"Gavels, Tinsel and Murder" By Victoria Tait: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Life’s Second Act

A year ago twenty-something Dotty Sayers lost her Army husband leaving her to carve out a life on her own. Bravely, she left the protection of the military community, said no to returning to her parent’s house, and took full charge of her life by finding a job, a place to live, and a purpose. She works for Akemans Antiques as a receptionist, but her eagerness to learn all she can about antiques has her now working more closely with the auctions, evaluations, and even taking on assignments to bid on particular items. Her good friends, many experts in the field, are helping with her education, and she’s meeting loads of other experts and influential people, and even taking a few courses, mostly online, at Oxford University. Today, though, she’s eager to attend in person the lecture by guest speaker Gilmore Chapman, senior paintings and pictures expert at a highly regarded London auction house. If only she didn’t find herself in ‘wrong place, wrong time’ circumstances entangling her in forgeries, robberies, and murder.

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Image Source Kanga Press
Gavels, Tinsel and Murder
Earns 5/5 Silent Auctions…Clever & Engaging!

Gilmore Chapman is quite charming and eager to assist Dotty in her efforts to gain expertise with antiques. After his lecture, she joins him for a drink, and while there, sees two men and their awkward arrivals. Dealer Jarod Wilcox and collector Ken Tyler seem to have hoped for a more quiet meeting, but instead are startled to see Gilmore. They politely decline his request to join them for a drink and then, depart uneasily together. Later that week, Dotty is asked to pick up at the Cotswold Gallery two paintings set for auction. She expects to see the owner of the gallery Jarod Wilcox, but instead it’s Ken Tyler learning Jarod had taken some time off. It’s even more curious, when Ken shows up at the auction, and several people are not happy.

It’s always hectic at Akemens when preparing for the monthly auctions, but Dotty is even busier assisting her friend and local officer Keya Varma organize a Christmas charity ball at Windrush Hall. The last charity, also held at the Hall, included a murder, so everyone has fingers crossed there won’t be a repeat. They’ve arranged for delicious catering from a local friend, music for dancing, and two auctions, one live and one silent, of many marvelous items including a L.S. Lowry painting donated to the cause by Lord and Lady Stanley-Rudd. It’s going to be a successful night. Well, until a guest is discovered collapsed on the dance floor…another dead body.

Holiday Treat! Victoria Tait’s Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series is a top favorite with a strong, female lead working to build her confidence along with some hidden nods to the classic author, Dorothy Sayers. The series highlights the antique’s biz, and although it may be filled with many honest sellers, brokers, and buyers, there is a darker side that Tait captures well. The victim is rumored to have had a handle on some of those questionable behaviors, under-the-table dealings, and confidential connections having recorded many indiscretions in his journal. This revelation made for a delightfully long list of suspects and secrets only murder could protect. Victoria’s well-developed, complex tale steers through financial matters, the condition of several marriages, a search for missing artwork, ins and outs of the art world, some feline and porcine antics, and of course, sprinkles of delightful Christmas cheer. It all ends in a shocking, yet a bit perilous, conclusion. Wow! Through the series evidence of a widespread art scam continues with some of the where, what, and how revealed, but although elusive, each book is getting closer and closer to the who.

Victoria Tait’s writing is well-rounded with sensory-laden descriptions and banter to illustrate mood and multi-generational personalities, and I love Dotty. It is exciting to see her taken with Gilmore and others (Sergeant Unwin) opening up the prospect of romance, however Victoria doesn’t stray from creating an independent young woman recognizing it is counterintuitive to have her revert back to being under someone else’s thumb. Dotty’s friends and colleagues are a joy to follow as they vary in age, temperament, and involvement in Dotty’s growth, but Tait’s also included the difficulties dealing with a loved one suffering with dementia an issue with which many can identify. From a clever well-paced mystery to a plethora of entertaining characters, this cozy is a top contender for my Best of 2022!

Alert! The next Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery book, Antique Tragedy, is on Amazon Preorder HERE set for a late December release. Trouble is up for auction. Budding antique expert Dotty Sayers needs a break after being framed for art trafficking and attending a vintage sale may be just what she needs. Of course, a murder and a theft isn’t. It is rumored Book 6, currently titled Priceless Betrayal won’t be far behind.

Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery

Hour to Come (FREE Prequel) Reviewed HERE

Faked Death (2022) Reviewed HERE

Valued for Murder (2022) Reviewed HERE

Bidding for Revenge (2022) Reviewed HERE 

Antique Tragedy (December, 2022)

Priceless Betrayal (working title; 2023)

Be a Big Fan of Victoria Tait!

A military wife herself, and having been stationed all over the world, Victoria Tait brings a unique perspective to her work. In her Kenya Kanga Mystery series, a top 2021 favorite, she uses her experience with living in Kenya and interest in the flora and fauna to create an exciting cozy series with paraprofessional veterinarian “Mama Rose” Hardie, who gets entangled with conservation as well as many suspicious deaths. Check out Amazon for the complete Kenya Kanga Mystery series.

The best place to find Victoria Tait and learn more about her and her books is through social media. Sign up for her newsletter on her website, and if you join the mailing list, you can download the prequel, “Hour is Come,” for FREE.

Facebook—Victoria Tait Author

Website—Victoria Tait

To enter to win a copy of Gavels, Tinsel and Murder (ebook or print winnner's choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "gavels,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 12, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. New series for me. The antique theme sounds interesting.

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  3. Sounds great - a young widow taking charge
    of her life. thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. I've been wanting to start this series! Thanks for the chance to win this book. lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. This series sounds intriguing and is new to me. Would love to review in Print format
    I hope I win

  6. This excerpt sounds intriguing and interesting. Love the theme
    Hope I Win

  7. Gavels, Tinsel and Murder by Victoria Tait is a book that I would enjoy reading.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  8. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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