by Sandra Murphy
If you enjoy crafts and mysteries you may enjoy this book by Betty Hechtman. Sandra reviews Behind the Seams and interviews Betty. At the end of this article is a chance to win a copy of the book & a half pound of Classical Coffee’s French Roast to enjoy with your mystery reading.
Behind the Seams by Betty Hechtman
Cee Cee Collins is well-known for her skill as an actor. She’s also known for her crocheting skills but not so much for her ability in the kitchen. When her new movie creates Oscar buzz, Cee Cee’s invited to demonstrate her favorite old family recipe on the Barbara Olive Overton television talk show. The problem is, Cee Cee isn’t a cook and doesn’t have an old family recipe, so Molly Pink to the rescue with her recipe for a baked pancake and lessons on how to make the delicious dessert (recipe included in the book). Cee Cee is understandably nervous and asks Molly to come to the show’s taping as moral support. Too bad Adele gets wind of the invitation and talks Molly into taking her along. A scene is inevitable.
Cee Cee’s niece Nell is a production assistant (gofer), much put upon by the show’s obnoxious producer, Robyn Freed. When Robyn collapses and dies after Nell brings her favorite drink and special sweetener, Nell’s the immediate suspect. Cee Cee’s the leader of a crochet group that meets at Shedd and Royal bookstore, Molly’s employer. Pressure from Cee Cee and the group puts Molly in the middle of another investigation.
The book moves at a fast pace, intertwines Molly’s hectic home life of a boyfriend who drops in, his son, their dog, her dog and two cats, her temporarily returned home son and a son who drops by to urge her to lead a more sedate life. Add in pressure to marry the boyfriend, move to a condo, quit her job—well, solving a murder starts looking pretty good.
It was nice to see more of Mason, Molly’s attorney friend in this book. Previously, he’s taken a back burner to Barry the boyfriend. Adele remains her rabid pro-crochet/anti-knit self. Bob the Barista is a little more prominent this time and for the good. Nell—she’s a typical self-centered young adult and goes from “everything will be all right, I’m innocent” to “OMG they’re going to arrest me” panic.
Barry’s again making decisions without Molly’s input and she takes too long to set him straight—she should know better by now. On the other hand, why rock the boat until you have to?
I didn’t guess the murderer or the motive, predicted what would happen in a sub-plot and never saw the cliff-hanger ending coming. Write faster, Betty. I need to know what happens next.
Interview With Betty Hechtman
Sandra: The television studio—where did that come from?
Betty: My husband has been an agent, a manager and a producer. I got to be part of the entourage. I’ve been backstage, gone to lots of parties and award shows, both behind the scene and in the audience. I have a photograph of Oprah hugging me.
Sandra: The recipes—yours or from readers?
Betty: The recipes are all mine, though the pound cake was my mother’s. She loved to make birthday cakes for people who didn’t usually get them and she always used that recipe. I love the pancake recipe. It’s easy and so showy. It also smells wonderful.
Sandra: Why is Adele so dead set on crochet and so anti-knitting?
Betty: Adele is wacky about crochet because she feels it doesn’t get its due. I’ve been surprised to find many yarn store views are knit centric and seem disdainful toward crochet. A yarn store in Northern California even had a sign in the window that said “Crochet Friendly”. I’m afraid Adele will never calm down completely.
Sandra: How many more books can we count on?
Betty: I have a contract for three more books, the first of which will come out in November. It’s called If Hooks Could Kill. I’m also writing another series about yarn craft retreats. I think it’s going to be called Yarn2Go.
Sandra: Do you get tired of writing about the same characters?
Betty: I like writing about the same characters and there are always some new ones in each book.
Sandra: How does Molly maintain her sanity with all that’s going on in her life? There are always so many people around!
Betty: You know how they say write about what you know–my son and husband work together and our house is their office. There is always something going on at my house, all hours of the day and night.
Sandra: Where do the red-eyes and black-eyes come from?
(Red eyes are a cup of coffee with a shot of espresso added; black eyes are a cup of coffee with two shots of espresso—for the dedicated aka addicted coffee drinker!)
Betty: This goes back to write about what you know. I drink red eyes and black eyes and French Roast is the perfect choice.
Sandra: How did you decide on a bookstore/bakery in back/character that bakes, knits and crochets/yarn section in the store/community group? That’s a lot to have in one book but makes for a nice variety of characters.
Betty: I wanted something different than a yarn store as several other craft series were already set in one. I noticed a knitting and crochet group was meeting at a local bookstore, and it seemed like a good idea to throw in a yarn department.
Sandra: How many people called you names over that cliff-hanger ending?
Betty: I have heard from a few people. I honestly didn’t plan it. I got to the end of the book and all of a sudden that ending just showed up.
Sandra: What else should we know about you?
Betty: I grew up in Chicago and still spend a lot of time there. Somebody told me I have a charming Chicago accent, which I thought was pretty funny. I have never heard charming and Chicago accent used together before.
Previous Molly Pink books
Hooked on Murder (2008)
Dead Men Don’t Crochet (2008)
By Hook or Crook (2009)
A Stitch in Time (2010)
You Better Knot Die (2010)
Behind the Seams (2011)
If Hooks Could Kill (due out November 2012)
half pound of French Roast
To enter to win 1/2 lb of French Roast coffee from Classical Coffee & a copy of Behind the Seams, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, with the subject line “Seams Coffee”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 1, 2012. U.S. residents only.
To purchase some of this great coffee, check out Classical Coffee Company online where you can find coffee recipes as well coffee store!