antique sketchbook. As Wren uncovers the century-old tale of a World War I soldier and his angel, Death finds a set of truths that will change...or end...their lives.
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: I've really enjoyed this series so far and I love that there's always a history element involved because Wren's always clearing out an old house.
My Impression: I love this series! I almost clapped my hands with glee at the beginning because Wren, Death and Randy were going into a house that no one had lived in in close to 50 years and just the idea of all that stuff makes me giddy with excitement. I loved the descriptions of the Hadleigh House and the cemetery and the tidbits about the man who had lived there until his death in the mid-60s. I also thoroughly enjoyed Death's brother, Randy, joining the gang. His interactions with Wren and with Death were hilarious and brought a lot of entertainment to the group. It was also fun to see a lot more of the Keystones who own the auction company that Wren works for. I had really missed them in the second book so it was a treat to see them playing a larger roll in this book - especially the grandmothers.
The mystery got off to a fast paced start with questions about who the last occupant had been, who the dead guy in the Civil War uniform found on the trail was, and how did the son of a funeral protesting minister end up dead in the car of a veteran who had recently lost his wife. I enjoyed watching Death and Randy work on the upcoming murder trial of the veteran and watch the characters try and figure out just where the Civil War uniform had come from and how the dead man had gotten a hold of it. I felt both of those mysteries were wrapped up very satisfactory and I really enjoyed the read. I love Wren's character. While at times she comes off as shy and almost meek there's also a hidden toughness to her and it's nice watching her show she can take care of herself.
My main complaint was that I wanted more from the mystery involving the angel and the last occupant of Hadleigh house. There were so many tantalizing pieces that I didn't feel were satisfactorily wrapped up. I love historical mysteries where the tale is told through dusty letters and found drawing and I just wanted more from this subplot. As well, this is one of the few mystery series where I feel like it's really important to read the books in order. A lot happened in the last 2 books that explain Death's backstory and the events that occurred with Randy and I think it could be confusing to a new reader to dive in here. Plus the other 2 are really great mysteries so you'd be missing out if you didn't read them!
If you enjoy a good cozy mystery read and the idea of exploring old houses makes you giddy this is a series you really must not miss! This was an incredibly entertaining addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! There's a hint dropped about the next mystery at the end of this book and I can't wait to see how that plays out.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes! If you enjoy a cozy mystery then this is a great series though start with the first book. If you've read the last two books already I think you'll really enjoy this one.