Dressed to Kill, An Antique Hunters Mystery by Vicki Vass

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Tedeschi Publishing (October 12, 2017)
Print Length: 177 pages
E-Book ASIN: B076DQ3R8T


Purchase Link – Amazon

In 1865, Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker, conspired to change the course of the Civil War. Crossing lines between North and South, the band of conspirators wove a plan that remained undiscovered for more than 150 years until Antique Hunter Anne Hillstrom finds one of Keckley’s gowns. She and fellow Antique Hunter CC Muller unravel the mystery that has left a trail of dead bodies, leading to the doorstep of their antique store, Great-Aunt Sybil’s Attic.
Dressed to Kill is the fifth book in the Antique Hunters Mystery Series. Rooted in history, the series reimagines real-life events blurring the line between fact and fiction.

The importance of history

History is vital to my stories and particularly my series, The Antique Hunters Mysteries. In each story, my two heroines, Anne and CC, find a relic that leads them to a previously historical event ranging from the American and French Revolutions, the Great Chicago Fire and now the Civil War. Of course, real-life events don’t always follow the fictional events.

My love from history stems from hours scouring libraries with my father, a history teacher. He read book after book about history from Tudor England to World War I and World War II. I followed after him, gobbling book after book about Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette and Anne Frank. I also read biographies of all the First Ladies. I always planned to write and now I write stories that include the history I grew up reading.

When I was young, we also traveled to historical places, touring Fort Henry in Ontario, Boston and Concord and Colonial Williamsburg. I remember walking over the bridge at Lexington and hearing the shot heard round the world.

I still travel to historical places, including cemetery tours in Charleston, the battlefields of Gettysburg and an old gold mine outside of Sacramento. I love strolling through areas steeped in history and picturing what the environment would have looked like and what people felt. I often draw upon those visions in my writing particularly  for the Antique Hunters series. When picking up antiques, I often wonder what people were thinking about or how they would use a piece. I have a brass urn in my bookcase that I have filled with precious uncut stones. It probably was originally a small planter. I love gazing on it.

In the fifth book in the series, Dressed to Kill, Anne and CC discover a dress they believe to have been sewn by Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker. Mrs. Lincoln had a long relationship with her dressmaker, leading her to divulge secrets upon her. This discovery by Anne and CC leads them down a long trail through the past, unveiling hidden secrets.

Writing this book required significant research. I researched Mary Todd Lincoln and her relationship with her dressmaker. I read several biographies of the First Lady. I spoke with the curator at the museum that houses the collection from the first lady’s stay at the sanitarium. Once I could place the known events in my head, it was time to diverge for plot purposes. I don’t shape the plot before instead rather letting the story take me where it wants to go.

This story proved particularly challenging as I wanted to stay somewhat true to the history but also create a uniquely individual experience for my characters, Anne and CC. So while some of the places are real such as the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, the Desoto House in Galena and the sanitarium in Batavia, all the scenes are imagined and none of it is real except in Anne’s head.

Thus Dressed to Kill, the fifth book in the series, was born. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

A fun romp through history and a roadtrip of adventure.
Having just been to Galena this summer, I was very excited to go back with the antique hunters and sleuthing Spoon Sisters.
If you love the mystery of history and get the feeling that objects have stories to tell, you do not want to miss this book.
The characters are wonderful. I get the feeling they are best friends who are often on the verge of stepping on each other's last nerve. They have similar interests but are enough different to challenge each other. Add in the cats antics for amusing moments and then there is Butterworth!

About the Author
 With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.
 Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.
 She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

  Author Links – WebsiteBlogFacebook 

Purchase Link – Amazon

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  1. Thank you, Laura, for letting me stop by and share my love for history and thank you for the review. I love Galena and wandering around.

  2. Really like the description of the book. Sounds like a great read.


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