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Published 29th February 2024

New release from C.L. Miller

The Antique Hunter’s

Guide to Murder

C.L. Miller’s The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is the start of your new favourite crime series, Indiana Jones meets The Antiques Roadshow.

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Published 29th February 2024

New release from C.L. Miller

The Antique Hunter’s

Guide to Murder

C.L. Miller’s The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is the start of your new favourite crime series, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency meets Midsomer Murders by way of Reverend Richard Coles and Richard Osman.

Reviews

The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is a bold, bright and delightful jaunt back to the golden age of detective fiction, as the mysterious demise of an antiques dealer is investigated by his estranged colleague. But can Freya apply her skills as an antique ‘hunter’ to the hunt for a murderer? Expertly plotted and skilfully written, with suspicious characters, devious twists and evocative locations, this pacey page-turner has it all. A cracking debut from C.L.Miller!

Janice Hallett

Miller’s winning debut exposes the dark underbelly of the antiques trade. Miller nails the pace and mood of a good mystery on her first try, and Freya is a hugely appealing protagonist. Readers will be clamoring for a sequel.

Publishers Weekly

A whodunnit meets treasure hunt sprinkled with antiques – what’s not to love? Page-turning, full of fascinating nuggets about the antiques world, and enormous fun to read. A real treat.

Eve Chase, author of The Birdcage and The Glass House

A fresh voice and a new take on the crime fiction genre, C.L Miller’s debut is authentic, knowledgeable and intriguing. I have a feeling this one will be huge.

award winner author Mari Hannah

It’s a delight!

bestselling author Katie Fforde

Irresistible, immersive and completely unputdownable, think the Antiques Roadshow meets Miss Marple with a deliciously OTT cast of characters and twist after twist after twist

Ellery Lloyd – Reese Weatherspoon bookclub pick and New York Times bestselling author of The Club

I whizzed through this brilliantly fun, fast-paced mystery set against the murkier side of the antiques world – where everyone has a price and no one is who they say they are. Freya Lockwood for the new James Bond!

Jessica Bull – author of Mrs Austin Investigates

A charming, delectable page-turner which is the perfect cosy crime read for antique hunters everywhere! Freya and Aunt Carole make the perfect partners-in-crime.

Katherine Blake – author of The Unforgettable Loretta, Darling

It’s a delicious read – packed with fascinating details in a picture-perfect setting. Who could resist a treasure hunt with murder at its core?

S J Bennett – Sunday Times bestselling author of Murder Most Royal

Antiques Roadshow, the sedate Sunday evening show where the frisson comes from a collector finding their trinket is actually a treasure, has now inspired a much more deadly drama.

The Sunday Times

Synopsis

What Antique would you kill for?

Freya, it’s down to you to finish what I started. . .

Freya Lockwood has avoided the quaint English village in which she grew up for the last 20 years. That is until news arrives that Arthur Crockleford, antiques dealer and Freya’s estranged mentor, has died… and the circumstances seem suspicious.

You will uncover a reservation, I implore you to attend. . .

But when a letter from Arthur is delivered, sent just days before his death, and an ordinary pine chest concealing Arthur’s journals including reservations in her name are revealed, Freya finds herself sucked back into a life she’d sworn to leave behind.

But beware, trust no-one. Your life depends on it. . .

Joining forces with her eccentric Aunt Carole, Arthur’s staunch best friend, Freya follows both clues and her instincts to an old manor house for an ‘antiques enthusiasts weekend’. But not is all as it seems; the antiques are bad reproductions and the other guests are menacing and secretive.

Can Freya and Carole solve the mystery surrounding the weekend before a killer strikes again?

Cara Miller portrait

Information

  • 29 February 2024

  • 9781035021802

  • 400 pages


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Press & Media

Publishers Weekly

Miller’s winning debut exposes the dark underbelly of the antiques trade. Forty-something Freya Lockwood is facing a personal crisis: her daughter has gone off to college, and her ex-husband has put the house where she’s lived for many years up for sale. While bracing for an inevitable eviction, Freya receives word that Arthur Crockleford, an antiques dealer in the English village of Little Meddington, has died and left his business to her and her aunt Carole. Twenty years earlier, Freya was Arthur’s partner in tracking down valuable antiquities, but an incident on their final trip together led her to break with Arthur and leave the profession. After Arthur’s funeral, Freya and Carole are given a cryptic letter in which Arthur asks Freya to track down an unnamed “item of great value.” If she does so, he promises, she will get her former life and career back. Following Arthur’s clues, Freya slowly comes to realize she’s also on the trail of his murderer. Miller nails the pace and mood of a good mystery on her first try, and Freya is a hugely appealing protagonist. Readers will be clamoring for a sequel. Agent: Hannah Todd, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Feb.)


Rosamund Urwin and Liam Kelly

Making a killing on Antiques Roadshow crime novel

Antiques Roadshow, the sedate Sunday evening show where the frisson comes from a collector finding their trinket is actually a treasure, has now inspired a much more deadly drama.

The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder, born of the author C.L. Miller’s love of the BBC1 series, is the latest example of a trend for “cosy crime” novelists to take inspiration from the small screen. It will be one of the hot books at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week and was sold this month to the publishing house Pan MacMillan in a three-book deal with a six-figure advance.

Cosy crime has become one of the most popular and lucrative sub-genres in publishing, largely due to the success of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series. Shows referenced in other series include Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island and The Great British Bake-Off.

“Half my submissions are now cosy crime,” said Ben Willis, publishing director for crime and thrillers at Bonnier Books. “On an international level it works really nicely to combine these with a nod to the television shows to take advantage of the fact that Americans … are lapping up Love Island and Bake Off.”

But Sir Ian Rankin, the author of 29 Inspector Rebus novels, said the police detective genre is “dying”, replaced by cosy crime books and “psychological domestic noirs”.

Rankin, 62, said Osma had “caught the zeitgeist” because readers want to be “comforted by the notion that ordinary people can make a difference, can solve problems”. The author told The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival: “The crime novel keeps evolving, because new writers come on board who are: a) dealing with the fears of a contemporary audience, which of course keeps changing; and b) finding fresh ways of doing the technical telling of stories.”

Miller’s debut, to be published in 2024, follows Freya, a young woman whose antique-dealer mentor dies in suspicious circumstances. It culminates in an antique convention in Suffolk, where everyone is a suspect.

Miller, 43, wrote the novel in consultation with her mother, Judith, 71, a collector and expert who appears on Antiques Roadshow. “The idea came from me telling my mum I wanted to write a crime novel,” she said. “And I asked her, ‘What antique would you kill for?’”


Claire Coughlan

Cosy up: escapist reads for every armchair detective

Think Knives Out and Only Murders in the Building rather than anything gruesome or terrifying.

Hannah Todd, C.L. Miller’s Agent

Richard Osman used to be known as that nice bloke off the telly. Now, with three novels in the record-breaking Thursday Murder Club series under his belt, he’s quite simply a literary phenomenon. The series, which falls neatly into the ‘cosy’ end of the crime fiction spectrum, is a bout a group of retirees who solve murders together. The third instalment, The Bullet That Missed, published last month by Penguin, sold 127,743 copies in its first week on sale.

And cosy crime continues to be one of the hottest literary trends around if the recent Frankfurt Book Fair is anything to go by. Pan MacMillan signed debut author C.L. Miller for The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder. The book, which is described by acquiring publisher Francesca Pathak as “a joyous crime caper that allows the reader to be an armchair detective,” was a hot title at Frankfurt.

It will be published in 2024, and is about Freya, a young woman who solves a murder with her aunt on an antique enthusiasts’ weekend at a manor house.

Cara Miller, who writes as C.L. Miller, has insider’s access to the world of antiques, as her mother is Judith Miller, an antiques expert on the BBC programme The Antiques Roadshow. It was a chance remark by a friend that provided the seed of inspiration for the book, says Clara.

“Just before lockdown I moved to a small medieval village in Dedham Vale, Suffolk, and a local friend quipped ‘it’s all very Midsomer Murders in your village.’ As most writers will know, sometimes it just takes a very small comment to get the cogs turning,” she says.

Although Irish author Andrea Carter, who has published five novels in the Inishown Mysteries series, doesn’t strictly write cosy crime, she incorporates elements of the genre, such as setting her books in a small community with an amateur sleuth. “Setting is one of the most important elements of my books,” she says. “I enjoy playing with the contrast between drama and beauty of Inishowen and the terrible things I make happen there.

“I’ve always liked the structure of a traditional detective novel and writing about a closed circle of suspects has an appeal for me. A small community is often a microcosm of the wider world.”

But what exactly is cosy crime? C.L. Miller’s agent, Hannah Todd at London’s Madeleine Milburn, says cosy crime novels tend to leave violence firmly off the page. “Think Knives Out and Only Murders in the Building rather than anything gruesome,” she says.

It’s often solved by unlikely heroes – OAPs, or in our case an antique hunter and her eccentric aunt. It’s a mystery that you can get lost in, without the horror of graphic violence or being tasked with reflecting on the ills of the world.”


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