Friday, September 16, 2016

Death Among the Doilies (Cora Crafts Mystery #1)

Author:  Mollie Cox Bryan
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781496704641
Kensington Publishing
320 Pages
$7.99; $5.99 Amazon
August 30, 2016

Three Stars


For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life.  Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women's shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents - and most of her savings - into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr.  Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter's paradise and babysitting Jane's daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions.  Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian...

But when Jane's fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation.  With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane's innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian's disturbing demise.  Because if the killer's patterns are pinned, Cora's handiwork could end up in stitches. 

********

Cora Chevalier, who decided to start a new life after developing an anxiety disorder at her job as a counselor in a women's shelter, and Jane Starr, her best friend who wound up at the shelter to get away from an abusive husband, have recently moved along with Jane's daughter London to Indigo Gap, North Carolina and plan to open a crafting retreat in an old Victorian home that Cora has purchased.  They believe they've found the perfect place in an idyllic setting, and there's even a carriage house on the property which is home to Jane and London.  Everything is coming together for their first retreat, with attendees and the caterer lined up.

But when a local librarian is murdered, and partial fingerprints that might match Jane's are found near the body, she's been labeled a Person of Interest in the death, and once the locals discover this, they cancel their attendance and there's other backlash as well, leading Cora to think her new business might fail.  She feels her only chance for helping Jane and making a go of her new life is to find the killer herself, if she can only stay out of harm's way long enough to do so...

First off, let me say that I was really looking forward to reading this first book in a new series.  However, I struggled with the fact that the newspaper would publish the name of a 'Person of Interest' without any proof: an unmatched fingerprint, the fact that no one ever stated whether Jane had been in Sarah's house to prove the print could have belonged to her, she'd only been in town a month, etc. POI could also mean they're merely a witness, so publishing this information would be foolhardy.  This is a pretty major flaw to begin the book on, considering the plot is focused on that fact.  (It has been done, but if the person turns out to be innocent, the newspaper could be sued).

I also thought that the mystery took second place to the women thinking every guy was hot and even Ruby was telling Cora she needed to "get laid".  With their past histories, you wouldn't think they'd be so man-crazy.  Even a couple attendees were sleeping around while they were at the retreat.  I felt that it detracted from what could have been a really good mystery.

Aside from these two things, I liked the premise of a series based on a crafting retreat.  Being a crafter myself, I thought this was great.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the house and the different crafting techniques; the projects and recipes at the end of the book are a nice touch.

When we find out the identity of the killer, and why the crime was committed, it seems rather sad and twisted; the reality is that loyalty and love know no bounds.  All in all, not a bad start to a new series, and I will read the next book.
  


More on Mollie Cox Bryan's books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/mollie-cox-bryan/

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