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Stealing with Style
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Sterling Glass has built a nice appraisal business in her small Virginia town. She's sought after to examine antiques, research their history, present her clients with approximate values, and help them distinguish good antiques from not so good ones. And when family skeletons are unearthed among the heirlooms, she is the soul of discretion. It's a world she navigates with ease. But that's before she's called in to examine a diamond brooch found tucked inside an oven mitt over at the Salvation Army thrift store. And before the appraisal of an extremely modest estate turns up a tea urn--hidden inside a basket--worth at least fifty grand. Things aren't adding up, and Sterling, never one to let go of loose ends, starts asking questions. It's not long before she uncovers an intricate plot involving a slew of antique pieces, the oldest families in Leemont, some sophisticated scammers, crooked antiques dealers, and shifty people at the best New York auction houses. Add to that one elderly man who's just trying to preserve his family's treasured collection of bronze and ivory Art Deco sculptures, and suddenly Sterling finds herself ensnared in a mystery laced with greed, deceit, and danger. Stealing with Style, the first in the Sterling Glass series, introduces a writer of great wit who has a grand sense of the mystery hidden in our most treasured possessions.
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"What good luck!/ She has found his bones." So begins a litany of horrors from an Iraqi poet who witnessed Saddam's regime's atrocities firsthand. Mikhail, 40, works in Arabic, Chaldean and English, and had to flee Iraq in the years just before the current war; after a stint in Jordan, she now lives in Michigan, where the poems in the first section here were composed over the past few years. They are forceful and direct, with ironies that ring through their blunt admonishments: "Please don't ask me, America./ I don't remember their names/ or their birthplaces./ People are grass-/ they grow everywhere, America." In some, the speaker imagines life in wartime Iraq or writes in one of its many voices, including mythic ones ("I am Inanna," begins one in the Sumerian love goddess' voice, "[a}nd this is my city"). In others, she channels grief or anger, as in a bitter and beautiful set of "Non-Military Statements." The book's other two sections contain poems from the earlier collections Almost Music (1997) and The Psalms of Absence (1993) respectively; their coverage of the Gulf War makes clear just how much, for Iraqis, war has been a nightmarish way of life, with the U.S. playing a recurrent role. Stark and poignant, Mikhail's poems give voice to an often buried, glossed-over or spun grief. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Sterling Glasss, a small-town Virginia antiques appraiser, aficionado, and sleuth, discovers a fabulous Paul Storr silver tea urn amid the effects of a recently deceased bank client. Subsequent finds in thrift shops raise red flags. Then, during a New York trip, she meets an old man whose collection of rare, handmade dolls seems under attack by thieves. An insurance claim leads her to the root cause: a clever conspiracy to bilk families of their antiques treasures. This first novel in a debut series offers a fascinating look at the world of antiques-all the way from pickers to New York auction houses. Fans of other antiques mysteries (e.g., Sharon Fiffer's Buried Stuff, Deborah Morgan's Marriage Casket) and collectors especially will enjoy the steady flow of facts. A longtime antiques appraiser and the author of numerous books on antiques (Emyl Jenkins' Appraisal Book), Jenkins lives in Richmond, VA. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Hats off to a heroine of a certain age with plenty of smarts." --Booklist "A highly entertaining tale of thieving, mystery and fraud....Delightful." --"The New York Times" " Hats off to a heroine of a certain age with plenty of smarts." -- "Booklist" " A highly entertaining tale of thieving, mystery and fraud....Delightful." -- "The New York Times"

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