Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thread on Arrival (A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery #8)

Author:  Lea Wait
Genre:   Mystery

Mass Market Paperback [Audio CD] Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781496716736; [9781515944423]
Kensington Publishing
320 Pages
$7.99; [$29.99]; $6.99 Amazon
April 30, 2019


Ike Hamilton is part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he's fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles.  Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.

But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who's new in town.  Angie's convinced that young Leo is innocent - but if he didn't do it, who did?  Turns out Ike may have appeared simple-minded, but he knew a few secrets that someone might have murdered him to keep quiet.  Angie sets out to trace Ike's bottle-collecting route to find out what he witnessed - and for this killer, there may be no redemption.


Angie Curtis lives in Haven Harbor, Maine and runs Mainely Needlepoint, a small business she took over from her grandmother; she and its members create needlepoint items that they sell online and in stores.  She and her boyfriend Patrick are attending the Blessing of the Fleet, an annual ritual where her grandfather (by marriage) Pastor Tom is conducting this year.  It is a reading of the names of those who have died while fishing, and a blessing of the boats before the season begins. 

When Angie sees that one of the other needlepointers, Dave Pearcy, she goes over to say hello.  Dave is a high school science teacher, and together they notice Ike Hamilton.  Ike's a bit slow, and since his parents died, he lives alone - or so they thought - in his family's old garage, their home having been destroyed years ago.  With him is a teenager who only identifies himself as Leo.

Dave wonders about Leo, since he hasn't seen him at the school and wonders who he is.  He tells Leo if he ever needs help, to come find him; describing his house for the young boy.  Little does he know that it will be sooner than later Leo will need his help.  The next day, while Angie is visiting Dave, Leo shows up at his door.  He tells Dave that Ike is dead, and he needs help.

Angie calls the police - even though Leo doesn't want anything to do with them - and he tells his story.  Dave decides to care for Leo since there is no one else, but the police have him down as the main suspect in the murder.  While Dave and Angie both believe the boy is innocent, she decides to do a little sleuthing herself.

Angie, who worked for a PI while living in Arizona, has a bit of experience in this (also having helped solve other murders).  What she finds out about the people in her town is eye-opening, to say the least, and gives her a few suspects that may have had a reason to want Ike out of the picture.  But her final help comes from an unlikely source, and it shows her the truth isn't always easy to see, even if it's right in front of you all the time...

This is such a delightful series to read.  The characters are well-drawn, and I love the fact that Angie doesn't walk blindly into situations that could put her in danger.  She actually thinks things out first, putting all the facts in front of her, then disassembling them piece by piece until she can put the puzzle back together again.  It's refreshing to read.

Angie's investigation takes her out of town, where she learns about Leo's past, which she shares with Dave, and he, in turn, shares with the police.  But Dave's faith in the boy only wavers a little; they're still convinced he's innocent of murder (although Angie does waver a tad).  Yet she always wants to find the truth, unwilling to convict without sound evidence.  Unfortunately, it brings several people to view in an unfavorable light, which bothers her.

She's also coming into a new stage with Patrick, and he's allowing himself to realize that he doesn't mind her sleuthing at all.  It was a nice surprise, and hopefully Angie will appreciate that this a good man who truly loves her.  We will see on that front.

Anyway, we learn a little more about Dave's past, and while it's rather sad, it made him the man he is; I have always liked him and I like him even more; it's always nice to learn about the secondary characters.  It makes them more human, and brings you more into the story.  We've already learned about Sarah's past, so I recommend that if you haven't read any of the previous books, you go back to the beginning and do so, because it's a very good series indeed.

I did know the who the murderer was early on, but only because I read so many mysteries and pay extreme attention to details; still, my enjoyment of the book never faltered as Ms. Wait is a talented writer who knows how to weave a story admirably and put everything together so well.  And this she does admirably.

In the end, I felt that the ending was quite satisfactory; the murderer revealed in an unexpected setting, with everything joined nicely and giving a tale that is filled with plenty of clues and quite fun to read.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.


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