Some long-running mystery series set in the world of antiques and collectibles ‹ CrimeReads

A murder in costumesmy first cozy mystery, is set in the world of hollywood memorabilia collecting, so i decided to interview a top dealer, as i didn’t want the research for the book to consist exclusively of a first novelist browsing wikipedia to procrastinate.

I asked a few people in the antiquities world who I should talk to, and everyone mentioned the same name: Joseph Maddalena, founder of Profiles in History, where he spent thirty-five years building the largest auction house of Hollywood memorabilia to the world before becoming Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions.

When we spoke, the first thing he said to me was that he had ideas about the plot.

“It’s entirely plausible,” he said. “These people are crazy. You have an old lady with a collection that no one has seen in Palm Springs, and you have a few dealers competing with each other? Someone could hypothetically end up dead, absolutely. This memory is an obsession. People covet it.

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In real life and in fiction, the world of antiques and collectibles is conducive to drama and sometimes murder. Sure, money helps raise the stakes, but it’s often the passion that collectors bring to these items. The fact that they are often unique also helps.

Here are three of my favorite long-running series set in the world of antiques and collectibles:

The eight volumes of Lea Wait antique print The mystery series is set in Maine and the amateur sleuth is Maggie Summers, an antique print dealer. The series is inspired by Wait’s long career as the owner of an antique print gallery. Business is at the heart of the plot, and it’s a great window into a very niche collecting category – and one of those is more affordable than most fine art. The plots are often darker and more psychologically twisted than most contemporary cozy series. Start with the first book, Shadows at the Fair.

Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr. No list of mysteries set in the world of collecting is complete without Bernie, the bookseller and sometimes burglar who stars in these well-plotted and often wildly funny capers. Block has been writing the series since 1977, but there are only eleven books, although a new one, the first in nine years, is coming in October! They are all great but I would recommend starting with 1994 The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams for his vision of the world of high-end baseball card collecting. I would recommend skipping the memorably bad 1987 film based on the series starring Whoopi Goldberg.

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by Sheila Connolly The mysteries of the museum. I’m a fan of this series because it’s the first cozy contemporary series I’ve ever read – and I vividly remember discovering it at Barnes and Noble when I was in college. It was the beginning of my love of the genre. It’s sad to even think that the series ended at eight books. Ms Connolly died in April 2020, after a career that included, in addition to best-selling mystery writers, stints as a museum curator, municipal bond analyst and professional genealogist. I think the diversity of talents and interests reflects the dynamic personality that made her such a great writer. His enthusiasm for his interests has enlivened his work, and I believe the books will find new readers for a long time. start with Fundraising for the Deadwho masters the plot of a small museum perfectly, and it’s clear that Mrs. Connolly knew a lot about this micro-world.


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