Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thai Die - Monica Ferris

Thai Die
A Needlecraft Mystery
Monica Ferris
Berkley Prime Crime


Doris Valentine has just returned from four weeks in Thailand. Her first stop on returning home is the Crewel World needlework shop run by her friend and landlady, Betsy Devonshire. Doris has a suitcase full of gorgeous Thai silks to show the Monday Bunch. She’s also got a boxed-up statue of the Buddha. Betsy and the others are a bit taken aback when Doris tells them that the American owner of a silk factory she visited asked her to take the statue back to the States and deliver it to an antiques dealer. Something doesn’t sound right about that.

Of course, they’re all dying to see the statue, so Doris opens the box and removes the packing. Inside the bubble wrap is what looks like an old rag. Doris tosses it, but Betsy and her shop manager, Godwin, see the beautiful stitch work on the old piece of silk and think maybe they can clean and restore it somehow. Doris delivers the box to the antique dealer, with some misgivings, and goes on her way.

The following day, Doris’ apartment is trashed. Some of her Thai silks and some relatively inexpensive jewelry she brought home were stolen, but it’s clear that whoever did this was looking for something specific. While the police investigate, they inform Doris that the antique dealer was found, murdered. The time of his death appears to be just after Doris left the box with him. The police are looking at Doris, and Betsy finds her investigative skills are needed to save her friend.

It can’t be easy for an author to come up with new mysteries that touch on the needlework shop, but Ms. Ferris (KNITTING BONES) has a winner here. Any needle worker would be fascinated by the silks and stitching from Thailand, and the international angle gives this mystery an additional layer of interest. Being friends with Doris also gives Betsy a good reason to be concerned with, and involved in, the investigation. The mystery is fascinating, and, as always, the author provides a stitching pattern that relates to the story.

Rating: 7 ½
December 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22346-8 (hardcover)


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