Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Collecting Can Be Murder by Jennifer S. Alderson

Posted June 21, 2023 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, Jennifer S. Alderson, mystery/suspense / 10 Comments

COLLECTING CAN BE MURDER by Jennifer S. Alderson
Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries #1

GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Traveling Life Press
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2023
PAGES: 208

Coming out of retirement can be deadly…

After tragedy struck three years earlier, art sleuth Carmen De Luca vowed to never work in the field again. But fifty is too young to fill her days with water aerobics and bingo, so when her former partner calls and begs for her help, Carmen gladly agrees.

Yet after their first assignment – the recovery of a rare medieval prayer book from an eccentric collector living in rural France – goes horribly wrong, Carmen ends up in the crosshairs of both the local police and a murderer!

With her target dead and the stolen book missing, she and her partner will have to pull out all of the stops to sleuth out the true killer’s identity – before their stay in France becomes permanent.

Introducing Carmen De Luca, an art sleuth with a nose for mystery and the job of locating valuable artwork stolen from museums around the world. If you love strong and resourceful heroines, puzzling mysteries, and a dash of art history, pick up Collecting Can Be Murder now!

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Unknown suspect. In the library. With the bookcase.

The Clue vibes are delightfully strong in Collecting Can Be Murder, a “locked house” mystery with a nostalgic Agatha Christie influence as well. The owner of a French villa is murdered during a party to celebrate his large collection of medieval prayer books, and a bad storm means no one could have gotten in or out other than the people already there. The guest list is full of quirky (and wealthy) characters with loud presences who look out for their own interests above all else… ergo, a whole host of suspects, not to mention the deceased’s rather odious – and self-centered – family members. Sure enough, there was a culprit among the people I didn’t trust… however, since I didn’t trust anybody that’s not saying a whole lot about my sleuthing skills haha!

Carmen De Luca is an intriguing heroine, having previously gone into retirement from her work with the Rosewood Agency after her husband’s death while undercover for the same organization. But now she’s back on a freelance basis with her old partner, (secretly) helping them once again track down stolen art and facilitate its recovery. I liked Carmen’s personality and the stealthy nature of her work, and the added mystery surrounding her husband’s missing body has my mind whirring with possibilities. Carmen’s partner, “the Baroness”, is an intriguing character in her own right, a wealthy patron of the arts who uses her connections to help the Rosewood Agency but must carefully guard her cover. One thing that makes their partnership so unique is that they aren’t the best of friends and some of the undertones between them make me think the Baroness is hiding something… so I’ve got my eye on her!

Bottom Line: Collecting Can Be Murder by Jennifer S. Alderson kicks off a brand new series with fascinating treasures, a house full of suspects, and a likable protagonist with an intriguing job. The mystery is full of layers and feels like ‘Clue meets And Then There Were None‘ in all the best ways. Alderson’s writing voice is always engaging and easy to read, and I’m already looking forward to where she takes Carmen’s character from here.

(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!

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Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, grew up in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she lived in Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning Zelda Richardson Mystery series, her Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries, and her Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels.

When not writing, she can be found perusing a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

For more information about the author and her upcoming novels, please visit

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10 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Collecting Can Be Murder by Jennifer S. Alderson

  1. Woo hoo – I’m so glad you enjoyed book one of the new series! I really appreciate all of your support with my Travel series, and am relieved you are interested in this new set of characters, as well. All the best! Jennifer

  2. Cathy French

    This sounds great. I’m looking forward to following along with her to solve this murder with her sleuthing.

  3. Lesley

    I’ve never heard of this series before. It sounds like it’s right up my alley. Thank you for featuring it on your blog.

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