by Sandra Murphy
This week we have reviews & giveaways of 3 mysteries that all have a creative slant to the setting-writing, knitting, and glass blowing-A Dark and Twisting Path: A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery By Julia Buckley, Died in the Wool: A Knit & Nibble Mystery By Peggy Ehrhart, and Shattered at Sea: A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery By Cheryl Hollon. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 books, along with links you can use to purchase them.
A Dark and Twisting Path: A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery By Julia Buckley
Review by Sandra Murphy
Lena London is working as an assistant to famous writer Camilla Graham. Lena is in love with Sam, who was accused of murder. With Lena’s help and faith in his innocence, he was cleared. Now the only sticking point to their relationship is his former wife. She was involved with an extremely wealthy man and had a baby girl. Now the baby has been kidnapped and could be anywhere in the world. Of course, she looks to Sam for sympathy, understanding, a dry shoulder to cry on, and help in finding the baby.
Lena’s BFF, Allison, likes to take a calming walk before her shift as a nurse at the hospital. Of course, she doesn’t usually find a dead body. She’s able to recognize Eddie, her mail carrier, as the victim. She has a big concern in that her husband had a public, and loud, argument with Eddie just days before. It seems Eddie wasn’t as careful with the mail as he could have been. That’s hardly a motive for murder.
Oddly, he’s cleared because of a clue found at the scene—deliberately so? And once again, the spotlight is on Sam. It’s too much of a coincidence to think the crime is random. Threatening notes, a break-in, and more, let Lena know she’s on the right path to find the killer but will the killer find her first?
This is the third book in the series. Lena is a caring person, a good friend and daughter, a good girlfriend to Sam. The town is certainly one you’d love to visit, just for the water view if nothing else. And Camilla has dogs! In spite of all the obstacles, Sam and Lena have a good relationship. I think there will be change coming for them in book four, and it will be interesting to see how they progress next.
Buckley also writes the Undercover Dish mysteries, three so far.
Died in the Wool: A Knit & Nibble Mystery By Peggy Ehrhart
Review by Sandra Murphy
An aardvark isn’t your run of the mill high school mascot. Still, it’s unique and makes a cute knitted toy to sell to sports fans and kids by the Knit and Nibble knitting club in Arborville, New Jersey. After a day of selling the popular aardvarks (Go Varks!), Pamela is packing up when she makes a grisly discovery—the dead body of a man underneath their sales table. There’s an aardvark perched on his chest and another has gone missing.
The dead guy is the disliked history teacher. His latest rant against high school sports wasn’t well received. There are several people who are on the suspect list, but the odds-on favorite has an alibi. As with all events like this, people wander around, sellers take a break, kids are playing, and there are always distractions. It’s hard to say just who was where and when.
With the help of her best friend, Bettina, Pamela investigates a bit on her own. After all, someone kidnapped an aardvark and left another to be evidence—one Pamela knitted. Not to mention, everybody’s looking at the knitting club as potential serial killers!
On a more personal level, friends are determined to match up Pamela and her newest neighbor, Richard. Pamela is less than impressed with him though. His yard is a mess, papers pile up, and then there are young women going in and out at all hours. No thank you, she doesn’t need to be part of that scenario.
In the end, it all comes together in a satisfying ending to an enjoyable read. Find directions for knitting a cat (easier than an aardvark) and a recipe for strawberry shortcake, plus an excerpt from Knit to Kill, at the end of the book. Pamela and Bettina are a lot of fun. I look forward to reading more of their misadventures.
Shattered at Sea: A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery By Cheryl Hollon
Review by Sandra Murphy
Savannah Webb inherited her dad’s glass shop. It’s a little daunting, but she’s always loved working with glass. Now she’s got an assistant to help teach classes, an autistic employee who brings his comfort dog, Susie the Beagle, to work with him as he restores stained glass windows and more, and a very cool boyfriend, Edward.
Her reputation is growing, too. She’s been invited to help teach a class on board a cruise ship. There are three instructors. Each takes a turn making a small but impressive item as passengers take a break from the endless buffets, sun bathing, and excursions. Finished items are auctioned off. The classes are going surprisingly well, considering the three didn’t know each other before their first practice session.
Two older women who are students at Savannah’s shop are along for the ride, as is her boyfriend, and his cousin, Ian. She’ll get to meet the rest of Edward’s family when they arrive in England.
When Ian disappears soon after they set sail, it takes a day or so to realize he’s missing. On a ship that size, people think whoever they’re looking for is on another level or the opposite side of the ship. Once Ian’s been reported missing, it would be hard to say what happened except to assume he went overboard. Search party? Well, that would only work if they knew where to look. Ian is not the suicidal type.
The situation gets even worse when Edward becomes the prime suspect. After all, he knew Ian best—who else would have a motive? Between classes, Savannah sets out to find the truth, hard to do when at sea.
This is the fifth book in the series. Savannah is settling in as owner of the shop, is more confident in her relationship with Edward, and anxious to meet his family. Her staff at the shop are the best and repeat customers are becoming a big part of the business. Hollon, a glass person herself, infuses information throughout the book without detracting from the plot. The mystery kept me guessing as I changed my mind about the identity of the killer several times along the way. There’s a glossary of glasswork terms and in the acknowledgements, Hollon lets readers know the next book involves flame working, or more commonly said, glass bead making. That, plus what happens at the end of the book, ensure the next book will be eagerly anticipated.
To enter to win copies of all 3 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “creative,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 29, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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