Knitting Bones: A Needlecraft Mystery
Berkley, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
ony Milan has had a few unpleasant encounters with law enforcement in the past, and - in fact - he spent some time in prison. Now, however, after having been released, Tony has been trying to make a go of it on the outside. With a job in the mailroom at the National Heart Coalition (NHC), everything seems to be going reasonably well; he is, after all, picking up things rather quickly and easily (especially from his coworkers), and he hopes for bigger and better opportunities in the future.
hen - in a couple of curious coincidences - a couple of people at the NHC suddenly seem to have huge problems. First, Tony is involved in a terrible automobile accident and finds himself laid up in the hospital, temporarily out of work, and with an impaired memory about what happened to him prior to and during the accident. Second, Robert Germaine, a top executive at the NHC, receives a big donation at a banquet, but then - apparently immediately after the event - Germaine and the donation disappear.
eanwhile, Betsy Devonshire, the owner of Crewel World Needlework Shop in Minneapolis, has broken her leg while riding a horse, and now she is recuperating at home while associate Gordon DuLac keeps an eye on business at the shop.
uriously enough, Allie Germaine, the missing NHC executive's wife turns for help to her friend Betsy - a woman with a reputation for solving crimes when not otherwise knitting, running a dynamic business, and taking care of her twenty-two pound cat Sophie. Betsy, though, cannot get on her feet and follow up on any of the very few clues regarding the presumably larcenous Robert Germaine's vanishing act. So, the temporarily incapacitated Betsy sends in the second team: the colorful and flamboyant Gordon.
n the midst of newly discovered bizarre rumors concerning Germaine's secret sexuality, and in spite of increasingly murderous dangers, Gordon - with Betsy's guidance - relentlessly closes in on the truth regarding the missing money and the nowhere to be found NHC executive. At the same time, Betsy keeps busy with her knitting and needlework groups - while also stumbling on a clue within a needlework pattern - and, at the same time, in an oddly relevant diversion, provides a refuge for an injured crow (that will ultimately be moved to safe-haven in Iowa in spite of Minnesota's laws about rescuing and giving a home to wildlife).
n the end, with Gordon's perseverance, despite a bewildering number of red herrings, and with help from some incredibly unlikely sources, Betsy unravels the coincidental connections within the NHC - from mailroom to boardroom - and solves the mystery and brings the culprit to justice.
ell, in its bare bones, there you have a glimpse at the plot of
. Certainly cozy and colorful, this PG-13 rated adventure will appeal to readers who like their murder mysteries to contain hardly anything at all that would offend even the most sensitive readers. The plot, quite frankly, for some readers, may seem to unravel a bit too much here and there - especially when the awkwardly shallow characterizations and the needlecraft narrative get in the way of the story's progress - but, all in all,
is a pleasant entertainment.
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