Worth Its Weight in Old

New case, new boyfriend – that’s great. But new insecurities are popping up, too, for Karen Maxwell, a divorced mom who’s trying to make it as an investigator in her brother’s firm. Hired to find out who’s been damaging art at a local gallery, she needs to get the guilty party to confess. But she can’t even get her nine-year-old son to confess to playing soccer in the house. It won’t be easy…

Paintings slashed…  Furniture broken… Someone is wreaking havoc at the Blue Moon Art & Antiques Gallery. Worth its Weight in Old by K.D. Hays

Fledgling private investigator Karen Maxwell goes undercover as a salesclerk to find out who’s behind the vandalism, and why. She learns little from Vicki, a friendly clerk who seems interested only in rearranging pictures to display them—and her designer clothes and sports car—to maximum advantage. Eric, the shop’s surly, tight-lipped porter, would run over her with a hand truck before he’d answer any questions. The guilt may even lay with the shop owners themselves, despite the fact that they’re the ones who hired her.

Karen’s investigation seems to be going nowhere—just like her once-promising relationship with Brian, the handsome blacksmith who could sweep her off her feet in a minute… if he’d ever take a break from working with the church youth group. Frustration mounts as her dreams of romantic evenings turn into endless rehearsals for the church Christmas play.

If Karen can’t crack the case soon, she may find herself busted back to plain, old office manager, her dreams of a career as a private investigator—and a life with Brian—as old and busted as the Blue Moon’s vandalized antiques.

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Note: This book was first published in print as part of the Heartsong Presents: Mysteries series from Barbour Publishing. That version is out-of-print, but autographed copies are available through AuthorsDen.

The Story Behind the Story

This story started with a plain old chair in my dining room. To be exact, the inspiration came from seeing the chair out of my dining room. It was in the window of a store in Baltimore. I was coming home after a long day trying to force my attentions on people at the Baltimore Book Festival, where I had been manning a table for my publisher all weekend. The chair and its twin, both showing signs of years of everyday use, sat in the front window of an art dealer. They looked tired, but hopeful. I immediately fell in love with them and to my extreme astonishment, saw from the price tag that I could actually afford to buy them. (Did I mention that they were pretty worn out?) The art gallery was closed for the evening, but I came back the next day. While the chairs no longer beckoned to me from the window, they were still there, just moved to a less visible place in the store. I bought them and carried them to the car, arriving just before a waiting tow truck prepared to haul away my means of transportation.Kate Dolan's chair provided the inspiration for Worth its Weight in Old

The chairs now sit in my dining room and because they’re light, they got moved around a lot serve as extras wherever we need a chair. Remembering them in the window of an art gallery was what inspired the plot of this Karen Maxwell mystery. I’m sure that like my store in Worth its Weight in Old, the gallery in Baltimore made more money from original artwork than from antique furniture. I have no idea why they put those old chairs in the window on that particular day instead of the post-modern painting that replaced them the next day. I’m just glad they did, or I never would have seen them. It may be the one and only time in my life I buy something I’ve seen in the window.


Worth Its Weight in Old is a delightful glimpse into the chaotic life of Karen Maxwell. Her struggles as a working mother embarking on a new career really resonate with readers. I find K. D. Hays’ characters believable and very eccentric, and her plots are often the stuff of real private investigators, not the glitz and glamor of Magnum PI. They always take me away from my day-to-day struggles.”
–Janie Franz, MyShelf.com

Worth Its Weight in Old is a fun, fast-reading mystery…the characters are interesting and it’s a pleasure reading a novel void of foul language and physical violence. Worth Its Weight in Old is a part of the Heartsong Presents Mystery series, and is appropriate and recommended reading for mystery lovers of all ages.”
–Betty, MysteriousReviews.com

Favorite Quote:

“Vicki led the way, again with gestures that made me feel I should be stowing my tray table for takeoff” (chosen by Ellen Tarver, SpitnPolish Editing)

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More Info:

Writing Christian mysteries on Family Fiction

Interview on The Suspense Zone