Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Stitching Hour - Amanda Lee

The Stitching Hour
An Embroidery Mystery
Amanda Lee


Halloween in the little town of Tallulah Falls, Oregon, usually means a G-rated haunted house at the public library.  It’s their best fund-raising event of the year.  But this year, something new has come to town.  The Horror Emporium has opened in the store next door to Seven Year Stitch, Marcy Singer’s needlework shop.  They’ll only be open in the evenings for the month of October, but Marcy teaches classes three nights a week and isn’t looking forward to interruptions from next door.  She’s also busy getting ready for her one-year anniversary party at the shop and preparing for a visit from her mother, Beverly.

The Atwoods, the flamboyant couple running this new attraction, announce that there will be a sort of open house for neighboring shop owners before the Emporium officially opens for business.  To celebrate, there’s a party, catered by the nearby coffee shop; and manned, with very little enthusiasm, by Keira, one of the coffee shop waitresses.  As the group of shop owners starts the tour, the first room on the tour is the Lair of the Serpent, featuring real snakes.  The rest of the attraction consists of a series of actors and effects that make the experience fairly realistic.  As they exit, they see a female form, crumpled on the sidewalk.  Most think this is a last scare.  Instead, it’s Keira, lying on the ground, with a pair of wounds to her neck.

Marcy feels unaccountably sad for Keira.  Although they hadn’t known each other well, they had a bit of history.  When Marcy first arrived in town, the two women had briefly been interested in the same guy.  Although that’s long past, Keira held a grudge.  She was a generally unhappy person, it seems.  But who would want to kill her?  Was she the intended victim, or just a victim of opportunity?   Before Marcy gets very far in her investigation, a family emergency almost derails everything.

Keira has been a very secondary character since the beginning of the series (see list below.)  The fact that the reader is learning so much background about her only after her death pretty much puts the reader in Marcy’s shoes.  No one is any one thing; and Keira was more complex than Marcy thought.  Getting to the bottom of this mystery requires some input from almost everyone in the cast of characters.  The solution comes about fairly abruptly, but it makes sense and ties up the loose ends nicely.  Beverly’s visit adds an extra dimension to the story, as usual.  And I continue to wish for a shop just like Seven Year Stitch near me.

Rating: 7
November 2015

ISBN# 978-0-451-47384-4  (paperback)


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