Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Killer Collection Book Reviewed

Reviewing Book One In A Mystery Series

pottery wheel
Forming clay from pottery wheel image courtesy of Pixabay.com
A Killer Collection is a book that I found to read last week. The title caught my attention immediately because I was a part of the antiques and collectibles world for many, many years. Before I finished the first chapter, I was truly hooked in the plot.

I was really impressed with Ellery Adams knowledge of the antiques and collectibles market and her ability to spin a yarn of believable mystery. 

In this first book of her antiques and collectibles mystery series, Ms. Adams concentrates on the pottery collectors. More specifically, the collectors of pottery made by the North Carolina potters. Having been in the business, I know that collectors will often hone in on items made in a specific area or region and pottery is no exception. 

When I first entered the interesting world of antiques and collectibles as an employee in an antique mall, one of the items that was often requested and hard to find was a kind of pottery called "ugly jugs". I will admit that when I first saw one, I was unsure why anyone would want one and more importantly why anyone would pay exorbitant amounts of money to have one in their collection. These face jugs were called ugly for a reason. They were pretty hideous in my opinion.

Face Jug or Ugly Jug image part of Public Domain

As you can see from an example above, it might be difficult to find the beauty in a piece like that. Although, I never really fell in love with this type of pottery; I did begin to appreciate the uniqueness of each one. I also was intrigued by the history of them. These ugly jugs were originally made by African-American slaves and were sometimes referred to as grotesque jugs or monkey jugs. No one is quite sure why they began to make them but eventually white potters started to create them and they were often used to store liquids, most typically alcohol.

So, back to the book. Ms. Adams brings us into a story that involves the makers of the ugly jugs along with other types of pottery in book one A Killer Collection. She leads us to an event that collectors look forward to known as a kiln opening. She does an excellent job of showing how people can become almost frenzied over the prospect of obtaining a new piece for their growing collection.

Being a fan of pottery and the beautiful pieces that one can find, I loved her weaving into the story the types of glazes that are used and how often a specific potter can be identified with a specific color. It becomes one of their trademarks in many cases. It is one of the ways items can be identified as authentic and sometimes even partially dated by specific colors used, marks on the piece, etc.

At a kiln opening that is attended by several local collectors, an obnoxious man who is known to have a most impressive collection is found on the ground unconscious. Paramedics are called and George-Bradley is placed on a gurney and driven away in a silent ambulance. To paraphrase a character, "George-Bradley won't be shoving anyone around anymore. He is dead. They don't turn the lights and sirens on with a deceased body on board."


As Molly Appleby tries to figure out what happened to George-Bradley she finds many prime suspects on her journey. We are swept into a world of antiques, collectors, potters and interesting characters. I really appreciated her knowledge of antiques, auctions, and the sometimes quirkiness of the collecting scene. Having been a part of all of this for so long, I could recognize the accuracy in her portrayals as she slowly turned the wheel and created a most enjoyable story.

If you love a good mystery, happen to enjoy antiques and want something good to read; I can highly recommend this book by Ellery Adams. I plan to read more in her series, myself.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

8 comments:

  1. Okay you have me.......I love mysteries and this one will go on my list of to read. Just finishing up some of Grishams murder mysteries and lawyer tales.....thanks for a great review.

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  2. Wonderful review, Beverly. I love mysteries and always enjoy it when the author is very knowledgeable in a specific area (like with the pottery background in this book) and weaves that information into the story. One can learn so much from these references and then, with the mystery to solve, the story takes on an interesting highlight. I especially like it when an author does this with a place or location (such as the history of a city or a specific building or section within a city).

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  3. Bev, I've noticed recently all the mysteries with "hobby" connections. Of course pet connections and food connections are easy to find, but it's fun to see this and other stories that revolve around collections and other hobbies that readers enjoy. Sounds like this one was written just for you. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

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  4. Sounds like another great mystery book that I need to read! Since I love antiques, antique stores, crafts and craft shows, the story-line and setting would definitely grab my attention too. I have to say, I do think those jugs are aptly named.

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  5. How interesting about the pottery history and the book's storyline. Thank you for this review. I will never get through all of the recommended books in my to-read list! :)

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  6. It sounds like besides reading a good mystery, one would learn a lot about the creation of pottery while reading this book.

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  7. Oh, you've got me sucked in with your review, it sounds right up my alley. I'm adding it near the top of my to read next list!

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  8. Sure sounds interesting, a book I would never think to pick up, but after your review I certainly would!

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