Saturday, June 24, 2023

Collecting Can Be Murder by Jennifer S. Alderson | Blog Tour with Guest Post and Giveaway


Collecting Can Be Murder (Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries) by Jennifer S. Alderson

About Collecting Can Be Murder

Collecting Can Be Murder (Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - France
Traveling Life Press (May 31, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 908316974X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-9083169743


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!

Carmen De Luca Art Sleuth Mysteries:
Collecting Can Be Murder
A Statue To Die For (available 8/31/23)
Forgeries and Fatalities (available 2/29/24)

These mysteries contain no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.

About the Character Guest Post

What is an Art Sleuth?

Hello! I’m Carmen De Luca, art sleuth for the Rosewood Agency. Technically I’m not a detective or private investigator, simply because I don’t have my license. My actual job title — fine arts and antiques recovery specialist — is a mouthful and sounds boring at parties. Not that I go to many during which I can reveal my true identity. I usually only attend black-tie events while on assignment and working undercover as a journalist or as the personal assistant to a Baroness.

My true employer, a little-known company called the Rosewood Agency, specialized in the kinds of art loss cases that no other organization was able to solve. Most of those who approached us for help are the directors of museums and galleries, hoping we could locate the pieces stolen from them.

The Rosewood Agency was the brainchild of Reginald Pinky Taylor Rosewood — or Reggie to his friends and employees. My boss was the hyper-intelligent founder of several successful technology-driven companies, with a private art collection to rival that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After several of his paintings were pilfered and the cops had no luck tracing the thieves or artwork down, my billionaire boss created his own network of professionals to investigate the crime. His team was composed of the best art recovery specialists and researchers money could buy — and in Reggie’s case, that meant the absolute cream of the crop.

After they had successfully tracked down and recovered almost all of his stolen property, Reggie saw no point in disbanding his merry bunch of freelancers, so he began discreetly offering their services to other cultural organizations in need. Rosewood’s databases were soon full of missing items, and the small team had to expand exponentially in order to keep up with all of the research and legwork needed to check the plethora of incoming leads.

I was part of the third round of hires, brought in to verify objects that had been traced to a certain owner or location. Because I spoke fluent Italian and Spanish, I was a good fit for the European team.

The vast majority of our leads came in through our ICT department. After the missing object was entered into the company’s databases, the agency’s computer nerds set up a spiderweb of internet alerts that pinged them whenever a reference to that object was discovered online. It was shocking how often a stolen work appeared in a gallery’s website, an online auction catalog, or a seller’s website such as eBay. Other leads came in as tips via a network of trusted contacts working at cultural institutions around the world.

In rare cases, we were able to find a lead to a missing work the week it was entered into our databases. However, it typically took months, or even years, for a missing object to surface again. Experience had taught me that the longer it took, the more likely the object had changed hands so often that it had been whitewashed of its dubious provenance. The current owner usually had no idea that their cherished painting, sculpture, or book was actually a stolen item.

As soon as an object did surface, the next step was to verify that it was indeed the same one that we sought. No matter how solid the lead, before we publicly humiliated a wealthy patron of the arts by accusing them of harboring something stolen, we had to be one hundred percent certain the person really did possess the object in question, as well as learn more about how they acquired it. Computers couldn’t verify a find based on a keyword or photograph, nor could they tell if the person knew they were buying a stolen object, or thought it was clean. That took a personal touch — and usually a woman’s.

That’s where Rosewood’s art sleuths, such as myself, came into play. My job could best be described as surveillance and reconnaissance. My art history background and martial arts expertise made me an ideal candidate for this position. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the natural charisma, gigantic bank account, or extensive social network unique to old money that would have granted me casual access to the art lovers we suspected of owning stolen items.

That’s where other operatives, such as my current partner Lady Sophie, came in. Wealthy art lovers like her had enough money and connections to get me close to my targets. Lady Sophie Rutherford used her title and status as an obscenely rich art collector to get me into parties and homes that would normally never be open to someone like me. Among her wealthy friends, the Baroness was known for her catty conversation, well-informed gossip, and exquisite taste in art, which was why they welcomed her.

Once she got me close to our target, it was my job to handle the rest, in a way that ensured her name and status remained unscathed. Armed with only my wits, chloroform spray, and a black belt in karate, I was tasked with verifying that the object in question was indeed the one we sought, as well as documenting its current state and location — preferably with photographic evidence.

Under normal circumstances, getting the object back was someone else’s problem and usually involved a team of lawyers. Yet, if I felt that the object in question might disappear or be destroyed before Rosewood’s legal team could act, then I was authorized to remove it from the premises.

That is the situation I now find myself in. I was just about to recover a medieval prayer book, when my target was murdered and the book stolen again! To make matters worse, the local detective is certain I had something to do with the crime.

I can’t pull Lady Sophie into this mess, which means I’ll need to help the police find the real killer, if I want to get out France with my cover still intact. Wish me luck!


About Jennifer S. Alderson


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

Author Links

Purchase Link - Amazon 

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