Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Looming Murder (A Weaving Mystery #1)

Author:  Carol Ann Martin
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780451413604
Obsidian Mystery
336 Pages
$7.99; $7.99 Amazon
June 4, 2013

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Della Wright has come to peaceful and picturesque Briar Hollow, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to realize her lifelong dream of owning a weaving studio.  To promote her new business, Dream Weaver, Della is offering weaving workshops for all levels of ability.  In her first class, she meets a half dozen of the town's colorful characters, who seem as eager to gossip as to learn how to work a loom.

But when a shady local businessman is found murdered, Briar Hollow suddenly appears a lot less idyllic.  And when one of her weaving students is suspected of the crime, Della can't help getting entangled in the investigation - with some help from her criminologist friend, Matthew.  But can she weave together clues as well as she weaves together yarn - and stop a killer from striking again?

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Della Wright has switched homes with her childhood friend Matthew, due to a scandal at her workplace where she was once suspected of embezzling but was cleared when it was discovered that the culprit was in actuality her boss.  She's decided to pursue her dream of a weaving studio where she will also sell her wares.  But in order to get it off the ground, her first step is in offering classes.

The people who show up are an assorted group who seem interested.  She discovers that one of them - David Swanson - has no desire to learn to weave, but is doing so as part of community service, and they're making baby blankets for charity.  She also learns he's a real estate agent, which comes in handy when she finds out things didn't work out as planned for Matthew and he's returning home.

When David is showing her a place she's interested in, they come across the reason for his community service:  Jeremy, a man he'd recently had an argument with.  To make it worse, the man is with David's ex-wife, part of the reason for the argument.  They leave abruptly, and later on David asks her if she's still interested in seeing the building.  When Della agrees and they enter the apartment above the store they both get a surprise:  Jeremy's body, covered in blood.  In her haste to leave Della takes a tumble and sprains her ankle.

While the police think David is the murderer, Della's not so sure and offers up the help of Matthew and resolves to find the killer.  But in doing so will she be endangering her own life or the life of someone she cares about?...

I enjoyed this book to an extent, but there were some things that stopped me.  For instance:  Della sprains her ankle and the head cop Mike tells another officer to take her to the hospital.  Why?  There was an ambulance right there for Jeremy that they didn't need when it was discovered he was dead - but they send it away.  Wouldn't it have been easier just to send her in the ambulance?

Secondly, she was a financial adviser but is lacking in cash.  Why didn't she have a savings account?  I really tire of reading these books where the protagonist always has a nice career but never has any money.  Why is she broke?  It doesn't make any sense.  Was she dumping all her cash into her condo?  Why keep the job if you're only making enough to make ends meet?  (She's not working at a convenience store; she has a career that should pay a decent wage - just once I'd like to read a book where the woman actually knows how to manage money and has a healthy bank account when she starts a new business).  It actually doesn't make any sense to start a new business if you don't have any money, if you think about it.

Then there's the fact that she likes Matthew and Matthew likes her.  They're 35 and 37 years old, but are pussyfooting around like teenagers.  They have romantic feelings but won't act on them and it comes off as rather ridiculous and because of this misunderstandings ensue.

Also because of this Matthew moves in with Jenny (temporarily, I gather).  Supposedly it was pivotal to the plot point, but it didn't have to be.  Things could have progressed exactly the same with him living in his own house.  I do recall that he mentioned Della should stay in his spare bedroom anyway, so it didn't make sense to me.

Aside from this, I also didn't get a feeling about the type of person Della was or what she or Matthew looked like.  The author made a point of describing everyone coming to the weaving class, but all we learned about Della is that she's short.  There's nothing about her personality to make anyone connect with her, either.  She doesn't cook which seems odd since she's in her thirties; I mean, honestly, why do all these women never know how to cook?  They should at least be able to make the basics - meat loaf, pork chops, roasts, etc.; those are not difficult things to do.  No one is expecting them to make Bouillabaisse.

As you can see, I wasn't enthralled by the characters, but it wasn't a terrible book, either.  It was fairly on the average scale.  I'm hoping the next in the series will be better.  In the end, when the murderer was discovered, it seemed rather ho-hum; it was a different conclusion than the usual which is the reason I give it three stars. 

https://www.amazon.com/Looming-Murder-Carol-Ann-Martin/dp/0451413601/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2429254568

More on Carol Ann Martin's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/carol-ann-martin/

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