Guest Libby Klein, plus #giveaway

News Flash: Lori Smanski is the lucky winner of Libby’s book! Lori, congratulations, and please check your email.

Edith here, so happy to welcome Libby Klein back to the blog. She has a new mystery out and it looks like a fun one!

Here’s the blurb for Antique Auctions Are Murder:

When vintage items go up for auction, gluten-free baker and B&B owner Poppy McAllister discovers some people will pay the ultimate price. . .
It’s peak summer season at the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, with tourists fluttering in and out and wreaking enough havoc to rival a Jersey Shore hurricane. Also back in town is Courtney Whipple and his family of antique dealers for the annual Cold Spring Village antique show. Courtney’s son Auggie has a unique piece he believes will fetch them a fortune if he can get it authenticated in time—a piece rival dealer Grover Prickle insists was stolen from his store.
Poppy and her Aunt Ginny attend the auction, hoping to bid on an armoire for the B&B, and discover a veritable armory for sale—everything from ancient blades and nineteenth century guns to such potential killing devices as knitting needles and a blacksmith hammer. Strangely, they don’t see either Auggie or Grover—or the mysterious item they both claim to own. Then during the auction, a body falls out of the very armoire Poppy was hoping to acquire, stabbed through the heart. Now, surrounded by competitive dealers and makeshift weapons, she must find out who turned the auction house into a slaughterhouse . . .

Before eBay, auctions happened in the likes of giant barns, tents, and ballrooms. One would register for a paddle – i.e. give your credit card and personal identification to someone in charge. This was so the auction house knew whom to shakedown should you have buyer’s remorse over your vintage deer antler candlestick holders and try to skip out on paying. Then you would sit in a stuffy room that smelled like your grandparents’ house while the auction staff paraded treasures across a stage to test your impulse control. 

BIRD-IN-HAND, PENNSYLVANIA – JULY 21, 2018: Annual Haiti Benefit Auction. Volunteers hold up a three-dimensional painting being sold to help the needy in Haiti.

If an item was really hot, or attendees were super jazzed, a bidding war would ensue with paddles flying and the auctioneer raising the bid in a frenzy of excitement. Winning was a rush! You didn’t just buy the beloved treasure. You beat out that yokel across the aisle who tried to steal “the precious” out from under you. The audacity of some people. It serves them right to lose that antique bronze candle snuffer. You take a moment to gloat over your winnings, and naturally, you tell them if they want it, they’ll have to pry it from your cold, dead, fist.

It was only later, while you were trying to figure out how to cart your new heirlooms home in your hatchback with bucket seats, that you had to face facts. You may have been tricked by your own competitive nature to spend the rent money on what some would call a frivolous purchase. Where exactly were you going to store a carousel horse? And would the blue velvet painting of a St. Bernard in a red smoking jacket even match your sage green sofa in the harsh light of day?

I will confess to being taken in by an exuberant auctioneer and my own lust for winning on at least two occasions. There may be more – but I’m only admitting to these. One was at the annual Cold Spring Village Antique show many years ago. The very same venue that is happening in my new release, Antique Auctions Are Murder. While perusing the various stalls showing their wares, I spotted a beautiful armoire that I just had to have. I gave no thought to the fact that it didn’t fit in my tiny bedroom, or that it would never fit in the trunk of my sporty Subaru. And knowing absolutely nothing about antiques and how to judge their worth, I plunked down my credit card and claimed my prize. 

After renting a U-Haul that cost as much as the armoire to get it home, we struggled to drag it up the ninety-degree L-shaped steps to the bedroom without destroying it or the walls completely. There was blue paint on one of the legs, and a piece was chipped out of the front panel showing that the supposed wood was actually a veneer. It was short and fat so you couldn’t hang anything full length inside without it dragging on the bottom. And there were three very large drawers on one side for all the sweaters I didn’t have, making it totally impractical to hold anything other than my thin layer of socks and underwear in each. 

It was too tall to place a TV on, too short to hang a dress in, too flimsy to hold anything heavy, and too narrow to store a winter coat. It took up so much space that you had to sidestep past it to get into the room. At one point it was such an eyesore that we stuffed it in the closet just so we could move around. 

The other treasure I had to have was an oil burning lamp because clearly we live in an Amish farmhouse in the eighteen hundreds where an oil burning lamp would be useful. Not to mention the attraction of having a small breakable item, literally on fire, at a toddler’s eye level, for my children to be obsessed with. When a genie didn’t pop out of the top, I realized I’d need to buy oil for the lamp, and having absolutely no idea where one would acquire Victorian genie lamp oil it was put away to collect dust like a knockoff Hummel figurine.  Over the years I broke the globe, chipped the paint, and moved it around to every room in the house because it never fit quite right no matter where I put it. 

Don’t even get me started on the number of eBay auctions I’ve overbid on just to win against someone who dared bid against me during the final moments, only to have to relist the item later because it wasn’t actually what I wanted in the first place. My antique-scouting skills obviously leave much to be desired. However, I can attest that no one was ever murdered at an auction I attended. I can’t speak to the ones where I wasn’t there. It is South Jersey after all.

Readers: Have you ever bought anything at an auction – live or on eBay? Was it everything you’d hoped for or did you have Libby-level buyer’s remorse? I’ll give a copy of Antique Auctions Are Murder to one lucky commenter who makes me feel better about myself.

Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her naughty cat Figaro off her keyboard. Libby was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that prevents her from eating gluten without exploding. Because of her love for cake, she now creates gluten free goodies from her professional kitchen and includes the recipes in her Poppy McAllister series. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling. She insists she can find her way to any coffee shop anywhere in the world, even while blindfolded. Follow all of her nonsense at

82 Thoughts

  1. I found my engagement ring on ebay on the estate sales items and showed it to my husband (as we were already married) and I love it. It’s just what I was looking for. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  2. Such a fun post! Welcome, Libby. I’ve bid on a few things at silent charity auctions, where you have to keep circling back and adding another bid right to the end. And I’ve donated naming rights to a character to live auctions, watching as people bid way up just to get their name in one of my books!

    1. That would be thrilling, Edith! I’d donate a coffee date with Libby but I’d be scared that no one would bid. I’d have to send my husband in to place a pity bid.

  3. LIBBY: I swear you made me almost snort out my lemon water as I read your post this morning!
    There is a certain irony that you ended up moving the armoire into the closet, lol.
    And how did you come up with those character names? Courtney, Auggie and Grover Prickle!

    Like Edith, I do bid on silent auction items at mystery conventions such as Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon. Sadly, I NEVER had the winning bid! But I do have one super sweet story related to one failed bid at LCC Vancouver in 2019. I placed my bid on the last evening for a set of 2 books, including an ARC of Wendy Hornsby’s Maggie MacGowen mystery. I checked the auction sheet results the next day and saw that I lost out by a bidder who placed a bid $2 more than mine. I was kind of bummed out. And then on Sunday morning, the lovely Cynthia Kuhn called out my name and ran down the hallway to give me the Hornsby
    ARC. She’s such a sweetheart!

    P.S. I got my Figaro magnet in the mail yesterday afternoon. I will smile each time I see Figaro under the hair dryer when I open my fridge.

    1. Once at Malice I was bidding on Hank reading my first twenty-five pages, and it went so high I dropped out. Afterwards she said, “You didn’t have to bid on that, I’ll read your pages.” And she did!

      1. Awww, that’s so sweet! But no surprise she did that…it’s HANK!

      2. Hi Edith,

        That story about Hank doesn’t surprise me at all.

        Hank actually is a dynamite auctioneer. And FUNNY!!! More than once, she’s had me bidding on things I didn’t really want or need and at a price level I couldn’t afford. Thank goodness, there were always others even more under her spell (I’ve always assumed she has special training in mass hypnosis), so I never did have to cough up the rent money.

        I’ve only won an auction once, and it was also at Malice. I bid on a character name in Rhys Bowen’s Lady Georgie book, Royal Flush. I was determined that I was going to win that auction (and yes, I spent more than I could comfortably afford), as a gift for my mother on her 90th birthday. We’d both read (and loved) the first Lady Georgie book (which had been released that year), so my mother ended up as the close confident and friend of Mrs. Simpson. Gad! Rhys even included me as my mother’s character’s horror of a son, “Fritzi,” who stole all the best sandwiches at tea time and was pinching all the maid’s bottoms. I loved it! And so did my mother!

    2. Grace, it is an honor to make you snort lemon water all over yourself. The irony of the armoire in the closet was not lost on me. It just added to my shame. I’m so glad Figaro made it all the way to you! And I agree about Cynthia. She is one of the sweetest people I know.

  4. Libby, congratulations on the new book!

    I have never bought anything at an in-person auction. I have never even attended one. But I have bought and sold auctions on eBay for years now. Generally I do get what I bought and I am happy with it. A couple times I’ve gotten screwed over but that is very few and far between.

    1. I have a terrible habit of bidding on things without realizing how big or small they are. I’ve won some lovely items that turned out to be miniatures.

  5. Too funny!! Nope, never been to an auction, seems I’ve been missing out on the excitement. But maybe I can help you feel better about yourself: you’re clearly adventurous, clever, talented plus the fact you’re a coffee shop hunter makes you Awesome with a capital A!!

    1. Dru, It is not too late! We can find you an auction. As long as I don’t hold the paddle for you, you’re probably safe.

  6. I love auctions. In-person, online and eBay. The problem I have run into is that sometimes what I really want is in a “box lot,” so I end up with a bunch of stuff I don’t want or need.

    1. I think those mystery lots because popular after a TV show where people would bid on storage units no knowing what was inside first. It sounds exciting, but I’d end up with a crate of doilies or a dead bird or something.

  7. Congratulations on the new book! I have never bid on anything at a live auction — I’ve only been to one. I have bid on a few things on Ebay and at a few silent auctions. The only thing I won was at a silent auction for the youth group mission trip at my church. I won a massage by one of our church members who was a massage therapist…it was wonderful! Thanks for the chance!

  8. The only things I’ve purchase on eBay were Halloween costumes when my kids were little, so I’ve never had the experiences. I’ve been tempted…but my self-control and practicality usually reasserts itself to say, “Seriously? You are NEVER going to use that!”

    1. I did not get the practicality gene. I did get the you-don’t-have-money gene, so that usually overrules my lust for bidding on eBay. A live auction is another situation entirely where my sensibilities are overruled.

  9. Thanks for the hilarious post, Libby! I’ve overbid on a few things over the years at silent auctions. Thankfully, they were at school fundraisers, so I didn’t bankrupt myself!

  10. Oh, I’ve bought my share of items at auctions from old coins to a stuffed black bear. Thankfully with money short when we were younger a lot of what would have been bring home pieces stayed at the auction house. Yes there were lots that were too big taking up too much space or had no real use but the look at that I often thought when dusting “Why did I buy this?”. Many I’m happy to say brought 1quite the profit when we moved a few years back and downsized. One of the things I bought that pleased me the most was a Beulah (daughter of Elsie the Cow) cookie jar that had been marked cow I was able to get for just a couple dollars and worth a LOT more. My most treasure auction buy is the grand prize quilt at an Amish auction. Now there’s an auction that can be dangerous to the pocket book. 🙂

    Never bought much on eBay. I’m more of a got to see it person. However, I’ve sold a LOT on there when we were trying to scrape up money to buy the Honda Goldwing trike we wanted. Sure helped the purchase come faster than it would have without it by being able to reach a wider range of customers for our “stuff”.

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Antique Auctions Are Murder”. Thank you for the chance to win a copy! Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  11. Welcome back, Libby. I remember going to an auction in Quonochontaug, Rhode Island when I was a kid. I bought a little antique basket with a tiny antique china doll in it. I still have it somewhere.

  12. I just bought a book in an online auction that’s going to cost more to ship than the book did. I had bids on several other lots but they went for more than I wanted to spend.

  13. You are so funny, Libby! Congratulations on the new book. I’ve been to auctions. Once I bought a box of things because it had a frame I liked in it. At the bottom of the box were to cute cross-stitch sayings. Bonus. I’ve been to outside auctions and almost got something I didn’t want while swatting at a fly.

  14. Thanks for visiting today, Libby! I have purchased items on eBay but I always seem to do it with the buy it now feature. My competitiveness mostly gets aimed at beating myself at goals and so external contests just don’t appeal to me. I did really enjoy reading about yours though!

    1. I love that buy it now feature when I really want the item. But it does remove those few days of regret where you pray someone else will bid so you don’t win after all when you’ve changed your mind.

  15. Gr8 news about your new book, Libby! Congratulations! My wife and I married at 19, in 1969, when we were in college, and did not have money or furniture. We went to an auction (first time for both) and proceded to buy a hand carved queen size bedroom set (missing a nightstand) plus a beautiful dining room set with a hutch and 8 chairs. We questioned our sanity at the time, because we practically had to eat at our in-law’s house, as we had no money left. Oh, the horror! It turned out that we treasured this furniture and moved it around the US as our jobs demanded until we downsized in 2015 and the couple who bought our house purchased the house, the furniture and the kitchen sink! We miss our beloved furniture, and still think it was one of the wisest things we did way back when. 🙂 Looking forward to reading ANTIQUE AUCTIONS ARE MURDER! Thank you for the reading fun!!! Luis at ole dot travel

  16. I only went to live auctions with my brother and my mother who were experts because of my brother’s antique shop. They wouldn’t let me overbid. But when I discovered ebay and was on my own, it was a whole different story! I wish I had back all the money I wasted on stupid stuff. I like your idea of learning how to sell on ebay. Congratulations on another book!

  17. Libby, congratulations on the new release! It’s right up my street. I grew up with a mother who loved auctions and auction houses. She knew her stuff. Unfortunately, it was not genetic so I confine my buys to ebay, barn sales, and antique stores.

  18. this is a fun post. I have not. But my son has bid on many things on ebay. once he bid on a civil war item and he was so excited. I guess it was a real find and supposed to be from that era. he won. but when it came it had a china stamp where many wouldnt think to look. and it didnt even look like the picture promised. sigh he is so much more careful now and has really gotten some wonderful items from the civil war era and WW2 era. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    1. Your son is not alone. Amazon, Etsy, and eBay have all been inundated with fake items from various countries overseas. It’s the world we live in now. At least at an auction, the auctioneer knows what he’s looking at.

  19. I have bought and sold both on eBay in the past. I’m talking quite some time back. More recently, I have bought a few things here and there on eBay but have not been disappointed in what I purchased.i always check feedback on a seller before I purchase from them.

  20. We used to live near an auction barn and went every Friday night. I got some amazing things from there. I have to admit that I have an ebay addiction, but I’ve gotten some amazing things from there too.

  21. Congrats on the new book. I’ve only been to a couple of live auctions and never got anything. Someone was always richer (stupider) than me and I saved the money. I only “buy now” on e-Bay. Thanks for a chance to win your latest.

  22. I’ve never been to a real live auction, but I’ve bought quite a bit on ebay over the years. I am usually pretty good about not over spending, but occasionally, I get caught up in the moment. Never had to relist anything, however.

  23. Hi Libby,

    Congratulations on the book! I particularly loved the cat holding the bidding paddle. Thank heavens my pets don’t go to auctions. Who knows what I’d have been carting home!

    I remember being taken to an auction as a teenager. I remember that there was this one guy who seemed to be bidding on every lot, but never won anything. I remember thinking it was odd, and mentioning it to my mother while we were driving home. She very gently explained to me about “shills.” There are few things to compare with the outrage of a teenaged innocent who has had his innocence shattered. I wanted to turn the car around and go back to the auction and publicly denounce the miscreant for the villain that he was, but my mother just laughed and continued driving home saying, “Welcome to the world.”

    1. That was a hard lesson. I had a similar hard lesson when I realized sellers on eBay had separate accounts for bidding against the buyers to drive the prices up. If the seller wins their own item they just relist it in a couple of days. I’m sad right along with you. Welcome to the internet.

  24. Love your post what fun it is.
    I can’t say I ever was to an auction that I recall but I have old stuff like that armoire from our homestead from Ireland.
    Never relisted anything though

    1. I feel like my armoire would have been far more special had it come from Ireland. It still would not have fit in the room, but it would have been loved more.

  25. What a fun post! Never been to a live auction. I have bid on items on ebay before but always get out bid! I have bought items that were much smaller than the picture showed, LOL.

    Thanks for the chance!!

    1. I have often bid on what I thought were large items only to have them arrive in tiny little boxes. I think I once bid on something that turned out to be a flat sticker of the item I thought I was getting.

  26. What a fun post! My auction tale is of my Mom asking me to bid on something, anything from our neighbor’s sale and I ended up with a chamber pot! Not something my Mom wanted to remember the neighbors by! The auctioneer simply called it a pot. I figured if nothing else my Mom would plant flowers in it! Congratulations on the new book. I cannot wait to read it. I love your gluten free recipes, since I am gluten intolerant.

  27. I have never been to an auction or bid on anything. I did take my teenage son with me to buy a new couch once and he talked me into buying a very fancy, impractical couch that I couldn’t afford. As soon as I got home and canceled the order and bought one I could afford.

  28. I’ve never been to an antique auction and I haven’t sold or bought anything on Ebay. Looking forward to reading your latest book, Maybe I’ll learn something.

  29. Hi , I have been to an action before, not an antique one, I can’t even remember what they were selling, but I didn’t buy anything there, it was a very , very long time ago. I did bid on a perfume I loved on eBay, well, I did win the bid, but to my surprise the expensive perfume was not like the one I had bought before, it smelled kind of like it but not quite the same. 🙁 needless to say I have not bid on anything on eBay anymore.

  30. No. I have never bought anything at a live auction. It sounds and looks like it would be fun and interesting, but we have never had the extra money to be able to attend one. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  31. No. I have never been to a live auction. They do look fun and exciting. We have never had the extra money to go. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  32. No, I have never been to a live auction. I have bought and sold things from Ebay and for the most part I have been happy. I am on a limited budget so I am really careful about what I buy these days.

  33. I was bigtime into eBay for a while. I bought and sold mostly kitchen stuff and books. A lot of rare pulp fiction books then. If I didn’t like something, I listed it right away on my site. Made some serious bucks at times for the pulps, not so much for the old kitchen stuff. I’ve since matured and have bid adieu to eBay and I’m playing with the big boys on Amazon. I get what I want in two days usually. Can’t beat that- plus, no bidding wars, no biting of the fingernails, and no swearing!

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