SERIES: A Handcrafted Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane Books
RELEASE DATE: October 9, 2018
For fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, the latest craft frenzy is Holly Quinn’s Handcrafted series debut.
Sammy Kane just moved back to her hometown to run a craft store. But when the owner of a nearby yarn shop is murdered, Sammy will needle little help finding the killer.
When a heartbroken Samantha “Sammy” Kane returns to her hometown of Heartsford, WI, for her best friend Kate’s funeral, she learns that Kate’s much-loved craft store is in danger of perishing with its owner. Confounding all her expectations of the life she would live, Sammy moves back home with her golden retriever and takes over Community Craft. A few doors down Main Street, fellow new arrival Ingrid Wilson has just opened the Yarn Barn, a real “purl” of a shop. But when Sammy strolls over to see if Ingrid could use a little help, she finds Ingrid’s dead body—with a green aluminum knitting needle lodged in her throat.
Detective Liam Nash is thrown for a loop as every single citizen of Heartsford seems to have a theory about Ingrid’s murder. And nearly everyone in town seems to be a suspect. But the last time Sammy did any sleuthing was as a little moppet. And this is not fun and games. Sammy is eager to help the handsome Liam—who seems to be endlessly inventive in finding reasons to talk with her—and when Liam arrests affable woodworker Miles Danbury, Sammy puts everything on the line to help clear Miles.
As the case comes dangerously close to unraveling, Sammy must stitch the clues together. But the killer has other plans—and if Sammy’s not careful, she may wind up in a perilous knot in A Crafter Knits a Clue, the first warm and woolly yarn of Holly Quinn’s new Handcrafted mysteries.
I always love discovering new cozy mystery series to follow, especially when I can get in right from the first book. A Crafter Knits a Clue is one such series – I’m definitely looking forward to more books with Sammy, Heidi, Ellie, Carter, Bara, Tim and of course swoony detective Liam 😉
Sammy, our heroine, has a few rough edges in her personality that need smoothing, so she might take a bit to fully warm up to, but I for one appreciated the character growth that the author crafted for her throughout the story. I can tell that, as the series progresses, more of her flaws will ultimately turn into strengths. Her relationship with her sister and her cousin is lots of fun – especially as they resurrect their childhood ‘detective group’ (and who didn’t always want one of those as a child? I was the sole proprietor of mine and collected license plates of cars that drove down our street – just in case. Haha!)
New detective in town, Liam Nash, is swoony and smart and interested in Sammy. As Heidi’s boyfriend (and police officer) Tim says at one point, “I wish you two would kiss and get it over with.” The romantic tension is pretty thick at times between these two, though I wanted to see a bit more chemistry and spark. I can’t wait to see where this relationship goes in the next books in the series. It has lots of delicious potential 🙂
The case is pretty standard but definitely kept me guessing, particularly on the motive behind the gruesome murder of one character and the attempted murder of another. And someone certainly wants Sammy to quit snooping around, so she has to keep her guard up – which adds a nice undercurrent of suspense to the cozy mystery mix. Quinn does a great job of portraying small town gossip central as well in this quaint (but buzzing) Wisconsin town – a place that felt a little like home to me since I grew up in Northern Illinois, closer to Wisconsin than I was to Chicago.
Bottom Line: Holly Quinn knits together a cozy town, relatable characters, romantic tension, and a well-plotted mystery in the debut Handcrafted Mystery novel – A Crafter Knits a Clue. Readers will enjoy the Community Craft shop (and wish they had one too), and they’ll be rooting for S.H.E. to solve the case! The pace is a little slow (maybe a bit choppy) at first, but once it gets going you won’t want to put it down. I’m looking forward to more in this series and a chance to keep up with Sammy – particularly given some surprising revelations at the end of the book.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some mild coarse language and casual use of God’s name throughout this book.
Holly Quinn is both an avid reader and crafter. Holly sells her artistic creations locally and dreamed of one day opening a gift shop to sell local artist’s handiwork. Instead, she began writing about it and thus her journey of the Handcrafted Mystery series was born. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com
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What about you? Do you craft anything?