Barbara Allan, as we all know, is the husband-and-wife writing team of Barbara and Max Allan Collins, and Antiques Frame is the latest entry about their antiques-dealing sleuths, the mother-and-daughter (sort of; it's complicated) team of Vivian and Brandy Borne.
Readers of earlier books in the series will recall that Vivian and Brandy have, in addition to their antiques business, a reality TV series. The first season's a success, though the ratings are tailing off. That's not good news, and the even worse news is that Camilla Cassuto, the wife of police chief Tony Cassuto, Brandy's main squeeze (it's complicated), has come to town, opened her own antiques store, and started appearing at every auction being filmed for the reality series, where she consistently outbids Vivian and Brandy for the items they want.
And then Camilla is murdered. Brandy's prints are on the murder weapon. There's a perfectly logical reason why, but soon Brandy finds herself in jail with a Top Dog she helped put there earlier.
The books in this series are told mostly from Brandy's first-person point of view, with Vivian being allowed limited participation (one chapter), but this time, because of the circumstances, Vivian gets more space, which suits her just fine. Me, too.
Once again the Collins team puts together a fast-moving and frequently hilarious mystery concoction that's not as cozy as you might think it's going to be. The solution is particularly satisfying and twisty, and I really enjoyed the two surprises that Vivian announces at the very of the novel. They have nothing to do with the mystery, but they do indicate an intriguing direction for the next book in the series, one that I look forward to with eager anticipation.