One Man’s Treasure is a thoroughly enjoyable read and visit down memory lane with familiar characters. You can easily pick this up without having read the previous books, as I had only a passing memory of the characters and situation when I started this latest book, so don’t worry if you’re a latecomer to the series. Those that remember the series more than my faint memory will appreciate a lot of the nuances and details that connect to the previous books. The formula is similar for almost all the books in the series where Peter finds a mystery and gets in trouble trying to solve it. Yet the crisp writing and endearing narrator help overcome any sense of “been there, done that” with a repetitive formula.
This time Peter is investigating the death of a fellow artist. Peter’s boyfriend Nick always admired Roger’s ceramics and the two had an easy friendship. When Rodger collapses in front of Nick and Peter at a farmer’s market and later dies, Peter is obviously going to investigate. He gets a little help from a local policewoman trying to solve the case and he’s off to snoop in all possible ways. He employs the time-honored traditions of evading a questioning boyfriend, involving his best friend in all manners of illegal activity, and dodging his boss’s deadlines. It all turns out ok in the end though and perhaps even better than ok.
The actual mystery is nicely presented and laid out with attention to detail that doesn’t overwhelm or bury the actual crime. The death in this case is well incorporated into the story but still allows enough room for Peter and Nick to make some significant relationship decisions. The story offers a look into their life together while letting Peter do his job (which is a lot of computer research and some illegal snooping). There are enough clues to figure out what happened if you’re inclined but the flow of the story is so easy and entertaining that you could just go along for the ride if you want.
Peter and Nick’s relationship makes some big changes in this installment but they’re presented in quiet, almost subdued ways. This doesn’t take away from the impact of those changes and decisions so much as highlights the strength and stability already present in their relationship. Because the narrator is solely Peter’s POV and he’s not always the most reliable narrator, there is a sense of uncertainty to Nick and his reactions. The couple is ridiculously in love and happy true, but Nick is definitely a mystery man that brings tension and possibility to the story.
The writing is very clean and entertaining as always. Peter is an engaging and frankly adorable narrator with his mild self-absorption and quirks. You really get a feel for how well Nick and Peter are suited to each other and furthermore how Peter actually can solve these various crimes without wild antics. This is likely to be a crowd pleaser story even for those who haven’t been following the series but then of course will want to.