The Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery series combines a laugh a page with larger-than-most characters who are still believable, given their background. Brandy Borne chugs Prozac, trying not to dwell on losing custody of her son and to keep her bipolar mother, Vivian, out of trouble. Vivian has a tendency to go off her meds, and with a background as an actress, her vivid personality is not easy to corall. Along with their diabetic, formerly blind Shih tzu, Sushi, they lead a life that keeps drawing them into mysteries. If you like mysteries on the funny side of life, this series is a great read.
Brandy and Vivian are finishing the first year of their reality TV series, Antiques Sleuths. The show’s been a hit, but ratings are dropping because there hasn’t been enough mystery-solving. Not to worry. As always in their lives, a dead body appears to complicate things. Brandy’s boyfriend is the chief of police, and his estranged wife, Camilla, has arrived in town, wanting him back. She opens an antique store close to Brandy’s, and at a televised auction, Camilla outbids Brandy, who shoves her during a quarrel. When Camilla’s body is found in her shop, Brandy is chief suspect. Can Vivian keep Brandy from being top dog in jail? (KENSINGTON, Apr., 256 pp., $25.00)