Some of the stories come from the twins' childhood in upstate New York (they started keeping antiques dealer diaries when they were 12); one riveting anecdote is set more recently in the auction room of Sotheby's, circa January 1999. But all of the treasure-hunting episodes are imbued with the drama and thrill of the chase as well as the bliss of aesthetic appreciation.
It doesn't matter whether you, yourself, have swapped bids in tense auction rooms for million-dollar furnishings, or traipsed through small-town flea markets in search of sleepers, or gained the bulk of your antiquing know-how while firmly planted in your easy chair watching the Antiques Roadshow. Because the Keno twins know their stuff and they evoke the rich details of antiques, such as the creamy surfaces of 18th-century ceramics and the plum-pudding mahogany sheen to the rare secretary bookshelf. The passion that drives them is evident on every page of the book, and that emotion is the hook that allows them to so effectively share their fascination with the reader. To read their stories is to enter their world, and while the color photographs are certainly appreciated, the prose does a fine job by itself to portray the lure of the Seymour table and the Canton ginger jar. Along the way, the life stories and distinctive personalities of the twins come through, too. By time you finish the final chapter, you will have learned a lot about American antiques, and even more about the happy souls of two brothers pursuing their craft. --Stephanie Gold