Death and the Viking’s Daughter
by Loretta Ross
An Auction Block Mystery #4
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink February 8, 2018
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic
eARC provided by Net Galley for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Next on Wren and Death’s Appraisal List:
Item #1: An Old Family Feud.
Item #2: A Missing Woman.
Item #3: A Body in the Rosebushes of their Dream House
Auctioneer Wren Morgan and her private eye fiancé Death (pronounced “Deeth”) Bogart are ready to meet each other’s parents and settle down together. But their sleuthing days are far from over. While Death and Wren are helping prepare auction items at an old supper club, a Viking reenactor nearly dies at the historical settlement next door. The cause? Seeing the ghost of his daughter, who went missing twenty years ago.
As Wren looks into what happened to the Viking’s daughter, Death is hired to investigate the theft of historical items that have high sentimental value. When their respective investigations turn out to be connected, the couple gets caught in a deadly conflict. https://www.midnightinkbooks.com/product.php?ean=9780738752372
REVIEWER: Sophia Rose
I first heard of this series when Angela @ Simply Angela‘s blog reviewed book one and then I saw the books praised on a few different blogs. I caught sight of this latest release in the Auction Block mystery series and decided to give it a go.
Death and the Viking’s Daughter worked fine as a standalone in many ways, but I can see that this series is one the builds on the installments before it. Death and Wren’s relationship, their healing over their separate troubled past issues, intro to regular series characters and situations… it all develops as it goes. I got the recap in this one, but I definitely want to go back to the beginning- meet the characters where they were back then and see them come along even while getting a fun mystery.
I’m terribly interested in start of the series because I was struck by the depth and humanity of Ross’ characters. Death is a combat Marine suffering from PTSD was discharged for health reasons. His wife left him because being married in the military is tough and other issues she had going. Having thought all his family was gone Death hit bottom after the service and was living alone and out of his car. But now the resilient, calm and capable, but still working to get better, man is farther along the path.
And alongside Death (pronounced ‘Deeth’ by the by) is Wren. Wren had to get past a failed engagement when her fiance finally told the truth about being gay and using her as a beard, but he couldn’t keep lying because he truly cared for her just not in the way she needed. Small town; big uproar. Wren has trust issues. But she picks up the pieces and finds her way as an auction house worker.
I have not seen such well drawn characters even for the lead detective in a cozy mystery series before and I was splendidly in raptures over this.
And, the other fabulous thing about these books is the historical and archeological connections that lead to the mysteries. Because of Wren’s work with a (colorful and eccentric, yet warmhearted) family owned auction business, they encounter old artifacts, quirky old places, historical settings, and people in the fields of historical study. In this one, as can be surmised from the title, the focus is a little on Viking history. It was all cleverly woven into the mystery plot. I learned several details about the Vikings that I was unaware so I ended up like Death’s younger brother, Randy, just bummed that the term’ Viking’ wasn’t what the called themselves, but what they went out doing since it’s a verb form meaning ‘raiding’, that the great dragon head masts of the longboats was not for real, that Vikings didn’t wear those horned helmets, and that women, though definitely leaders in their own right, didn’t become Viking warriors like I thought. Yes, Randy and I were bummed to learn all that, but also fascinated.
I suppose I should actually discuss the book I did read and not just the series in general. Death and the Viking’s Daughter offered several plot threads that were all very engaging. Death is working a forged art case for his PI business, Wren is doing an auction at the old supper club by the lake near the Viking re-enactment group where a woman went missing. They are house hunting and both like a home that has a John Doe named ‘Bob’ buried in its rose bed. And, Death gets to finally meet the in-laws who are wary of him for their daughter.
The story flipped scenes abruptly at times, but I had no trouble keeping track of the various threads or whose point of view I was getting. The pace was good and all the elements eventually found their way together. The mysteries are not tough to solve, but there were still some good twists and a thrilling moment. I found the sum of the parts a great weave rather than any particular elements standing out as stronger or weaker.
In summary, I’m hooked and I’ll definitely be going forward as well as snagging the series back list.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.