I’ve had this series on my radar for quite some time but never came across a copy until recently. It’s sort of a chick lit/cozy mystery series about a jewel thief living in London. I love books about thieves and heists so this one sounded light, fun, and right up my alley.
The first book is Brilliant and introduces us to the heroine, Kick Keswick, an American who lives in Paris and works for an auction house. She had a rough childhood and decided to transform herself into a jewel thief and live a glamorous and independent life. When she took a trip to London in college, she met a wealthy older man who owned the auction house (Ballantine & Company) and became his mistress. He taught her all about the finer things in life and she became kind of a Robin Hood (minus the giving back to the poor) of jewel thieves because she’d rob wealthy people who she felt deserved it.
The main story of the book is that Ballantine & Company is going bankrupt and is taken over by a guy named Owen Brace. Kick decides to stick around and help her beloved auction house get back on its feet. In the meantime she gets caught up in some shady business and starts unraveling a mystery.
What I liked most about this book was that it’s a mystery without murder. I think I’ve mentioned before that one of the reasons few mysteries appeal to me is that people are dying left and right in them. This one instead revolved around theft, counterfeiting, and other more white collar crimes. There was a bit of murder in one of the character’s lives and back story but it wasn’t at the center of the book.
I also really like the heroine. She’s not self-deprecating or down on herself, although she does bring up her age and how she was born twenty-five pounds overweight. She’s in her 50s I think but sometimes her remarks about her age and looks made me feel like she was in her 70s. She also loves the luxurious pleasures of life such as good food and wine and doesn’t exercise, yet she’s at peace with her body even though she might be a little larger than average. Usually women harping about their looks and weight is a turn-off but it was so rarely done and in such a tasteful way that I wasn’t put off. Maybe it’s because she’s confident in herself no matter what.
The series is also really escapist due to the fact that she’s a jewel thief. She loves fine gems and describes them really well. I found myself Googling some of the jewels she mentions and they were absolutely gorgeous. She also appreciates nice things and goes out of her way to describe all the decadent food she’s eating (you’ll probably get hungry reading this), the wine she selects, the designer clothes she wears, and how pristine and beautiful her flat is. Reading this book inspired me to always surround myself with beauty and things I enjoy.
Sure, some aspects of the story are a bit unrealistic but it’s so much fun reading that I didn’t mind overlooking them. And I have to say the first 3 books were more enjoyable. I’m not sure what happened with the last one as it doesn’t have a one-word title like the others, and the layout of the book was different with no prologue or epilogue, and each chapter had a heading to tell the location which none of the other books had. Still, it was lots of fun to read.
In short I really enjoyed these books and they were the perfect light (but not too light) beachy reads. I wish the author would write more in this series but the last book came out in 2007 and she hasn’t written anything since. I do recommend reading the first two in order but then the others can be read out of order and still enjoyed.
Priceless (Book #2)
Perfect (Book #3)
Friends in High Places (Book #4)
My Rating: ★★★★☆