Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Crafter Knits a Clue (A Handcrafted Mystery #1)

Author:  Holly Quinn
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781683317715; 9781683319948
Crooked Lane Books
336 Pages
$17.70; $15.99; $12.99 Amazon
October 9, 2018 (Trade 2019)


When a heartbroken Samantha "Sammy" Kane returns to her hometown of Heartsford, WI for her best friend Kate's funeral, she learns that Kate's much-loved craft store is in danger of perishing with its owner.  Confounding all her expectations of the life she would live, Sammy moves back home with her golden retriever and takes over Community Craft.  A few doors down Main Street, fellow new arrival Ingrid Wilson has just opened the Yarn Barn, a real "purl" of a shop.  But when Sammy strolls over to see if Ingrid could use a little help, she finds Ingrid's dead body - with a green aluminum knitting needle lodged in her throat.

Detective Liam Nash is thrown for a loop as every single citizen of Heartsford seems to have a theory about Ingrid's murder.  And nearly everyone in town seems to be a suspect.  But the last time Sammy did any sleuthing was as a little moppet.  And this is not fun and games.  Sammy is eager to help the handsome Liam - who seems to be endlessly inventive in finding reasons to talk with her - and when Liam arrests affable woodworker Miles Danbury, Sammy puts everything on the line to help clear Miles.

As the case comes dangerously close to unraveling, Sammy must stitch the clues together.  But the killer has other plans -- and if Sammy's not careful, she may wind up in a perilous knot.


Sammy Kane took over ownership of the local craft shop after the unexpected death of her best friend Kate.  She has a part-time employee in Kate's younger brother, Carter.  One day when he's helping her at the shop he receives a call from Ingrid Wilson, who has a yarn store just down the street.  Ingrid wants his help at her shop, but after talking with Sammy, she tells Carter she'll go instead.  Ingrid is not well-liked in the town, so Sammy decides to make her wait for a bit.  But when she arrives at Ingrid's shop she finds the woman dead, stabbed with a green knitting needle.

With a killer on the loose, and a new detective in town, Sammy wants to stay out of the investigation.  But when one of her friends is implicated in the crime, she decides that the only thing to do is enlist the help of her cousin Heidi and sister Ellie to find the right killer before the wrong one is jailed for something he didn't do.  But will she be able to find the truth before it's too late?...

This is the first book in a new series and really wanted to love it; but unfortunately, I didn't.  While it had some nice things going for it, there were a lot of things that irritated me.  Heidi, for one.  Who walks around saying, "I am here" and then does 'jazz hands'?  Are you really that self-important that you have to gesture when you enter a room?  Not to mention Sammy made it sound as if Heidi 'had work done,' which I just found odd.  (Also mentioning that her hair was dry because she dyed it didn't make any sense.  Women all over the country dye their hair, and it's not dry.  What is she using?  Cheap stuff?)  It also really seemed as if she was making 'digs' at Heidi with these remarks.  Plus, it doesn't say much about what Heidi thinks of herself if her boyfriend Tim cares more about 'the girls' than he does what she thinks or says.  Throughout the book Heidi comes off as thinking she's one hot chick, and pretty egotistical about it.  Just sayin'.

Then there were the little things, which are, in fact, the things that make up the book as a whole, of which some examples are as follows:  How many times Spring Fling was mentioned - over and over.  We got it.  Who wears pantyhose anymore?  I thought Bara was a dog but she calls him puppy?  I don't call my cat my kitten, so I'm just wondering about this.  Alpaca yarn isn't cheap.  It's about $10-$11 a ball, and it takes 2 balls to make a pair of socks, so I have a hard time believing women were just tossing pairs of $20 socks to parade watchers.  If people knew that giving Tyler candy made him hyperactive but upset her mother, why would they keep giving it to him?  Is it really funny to watch a mother get upset?  Plus, her sister won't own a pet because she's "meticulous" but has a two-year-old son.  Riiiight.  We're supposed to believe that her son is spotless?  What does she do?  Follow him around with a wet washcloth and a dust buster?  Kids are messy.  It's part of life.  When Nash called in the Crime Scene Unit to dust for prints, instead of sending the three women home he should have taken them to the station to get their prints so they could be eliminated.   Anyway, it's little things like this that make up the whole of a book, and if it's only one or two things, fine; but when it's time and time again it becomes irritating.

As to the big things, you have to like your characters, and I didn't like Sammy.  She was self-righteous and acted like a teenager, being sometimes snarky even.

Liam told Sammy that she needed to pay attention to details; well, I do, and that's one thing no one has ever accused me of not doing.  Unfortunately, it was these things that kept me from completely enjoying the book.  That, and the climax, which I have hidden in a spoiler below:

As it stands, I'm giving a pass because this is the first in a new series, and I like to give the author time to hone the characters, so we will see where the next book takes us.


Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2564144192

More on Holly Quinn's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/q/holly-quinn/

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