As promised, I will be featuring four delightfully spooky Halloween-themed cozy mysteries for the rest of this week!
To start things off is Monica Ferris’ latest in her “Needlecraft Mystery” series, “Blackwork.”
It's approaching Halloween and Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, is once again up to her pins and needles in a murder mystery.
In the town of Excelsior, Minnesota, Leona Cunningham, owner of a popular microbrewery, is a practitioner of Wicca, the nature-based religion often mistaken for black magic. But that doesn't bother the thirsty crowds. However, after one too many pints, Ryan McMurphy begins to blame Leona for the series of "accidents" that have happened throughout town. When he ends up dead without a mark on his body, Leona starts receiving mysterious phone calls claiming she killed the man with a spell. So she turns to Betsy's for help in finding the real killer.
While Betsy is busy searching out clues to McMurphy’s murder, Betsy’s faithful friend and co-worker Godwin is holding down the fort at the needlework shop as some of the regular stitchers are learning how to do “blackwork,” an intricate reversible form of embroidery. (Ferris includes instructions for a cute blackwork pattern at the end of the tale.)
This is Monica Ferris’ 13th book in the Needlecraft Mystery series, appropriate for Halloween, don’t you think? This was my first look at Ferris’ work, and I found her storyline and characters fascinating and enchanting. A casual reader can pick up on the relationships and setting fairly quickly. I’d like to go back to the beginning and meet all of the residents of Excelsior and catch up on all the fun Betsy and her friends seem to have, when there isn’t a murder to be solved!
For more information on Monica Ferris, check out her website at http://www.monica-ferris.com/
Thanks to Megan Swartz at Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime for the review copy of “Blackwork.”
Tomorrow - Joyce and Jim Lavene's "Ghastly Glass!"