Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Crafter Hooks a Killer (A Handcrafted Mystery Book 2)

Author:  Holly Quinn
Genre:   Mystery

Hardcover; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781643850122
Crooked Lane Books
$26.49; $12.99 Amazon
June 11, 2019


Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane suspects that a tantalizing thread links the deaths of her best friend and a bestselling author.  But can she weave together the clues?

Samantha "Sammy" Kane is settling into her new life in idyllic Heartsford, Wisconsin, running her late friend Kate Allen's craft shop, Community Craft when one early June day, bestselling crochet author Jane Johnson devotes a chapter in her new book, Behind the Seams, to the store.  Sammy is honored, though satisfaction quickly turns to shock when she finds Jane strangled to death - her cold hands clutching a copy of her most recently published book, with the words "THE END" raggedly scratched into the cover.

Heavens to Etsy!  Not only must Sammy contend with the author's inauspicious demise, she has to untie some knotty details from her own past.  It turns out Kate's death was not what it seemed, and instead somehow hooked to Jane Johnson's demise.  Handsome Detective Liam Nash is on the "skein", more than happy to see the shop owner again, if less than enamored by her sleuthing interventions.  But this was Sammy's best friend - she has to know.

Fortunately, Sammy has a "lace" in the hole.  As a child, she formed the S.H.E. detective team with her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie.  Having already reconstituted their partnership, the S.H.E. team  searches for a pattern behind the latest death.  As the case starts to unravel, will Sammy and team be able to sidestep Liam quick enough to stitch together the clues?


Samantha Kane owns the craft shop, Community Craft.  She bought it after the previous owner, her friend Kate, died in an accident.  She's doing well and helping the community by displaying their items for sale.  She's also excited to be having a famous author of craft books come to her shop to sign copies of her newest book.  Jane Johnson is devoting a chapter in her book to Sammy's store, and she's pleased that the author is going to interview her.  But she's surprised, not unpleasantly so, when Jane shows up early and unannounced.  Jane looks around the store until she's noticed by others in the town and is soon feeling cornered.

Sammy shows her the back way out, but before she leaves she tells Sammy that she has information on Kate, and wants to talk to her.  Sammy, stunned, tells her she will meet Jane down by the river.  When Sammy arrives, she finds a book on Jane's lap, with a chilling message "THE END" scratched in pencil; and a very dead Jane.  After calling the police, she begins to wonder who killed the woman and why.

When Detective Liam Nash arrives, he naturally tells her to stay out of the investigation.  But Sammy has a personal reason for wanting to be involved - Kate.  She wants to know what Jane wanted to tell her, and if the two deaths might be related.  So she decides to get together with her sister Ellie and cousin Heidi and between the three of them - the S.H.E. team - she's hoping she'll be able to find the truth before a killer finds her...

This is the second book in the series and I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit with Sammy and her family and friends.  This time out, she's found her place in Heartsford, and is looking forward to hosting a famous author.  But unfortunately things don't go as planned and she's left with more questions than the ones Jane was going to ask her.

She's also got other things which are hindering her - her parents are in town for a week and want to spend time with her, and an old crush named Bradley has come back to visit his mother and he, too, wants to spend time with her.  So now she's trying to keep her mother from finding out what she's doing (the woman would not be pleased) and trying to pump Bradley for information on Kate's death, since he was living in Heartsford while she was elsewhere.

But along with this she has to deal with Detective Nash.  He's not pleased that she's involving herself, telling her she's too impatient and too impulsive.  Stung with the truth, Sammy still goes on with her investigation and hopes to find out the truth about Kate.  If she unmasks a killer in the process, so be it.

I truly enjoyed reading this book.  Ms. Quinn has written characters that have a life of their own.  Sammy has a fierce loyalty to her family and friends, and when she does something she knows she shouldn't, she has an immediate sense of remorse (although it doesn't stop her from doing something else next time).  Detective Nash is closed off and stoic, but in this book we are given a bit more insight as to why, and it might be a break in whether these two can ever find the grounds to venture toward a future relationship.

The plot is taut and woven through with a few red herrings and plenty of clues; it was intriguing and written well.  Watching Sammy sift through the information she received and try to puzzle the pieces together was a pleasure indeed, as I also was doing the same.

When the ending came and the murderer was revealed, while it wasn't a surprise to me, it was done well and the reasons why were plausible; everything meshed together nicely and it was an enjoyable venture into Heartsford and its people.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.


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