Saturday, January 14, 2017

Better Off Thread - Amanda Lee

Better Off Thread
An Embroidery Mystery
Amanda Lee
Berkley Prime Crime


In the days after Thanksgiving, Marcy Singer, owner of The Seven Year Stitch embroidery shop, is looking forward to a quiet evening with her guy, Ted, a detective in the local police force, when the doorbell rings.  To her surprise, it’s Capt. Moe, a local character and the man who makes the best milkshakes for miles.  Capt. Moe has been a great friend to both Marcy and Ted, so when he says he has a favor to ask of Marcy, she knows she’ll say yes.  He’s going to be playing Santa at the local hospital during the week after Thanksgiving, and again before Christmas, and he needs an elf.  Marcy agrees, and even volunteers Angus, her Irish wolfhound to come along wearing reindeer antlers.

The first evening, as Marcy arrives, she wanders into an argument between Moe and Sandra Vincent, the hospital administrator.  Sandra wants Moe to show special attention to one sick child – even give him a special gift – because the child’s father is on the hospital board.  Moe refuses, and pledges to treat all the kids the same.  Despite that, the rest of the evening goes very well.  When Marcy returns the next day for her second performance as an elf, she’s stopped by a large security guard.  The guard says that Sandra was found by Moe with a knife in her chest.  The county police waste no time arresting Capt. Moe and charging him with the murder.  Marcy, Ted, and anyone else who knows him, knows that Moe didn’t do it.  Now they just have to figure out how to prove it, without stepping on the county boys’ toes.

This is the tenth installment in this fun series (see list below.)  It can’t be easy to keep characters and plot lines fresh over so many stories.  But this is one of those stories that feels completely organic to the place and the people.  Capt. Moe has been a friend to Marcy since the first book.  Readers most likely agree with Marcy, that there’s no chance he stabbed someone.  It makes sense that Marcy and others would do what they could to dig into the situation, trying to help out their friend.  As is realistic for small towns, the investigators quickly realize that lives and livelihoods and politics are all tangled together.  Pulling one thread could unravel a lot more than a murder.  Visiting the Seven Year Stitch is always a good time.

Rating: 8
December 2016

ISBN# 978-0-451-47385-1  (paperback)


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