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The Art of Betrayal: Kate Hamilton #3    by Connie Berry order for
Art of Betrayal
by Connie Berry
Order:  USA  Can
Crooked Lane, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Kate Hamilton owns her own antiques store in the United States, but she has been helping out her friend Ivor Tweedy by tending his store in the Suffolk, England village of Long Barston while he recovers from surgery. Kate has been in the UK for several months during which she met Detective Inspector Tom Mallory while helping him with a previous case. She seems to have a talent for solving mysteries.

Kate and Tom have become more than friends, although they aren't able to spend much time together because of his police work. She is delighted when he is able to come to the May Fair with her, since it's a beautiful day, and not only will she be able to satisfy her curiosity about this popular local event, but she will also be able to be with Tom. They watch the strange annual pageant which is based on a famous local folktale about a green maiden, and she enjoys seeing people she knows from the village dressed up and performing. Some of the characters seem absurdly mismatched from their actual life situations. For instance, 'Lady Barbara, even with a tattered shawl tied around her thin shoulders, couldn't have looked less like a peasant...'

As the pageant concludes and the actors are walking away, suddenly the joyful atmosphere of the May festival deteriorates into massive confusion when a bloodied woman staggers up to the young woman who was playing the green maiden, mumbles something, and falls down dead. Kate recognizes her as the same person who brought an ancient Chinese pottery urn into the shop that morning, leaving the valuable item in the shop for Ivor and Kate to sell. A commission on this urn will provide the shop with much needed cash, and Kate has locked it up securely before coming to the festival. When Tom begins to investigate the apparent murder, they discover the horrifying fact that the woman was actually murdered in the shop and the urn is missing.

The Art of Betrayal is the third Kate Hamilton mystery. Not only does Kate have a knack for solving murders, but she also gets a special tingle when handling particularly old antiques, a talent that serves her well. She has become fond of Ivor and many other people who live in and around Long Barston. So, with an able assistant watching her own shop for her, she's in no hurry to leave England. I really enjoyed this engrossing and enjoyable mystery, peopled by likeable and believable characters. Kate travels around the neighborhood, searching for clues, becoming anxious about driving on the wrong side of the road. She has many adventures before she's able to figure out why the woman was killed and who killed her.

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