The Art of the Decoy

Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery Book 1

It should have been a simple appraisal. If it weren’t for the thief.

After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother’s gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.

When Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.

Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. She convinces the client to give her five days to find and return the decoys before calling the authorities. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.

With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.

Trish Esden is a gifted wordsmith, crafting prose that is evocative, raw, and meaningful. Sit back and prepare to lose yourself in this Northern Vermont wonderland filled with priceless folk art and people you want to know.
—Jane K. Cleland, author of Jane Austen’s Lost Letters
…unique and authentic, offering an intelligent and intrepid heroine who’s not afraid to face danger to sleuth out the truth…
—Victoria Gilbert, author of the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series

With its tenacious and endearing female sleuth, a mystery that captivates, and a vibrant cast of suspects, The Art of the Decoy entices from the first page…
—Tessa Wegert, author of Death in the Family and The Dead Season

With its likable characters, high stakes mystery, and immersive setting, The Art of the Decoy is a great start to a fresh new series.
—Elizabeth Penney, author of the Cambridge Bookshop Series