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Sins and Needles: 03/26/16

Sins and Needles by Dayton Duncan

Sins and Needles by Monica Ferris is the tenth book in the Needlecraft Mystery series. Excelsior is a small enough town that everybody pretty much knows everybody else. Those who don't, at least know someone who does. So when someone new arrives, people take notice. When that someone is the spitting image of a well known member, people definitely take notice.

Betsy's friend and customer Jan Henderson has just that problem. A woman and her husband from Texas arrive wondering if she and Jan might be related. In a small, rather conservative town, this question spells FAMILY SCANDAL.

Before the scandal can get tongues wagging, Jan's eccentric and incredibly wealthy aunt is murdered. She has set up her will to only include matrilineal inheritance. The murder weapon points to either Jan or her mother. So Betsy is brought into figure out the truth behind both the aunt's death and Lucille's appearance.

Sins and Needles is a hybrid mystery, blending the two trends the series has played with so far: cold cases with the only clue being a piece of needlecraft, and modern day murders involving needlecraft or implements of the art form. It also draws on the fascinating world of early twenty century machinery like A Murderous Yarn.

Save for the pillow that's found, there's not as much needlework talk as other books. There's instead, a lot of time spent on the aunt's estate. If you're not into estate sales, you're going to be skipping a bunch of pages.

My only complaint though was with the copy editing. My guess is that the author at one point switched Susan and Jan's names. Susan is the mother and Jan is the daughter. In about a half dozen spots in the book, though, their names are reversed.

Four stars

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