Barbara Allan is, as you might know already, the writing team of Barbara and Max Allan Collins. I like the pen name because it's not just the combination of their own names but the title of a ballad I like, one that I first heard sung by the Everly Brothers. But I digress, and I've just gotten started.
Antiques Flee Market isn't the first book in the series about Brandy and Vivian Borne, but it's the first one I've read. Probably it won't be the last because I found Brandy's narrative voice very engaging, and the book was very funny, just the kind of thing I need now and then. I should mention that Vivian gets to narrate a couple of chapters, though it appears that in earlier books Brandy has limited her to only one, which seems hardly fair to Vivian (and to me).
Brandy's living with her mom, Vivian, because of an indiscretion with a former classmate at a high school reunion that led to her divorce. Brandy's on Prozac, and her mother is bi-polar. They visit their shrinks together. Obviously this book isn't a typical cozy. But if you love cozies, I must admit that the series is ostensibly antiques, and each chapter ends with a flea market shopping tip. There's even a recipe included.
The plot? When one of Vivian's old boyfriends is murdered, Brandy and Vivian get involved in the investigation, even though the cops warn them off. Brandy's current boyfriend is a cop, in fact, but he doesn't help the pair in any way with with their probe into the case, which involves a first edition of Tarzan of the Apes. There's cold weather, amusing dialogue, and a couple of nice surprises. Next time you need a laugh, check it out.