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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.)