Monday, June 7, 2021

Ruby Red Herring - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Ruby Red Herring (An Avery Ayers Antiques Mystery #1) by Tracy Gardner

Rating:  Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  After their parents' deaths, Avery Ayers and her teenaged sister, Tilly, take over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised. Life in Lilac Grove is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings...and the antics of eccentric Aunt Midge. But their world is rocked when they learn that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to their parents' demise.
The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a stone in the museum's bejeweled dragon's-head medallion. One of the dragon's ruby eyes was stolen long ago--replaced with a fake. Now, Avery's colleagues--pompous Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott--suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Detective Art Smith is snooping around. Another body turns up. And Avery finds mysterious notes that, impossibly, seem to be written by her father.
Accompanied by her Afghan hound, Avery enlists Art's help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Or was the theft an inside job, perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can't find the culprit, Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery's own death.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I can never resist a new cozy series and I love books about antiques and rare jewels so this one was calling my name.

My Impression: This is a fun start to the series.  At the beginning of the story Avery is starting to gain her footing at her parents' appraisal firm following their tragic death over a year ago.  Between herself and her glamorous Aunt Midge they are keeping Avery's younger sister, Tilly, focused on finishing up her senior year of high school and getting ready for college.  This hasn't been an easy transition for anyone and the trauma is still present but the family is starting to move on.  And just a sense of normalcy is returning a disturbing message arrives at the door warning Avery off a new job assessing a ruby that has connections to the last piece her parents worked on.  

What follows is quite an intriguing tale of collectors, rare jewels, mysterious keys, and things are not always what they seem.  Watching it all unfold was quite an adventure.  I always enjoy a mystery that isn't just a straightforward murder and this was definitely one of those.  It's definitely a first book with a lot of setup but that didn't bother me.  What kept this from being a 4 or 5 star book for me was that there is a lot more telling then showing which made for a slow start but once the story started gaining traction I was definitely pulled in.  I'm really curious to see where the series goes and to spend more time with the Ayers family.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  While this wasn't my favorite mystery of the month it is an intriguing start to a series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries and books involving antiques I think you'd enjoy this mystery.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I didn't realize this was the first book in the series. I have to get this one. It sounds so good and I like that I won't have a bunch of books to catch up first.

  2. I hate telling, but if it redeemed itself as it got set up well then it would certainly be worth trying the next one in the series.

  3. This sounds like a good fit for me.

  4. This sounds interesting. These characters have been through a lot before they have to deal with this mystery.

  5. This sounds like something I'd read. I find it appealing that the MC has a teenage sister involved.