BOOK CLUB: The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder

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The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is a surprisingly charming murder mystery in which CL Miller combines the tone of a cozy murder mystery with the depth of plot and character that modern readers tend to expect.

Freya Lockwood is at a turning point in her life. Her 18 year old daughter has just left for university, and as a result, Freya’s ex-husband is pressuring her to sell her London house. On top of that, her old mentor Arthur has just died.

After a bitter and brutal falling out with him, Freya abandoned not just him, but the career she loved and the small village she grew up in. Her resentment is still strong, but her beloved aunt needs her help to deal with Arthur’s death.

It’s quickly clear to Freya that there’s something not quite right – maybe even suspicious – about Arthur’s death. Before she knows it, she’s sucked into helping her Aunt Carole find the truth.

I really enjoyed this. It has the light touch of a lot of cozy mysteries – not too much explicit gore, but the distinct sense that everyone’s up to something nefarious. A number of the characters are suitably eccentric (particularly Aunt Carole) without actually being weird. The majority of the action takes place in a small English village and a significant part in one isolated mansion.

However, modern readers tend to expect a greater depth of characterisation than older cozy mysteries offered. Miller delivers in this regard with strong, vivid characters. Several are very empathetic, particularly Freya. Most readers will delight in Carole’s behaviour and will want to see more of her.

Miller has a family background in antiques, and it shows. She provides information that feels accurate and detailed, although she doesn’t go into great depth about matters unrelated to the plot. It made Freya seem competent and professional, even though she was a bit rusty. I enjoyed seeing her come back into her own in the professional sense.

Most crime readers are going to enjoy this immensely. The overall impression is lively, with the sense you’ve just read something light but satisfying. The plot (including the all-important reveal) is well worked out, the background and setting believable, and the characters strong.

This is the first in a series, although it stands alone, and most readers will look forward with enthusiasm to the next instalment.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder by CL MillerYou can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder

  1. The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder by C.L. Miller is a madcap story of the shady side of antiques.
    This is the story of Freya Lockwood who learns about the death of her mentor Arthur Cockleford who owned an antiques store and was also a dealer. She goes back to her childhood home town in England to be with her Aunt Carol and solve the mysterious letter Arthur left her, even though they had fallen out. Freya didn’t want to work on this, but when her Aunt Carol brought up some issues she felt compelled. They are sent to an old manor for a weekend of activities and as time goes on it seems they’re all set up by Arthur who knew he was in danger. At this weekend everyone has secrets and is not who they seem to be. Will Freya and Carol get out of this weekend in one piece and what had Arthur got himself into?
    I really enjoyed trying to work this out – I definitely missed some clues, but enjoyed playing along. The best part was seeing a chapter from the next book in the series.

  2. If like me, you enjoy Agatha Christie whodunnits, set in quaint, “Midsomer Murders” style country villages, then you will definitely enjoy The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder by C.L. Miller (Pan Macmillan).
    With colorful characters, an intriguing plot and sub-plot based around the search for stolen antiques and antiquities, plus murder, there is a lot going on! As a reader you are challenged to follow the clues and figure out “who done it” before the story ends… But it had me guessing right til the end!
    Happily this book appears to be the first of a series, so I look forward to more super sleuthing from antiques expert Freya, and her eccentric Aunt Carole.

  3. The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is a fabulously fun to read debut novel by Cara Miller, with Freya’s ex-husband James lurking just on the periphery and Freya’s beloved daughter Jade now living in America, Freya doesn’t hesitate to jump on the train when Aunt Carole calls to tell her that Arthur has ‘allegedly’ fallen down the stairs and is sadly gone.

    Uncovering an invite to an Antiques Enthusiasts Retreat the following weekend the two super sleuths set about solving the mystery of Arthur’s untimely demise. The setting a stately old manor that had definitely seen better days, with Clare the housekeeper settling Freya and her aunt Carole, who were the first to arrive, into one of the four renovated cottages that were stables in a previous life, Freya put the kettle on to make a pot of tea for Carole, who never wavered for her strong penchant for tea over coffee.

    I loved the connection that Freya and her fun-loving Aunt Carole have, there is a string of nefarious characters at the retreat, some who seem vaguely familiar, and others that Carole knew and had met previously on her many trips accompanying Arthur around the world, in his life-long pursuit searching for valuable antiques. There are plenty of twists and turns, that kept me quickly turning the pages, attempting to uncover the next hint.

    Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Macmillan for the opportunity to read and review this very enjoyable read and I anxiously await Cara’s next novel in the series ‘The Antique Hunter’s Death on the Red Sea’.

  4. An easy read and as I have an interest in antiques, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey with Freya. Whilst we never met Aurthur, he was an integral part of the story and a main character.

    I was astonished to find that this was a debut for the author as it flowed really well , was descriptive and well thought out. I look forward to the next in the series.

  5. I loved the title and that’s what drew me to this book in the first place. However, I did find it all a bit confusing until the end and the whole story felt a bit drawn out. I know nothing about antiques, but I bet their descriptions in the book will thrill some people. I liked Freya and her Aunt and liked the way everything was resolved with Arthur.

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the offer to review The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder by C L Miller.

    Freya Lockwood is already having a lot happening in her life, her only child, daughter Jade has gone to college in the United States and her ex husband James is forcing her to sell their house. With all that going on she also receives the news that her former mentor Arthur Crockleford has passed away under curious conditions in his antique shop. Arthur had educated Freya to be an antique hunter, to be a detective for private owners or insurance companies to recover stolen antiques. Even though they had been alienated for 20 years Freya finds Arthur had left a lot of clues indicating that he did not have an accident. Freya needs to track down the killer and also a mysterious object that will give her the answers to what happened 20 years ago. Freya and her Aunt Carole who raised her go to a weekend retreat for antiques and antiquities at a very old mansion. There they meet a group of people and all could be suspects in Arthur’s death. While there Freya senses she and Carole are in jeopardy.

    I enjoyed the book even though I know nothing about antiques. It had clues along the way which made it an interesting read.

  7. The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is a fun, adventure filled book which, should it be made into an ABC series, would definitely get top ratings.

    The story follows Freya’s return to the hunt for antiques and its level of research is obvious.

    The mentioned antiques are beautifully detailed, as are the settings, making the story easy to picture.

    As the hunt continues, the clues build, and not only does the present case evolve but so too does the backstory.

    The building of the characters also leads well into stories to follow. Their backstories and interactions will definitely help in future books.

    This was an enjoyable read that will definitely be shared around.

  8. What a fun debut, although the murders are probably not what you’d classify as fun (especially the first one you read about, very sad…).

    Freya used to be an antique hunter (finding and returning stolen antiques) along with her dear friend and mentor Arthur. Something happened years ago in Egypt that caused a rift between them, and we don’t know what it is until fairly late in the book. But basically Arthur has set things up for the biggest antique hunt of Freya’s life… And it might even cost her her life!

    The author’s love and knowledge of antiques shines through this story, and it is missing antiques that set up all the dramas – and murders.

    Written with a light touch, the book has the feel of a cosy mystery, with the clues slowly spooling out as Freya and her delightful Aunt Carole go on the hunt to set things right. Quite a few unexpected things happen along the way, a few twists and turns I didn’t see coming.

    Great fun to read, and an absolute must if you enjoy Antiques Roadshow and cosy mysteries!

    Many thanks to Beauty & Lace and Macmillan for the review copy.

  9. Brilliant debut and I am very excited to read the next installment.

    Freya and her Aunt Carole are determined to find their friend, Arthur Crockleford’s killer in the antique world. They follow clues left by the dead Arthur to uncover the truth.

    Antiques are expensive and some people will do anything to get there dirty hands on them.

    This book is filled with intrigue and I couldn’t wait to see how it all ended. I found myself totally immersed right from the beginning. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves uncovering a great mystery.

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