Monica Ferris – Needlecraft Mysteries #1, 1999
Betsy Devonshire escapes her life in San Diego to visit her sister Margot in Excelsior, Minnesota, where Margot owns a needlework shop called Crewel World. Shortly after the sisters reunite, a dead body is found in the badly ransacked shop.
The first book in a cozy mystery series is always enjoyable as one never knows which characters will become regulars – so anyone in the cast could be the murderer. Is it the cop? The best friend? The lawyer? The author occasionally shifts the point of view among several of Excelsior’s inhabitants, which might or might not help to rule out suspects – but no spoilers here!
It’s best not to read about this book online before listening to/reading the actual story; the most shocking event in the book is readily revealed in the first paragraph of the Goodreads description.
Narrator Susan Boyce has an idiosyncratic delivery in the Audible version, released in 2011; it’s perfectly suited to a story set in the Upper Midwest, and she speaks with a measured cadence akin to the stitching described in the book – but she occasionally misses the mark (a man who is described as having a ‘midwestern twang’ sounds like he’s fresh out of Texas).
I enjoyed this story enough to move on immediately to the second in the series, Framed in Lace. Stay tuned for that review soon. This would be a five star review if not for one plot weakness, which I won’t reveal due to spoiler potential.