Sunday, December 30, 2007

Knitting Bones - Monica Ferris

Knitting Bones
A Needlecraft Mystery
Monica Ferris
Berkley Prime Crime


Betsey Devonshire, owner of the needlecraft shop Crewel World, is gearing up for the annual convention of the Embroiderers Guild of America (EGA.) This year, the EGA has raised nearly $24,000 and will be presenting a check to a representative of the Heart Coalition at their banquet. But first, there’s time for a bit of play, when a friend invites her to go horseback riding. This decision turns out to be a disaster; and Betsey ends up with a shattered leg, surgery, some permanent hardware, and weeks of non-mobile convalescence. Fortunately, she’ll be recuperating at home, in her apartment above her shop.

Her first day home, brain partially muddled with much-needed painkillers, Betsey gets a visit from Godwin, her store manager. He’s brought news of a huge EGA scandal. It seems that the man sent to collect the check at the banquet has disappeared. And he’s taken the check with him. At that very moment, Allie Germaine, the president of the local EGA chapter, is there to beg for Betsey’s help in investigating the matter. The man who disappeared with the check? Also happens to be Allie’s husband. She swears he would never do such a thing, and Betsey is inclined to believe her.

The problem is, Betsey isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Something has to be done, so, with not a little trepidation, Betsey sends Godwin out to do the investigating. They’d better be quick; there’s someone else looking for that check, too.

Usually, by the time a series hits book #11, the premise is looking a bit threadbare. Not so with this series, as the author continually finds ways to add interesting twists, and put the characters fans love in unique situations. Keeping Betsey homebound and sending the more-excitable Godwin out to investigate is a great twist. I’ve always enjoyed Godwin, and his personality is so much different than Betsey’s, he gives the whole case a different feel. It’s interesting to watch them interact, a la Nero Wolfe and the redoubtable Archie.

As always, the book contains needlework tips and a pattern. This time, it’s for a knitted mitered square that can be used to use of leftovers; and sewed together to form an afghan. Knitters, embroiderers, needle workers of all kinds will love the sense of authenticity the author brings to their favorite pastimes. And if you’re not into needlework, there’s still a fun mystery, peopled by unique characters.

Rating: 7 ½
December 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21752-8 (hardcover)


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