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Jane Austen's Lost Letters: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery    by Jane K. Cleland order for
Jane Austen's Lost Letters
by Jane K. Cleland
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jane Austen's Lost Letters follows Hidden Treasure as the fourteenth in Jane K. Cleland's Josie Prescott Antiques cozy series. Amateur sleuth/antiques expert Josie Prescott is the lead. She runs her own successful business, stars in the Josie's Antiques TV show, and is married to Ty, who works for Homeland Security.

Her filming of said show is interrupted by an older woman, Veronica Sutton, who claims to be a friend of Josie's father (dead for decades but still often on her mind). She hands over a package, and dashes off. Inside is a notecard with Josie's name in her dad's handwriting and two letters, that just might have been written by Jane Austen! She's shaken, both by the woman's connection to her father and by the possibility of such a discovery.

Next she bumps into a man who looks like 'a California surfer dude' on the site, asking about their shooting schedule - he too vanishes. In the studio, she interviews rare book and documents experts, Dr. Gloria Moreau (with her assistant Ivan) and Oliver Crenshaw (who's accompanied by his mom Rory). When she mentions the letters, both are keen to get involved in their appraisal. The next day, Josie finds Gloria strangled!

As the police investigate, Josie works hard to track down Veronica Sutton - and dabbles in the investigation herself. Soon she finds another body, and then bullets are fired at Josie in the studio. As always, Josie's brother Wes pesters her for the story and, as expected she does solve the murders and the mystery of Veronica Sutton.

This is a most enjoyable series, as much for the fascinating background on the antiques trade and authentication processes as for the mystery itself.

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