SEVEN DEADLY SAMOVARS
By Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner
Books In Motion, 2009, Audio, 7/CDs, $28.99
Read by Andrea Bates
Review by Jackie Houchin
The second book in the Silver Sisters Crime Caper series moves the action from Beverly Hills to Juneau, Alaska, where Goldie, the more practical of the twins, runs an antique shop for tourists. The trouble begins when a delayed shipment of Russian tea urns finally arrives. Goldie quickly realizes the rare Samovars she unpacks are not the cheapies she ordered. But hey, that’s business.
She keeps one for herself, another goes to her mother-in-law, two to her best friend, one for an elderly priest’s retirement gift, one to her sister Godiva’s boyfriend, Chef Caesar Romano, and the last one to a snobbish woman from a cruise ship. Goldie is pleased by the quick sales and only mildly curious when a customer calls to report something intriguing about the urns.
But the samovars soon grab all of Goldie’s and Godiva’s attention as one customer is murdered and others are attacked and their samovars are taken. The town drunk – a disabled, unemployed elderly fisherman – is arrested for the murder. The sisters know the old coot is innocent and that the murder is somehow connected with the stolen samovars, but the police are not buying it.
It’s left to the sisters to catch the criminals before the last two customers are harmed. But when another innocent person dies they are terrified for Caesar’s sake and race to Los Angeles to use their combined wits and cunning to corner and captured the culprits.
The secret of the samovars is finally revealed…as is a shocking detail about Chef Romano that he would rather have kept classified.
Devilishly clever plots, outlandish names for adorable, well-developed characters, and hilarious alliterative narration are all part of what makes the Silver Sisters mysteries a hoot to read. And in this particular audio edition, the reader’s sense of drama and comic voice characterization add to the enjoyment. (Actually, Ms Bates sounds just like Morgan!)