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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sins and Needles by Monica Ferris (Crewel World #10)

Sins and Needles (A Needlecraft Mystery, #10)Sins and Needles by Monica Ferris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  When adoptee Lucille Jones comes to town researching her roots, Betsy notices that she bears a remarkable resemblance to local Jan Henderson. Betsy introduces the look-alikes, and they quickly hit it off. But then Jan's wealthy great-aunt is found dead in her bed, and Jan is the prime suspect. Lucille begs Betsy to help clear her new friend's name.

And while going through her aunt's effects, Jan finds an old embroidered pillow featuring a flag with 49 stars-an odd error for a woman so sharp at figures. Stranger still, the lining is stitched with a map of Lake Minnetonka. Betsy intends to follow the threads. Who knows-it could just possibly lead to buried treasure. Or, perhaps, to a secret that someone would kill to conceal

Another Crewel World installment, set in Minnetonka, MN.  Crewel World store owner, Betsy Devonshire is known for her amateur sluthmanship as well as her counted cross stitch and knitting.  Admired by her friends and grudgingly respected by the local detective, she helps resolve mysteries when she can. 

A local mother, Susan, and daughter Jan, are set to inherit a butt-load of money from eccentric Aunt Edyth, who didn't believe women should have to rely on men.  Edyth set up her inheritance to be distributed to various charities and down the female line of her side of the family, cutting of any male relative, including Susan's brother, Stewart.  To top the tater, Lucille and her Husband show up in town claiming to be a relation via adoption and thus, entitled to a cut of the inheritance.

When Edyth is discovered to have been murdered with a double zero knitting needle to the spinal column, this casts Susan, Jan and Lucille into the path of the local Orono police detective as well as Betsy.  Someone is guilty, and Betsy is going to find out who. 

First half of the book was setting up our cast of character - who's related to who, who is who, why Aunt Edyth was who she was, getting everyone together.  Another quarter of the book was moving our respective cast of characters around and establishing motive.  The last quarter of the book was where things became interesting. 

What I enjoy about this particular series is our heroine, Besty Devonshire, who is a down to earth, retired woman, new to running a business.  People come to Betsy, she asks questions, she listens, she puts two and two together.  Unlike a couple of other mystery cozies that I read, Betsy doesn't take off on her own across the countryside to catch the villain on her own, she doesn't go sneaking into places she doesn't belong, she doesn't set traps (that I'm aware of) to catch the thief.  Betsy seems to know when to call in help and the police.  I appreciate that touch of realism. 

My main complaint with this story was the ending was very abrupt.  The plot was moving toward climatic conclusion, I was expecting revelation and surprise...then bam! resolution.  Wrong kind of surprise.  

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