Last Wool & Testament: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery by Molly MacRae/Review/Guest Blog/Giveaway

Oct 13, 2012 | 2012 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Molly MacRae

As we continue our month of mystery novels with a supernatural twist in honor of Halloween, this week we not only have a review of Molly MacRae’s book Last Wool & Testament: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery, but also Molly has done a fun guest post for us–Bringing a Ghost to the Party or An Interview With A Ghost. At the end of this post are details on how to enter to win a copy of the book & how to purchase it from Mysterious Galaxy which not only helps an indie bookstore, but helps support KRL!

Last Wool & Testament: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery by Molly MacRae
Review by Cynthia Chow

The only way for textile preservationist Kath Rutledge’s thirty-ninth birthday to have been worse would have been for it to have been her fortieth birthday instead. She hadn’t planned on spending the day returning home to Blue Plum, Tennessee for her much loved grandmother Ivy McClellan’s funeral, and Kath definitely hadn’t planned on getting pulled over by an arrogant deputy for speeding. That he called Kath’s grandmother “Crazy Ivy” and implied that she was a murderer definitely put the capper on what was becoming a completely horrific day.

Things only become more confusing for Kath when she discovers that her grandmother’s home may have been sold out from under her and the cottage where Kath has been forced to move into seems to have a rather melodramatic entity hovering around demanding attention. When an intruder breaks into Kath’s cottage the officer Kath nicknames Deputy Clod Dolt (unfortunately same deputy who pulled her over for speeding) refuses to believe her or pursue the matter. Oh, and Grandmother Ivy just left Kath a letter informing her that they are both witches.

Thankfully, Kath has the Weaver’s Cat, Ivy’s fiber and fabric shop, to keep her sane and provide her with the support of the many ladies who work and shop there. Kath is determined to prove her grandmother’s innocence, which means delving into the death of the man who just happened to have died in the same cottage where Kath is now living and is mourned over by the ghost.

Kath’s dry humor and sardonic wit prevent this mystery from ever becoming too fluffy, and her reluctant acceptance of the ghostly presence is both comical and realistic. The reader will grow just as frustrated as Kath with the investigative roadblocks put up by the Deputy and her grandmother’s attorney Handsome Homer, whose continual warnings of slander and libel keep Kath’s accusations to a minimum. In one of the most rewarding scenes Kath gives in to an impulse that should rightly get her arrested but frankly would be worth the price. Author Molly MacRae capably juggles numerous plot elements in this debut series, including break-ins and missing items at Kath’s grandmother’s home, the unknown whereabouts of the presumed new owner, the identity of the thief who hid in Ivy’s pantry, and the question of just who is taking care of Ivy’s aggressive cat Maggie. Not to mention how to deal with a petulant ghost and the future of the Weaver’s Cat.

MacRae has created a very likable heroine whose wry sense of humor provides a refreshing twist to this mysterious mix of weaving and the paranormal.

Click here to order this book & you support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy, an indie bookstore:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Bringing a Ghost to the Party or An Interview With A Ghost

by Molly Macrae

Don’t you think a ghost would make a great party guest? Certainly an exotic and cheap guest. You wouldn’t have to include it in a head count (unless you were actually counting heads and your ghost happened to be headless) and you’d probably have a lot to talk about afterwards.

Unfortunately, the ghost in Last Wool and Testament wouldn’t exactly be the life of the party. She’s, well, she’s hard to describe. You might think because she’s my creation I should know all about her–where she came from, how long she’s been around, why she’s depressed. I do know her reasonably well, but to say I know all her quirks because she sprang from my head is like saying a parent knows everything that goes on in her teenager’s mind. Talk about OMG and LOL. It’s just not possible. Or maybe even healthy.

Molly MacRae

But people seem to find ghosts fascinating, so I thought I’d see if mine will cooperate and let me interview her here. Maybe we can get her to give us some basic information. Be prepared, though. She can be touchy. And by touchy I mean cranky.

Me: Are you there?

Ghost: Can you be more specific?

Me: (Do you see what I mean? Touchy!): I meant here in the room, but I see you now. Are you ready?

For what? For some football? I’m not sure you’re allowed to use that phrase. It might be trademarked by the NFL. I’d rather watch Dancing with the Stars, anyway.

Me: (This is interesting. I knew she was addicted to reruns of cop shows and westerns on TV, but I didn’t know she liked Dancing with the Stars): Do you like to dance?

Do I look like someone who frolics around a dance floor?

Me: It’s difficult to say what you look like. Did you know that you aren’t entirely in focus? It’s as though I’m looking at you through a rain-drenched windshield.

Ghost: How rude.

Me: I didn’t mean…

Ghost: Ask me another question.

Me: You haven’t answered any questions yet. Will you tell us how old you are?

Ghost: No, because I don’t know whether you’re asking how old I was or how old I am. You’re confusing. And you’re staring at me.

Me: I didn’t mean to stare. I was trying to see what you’re wearing. Is it a dress of some kind? Can you describe it?

Ghost: Are you suggesting I can’t?

Me: No…

Ghost: Next you’ll be asking me how I died.

Me: (That was my next question. Oops.)

My mother warned me about people like you.

Me: I don’t believe you.

If I were as rude as you, I’d be the kind of ghost who yells “boo” in your ear.

Me: But you’re not that kind?

Ghost: No.

Me: Then what kind you are? Hello?

Well, I’m sorry. I warned you she was touchy, though, didn’t I? And for the record, she hasn’t left the room. She’s sulking in the corner. Like a bored teenager at a family party. She isn’t a teenager, but this is the kind of problem Kath Rutledge deals with in the Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries. She has never believed in ghosts yet ends up with this touchy, defensive creature insisting on being part of her life. Kath handles it better than I would, I think. But, then, there’s something about Kath the ghost recognizes, even if she isn’t sure what it is or isn’t telling. I might know, too, but I’m not telling either, because that would spoil the fun.

To enter to win a copy of Last Wool and Testament, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Wool”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 20, 2012. U.S. residents only.

Check out more mystery interviews/reviews by subscribing to the All Mystery e-Newsletter:

Molly MacRae writes the Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries for NAL/Obsidian. In a review, the Boston Globe said Molly writes “Murder with a dose of drollery.” Molly’s stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. She spent twenty years in upper east Tennessee, the setting for her stories, short and long. She lives in Champaign, Illinois. You can visit Molly at


  1. The book sounds really good. Will have to add it to my To Buy List.

  2. I love your petulent ghost! We used to live in Champaign when my husband was in graduate school and I spent many hours immersed in the books at both the Champaign and Urbana Public Libraries. I can picture your ghost popping in at the Courier Cafe for a milkshake….

  3. Arghhh that PETULANT ghost made me typo!

  4. This sounds like an amazing book.

  5. Molly, I knew I wanted to read your books/articles as soon as I met you at Bouchercon. The ghost interview is terrific. Sure hope we meet again.

  6. HAHAHAH love the ghost interview!

  7. That was a fun interview.

  8. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher



  1. Spinning in Her Grave By Molly MacRae | Kings River Life Magazine - [...] and rhubarb sourdough bread pudding. A bonus is an excerpt from the next book, Plagued by Quilt. Last Wool…

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