Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thread Herrings (A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery #7)

Author:  Lea Wait
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Audio CD; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781496716712; 9781977365200
Kensington Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $29.99; $5.99 Amazon
October 30, 2018


Tagging along to an estate sale with her fellow Needlepointer, antiques shop owner Sarah Byrne, Angie Curtis impulsively bids on a tattered embroidery of a coat and arms.  When she gets her prize back home to Haven Harbor, she discovers a document from 1757 behind the framed needlework - a claim for a child from a foundling hospital.  Intrigued, Angie is determined to find the common thread between the child and the coat of arms.

Accepting her reporter friend Clem Walker's invitation to talk about her find on the local news, Angie makes an appeal to anyone who might have information.  Instead, both women receive death threats.  When Clem is found shot to death in a parking lot, Angie fears her own life may be in jeopardy.  She has to unravel this historical mystery - or she may be the next one going, going...gone...


When Angie Curtis attends an auction with her best friend Sarah Byrne, she doesn't expect to find anything in particular.  But on an impulse she purchases an old needlework embroidery of a coat and arms.  Even though Sarah tells her it isn't worth much, Angie decides she likes it and takes it home.  When she removes the frame she finds what turns out to be a piece of ribbon that identifies a child from a foundling hospital.  When she investigates further she discovers that it originated in England.

She decides to do a little more digging but the historical society is unable to help; running into her friend Clem Walker - a reporter for a television station - yields at least some sort of answer.  Clem puts her on the air to talk about her find but the response they receive isn't one they're waiting for.  Death threats ensue, and while Angie is shaken, she thinks at first it must be a crank.  But when she's supposed to meet Clem for lunch and the woman doesn't show up, it's not long after that she's found dead in her car, with an embroidery needle in her neck, leaving the threat to Angie's life taken seriously.

But when another tragedy strikes it's apparent to everyone that Angie's life is in danger, so she's convinced to hide out until the killer is found, having no contact with her friends or family unless by phone.  But it's not long before she starts to feel caged; and since she has nothing but time on her hands, she slowly starts to put the pieces together of who wants her dead.  But the why eludes her, and unless she can convince a killer to confess, someone just could get away with murder...

I can't tell you how thoroughly I enjoyed this book.  We get to see how Angie reacts when she's not only faced with a life-or-death situation, trying to figure out why someone would kill for a badly kept piece of embroidery.  She's used to being independent and for the first time must actually do what the police say and keep out of sight, even if it is in a beautiful place with Patrick.

Most of the "action" actually takes place through telephone calls which makes it a little unique in the fact that the protagonist didn't go out and stumble across clues.  They were given through conversations (and a little bit of Internet research), which I thought was quite interesting.

When Angie finally puts everything together she has a difficult time convincing people to believe her, but I think that only made the book more plausible and it showed that the author is able to convey a story without putting the main character through a bunch of false steps before figuring out the truth.

I liked the fact that for those of us who have never been to an auction (nor probably will ever have a true desire to do so) the steps leading to the auction itself were explained, as I didn't realize that there was an 'order' that must be done (although I did know that one can't just go in, sit down and raise a paddle to bid).

When the ending comes and we ourselves learn the truth, it is a tale as old as time, but a sad one nonetheless, and shows us to what extent some will go to in order get what they want.  As the seventh book in the series, it is just as good as the previous ones, and Ms. Wait is indeed able to craft a story that keeps you reading throughout, wanting to know where the tale will lead.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.


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