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Sins and Needles (Needlecraft Mysteries) by Monica  Ferris
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0425210030
Date: 27 June, 2006 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

It's mid-June and Betsy Devonshire and Godwin DuLac are planning the Halloween and Christmas displays for Crewel World. Things have settled down since Betsy cleared Goddy of murder.

Lucille Jones and her husband Bobby Lee are on vacation and when Lucille stops into Crewel World, Betsy mistakes her for Jan Henderson. In fact, the two women look so much alike they could be sisters, maybe even twins. Lucille and Jan hit it off in a sock knitting class and are on their way to becoming friends when Jan's Aunt Edyth Hanraty is murdered. Aunt Edyth's will was a strange one leaving her estate to the college for business scholarships for women and to the female descendants of her sister Alice -- which means Jan and her mother Susan. Jan looks like the murderer unless Lucille is there to get the money because she's related to Jan. Betsy steps in and helps to pull some of the clues together.

Once again, we have a large cast of characters in and about the area of Michigan where Crewel World is located. Many of the characters not featured in this book are mentioned in passing so we can keep up with some of our favorites. Ferris manages to keep her characters distinct and interesting and yet not predictable.

The mystery is convoluted and while the murder and its reasons are fairly typical the delving into the history and social background of women in the 1960s was interesting to me though I grew up in that era. I'm hoping that more young women reading this book will get a sense of the barriers that women faced in those days and the lengths that some women went to in order to overcome the stereotypical role they were expected to take up and play. In today's society where it seems that women have "come a long way" it's hard to remember what it was like just 40 or even 30 years ago.

Nothing is the same as it was in the 60s. Now it's much more difficult to claim a relationship with someone. Papers and documents are all well and good but anyone with any science background at all will require a DNA test. Ferris manages to take a time honored plot and update it to the 00s. Well done, considering the science of the issue.

If you've enjoyed Monica Ferris' Needlecraft Mysteries you'll certainly enjoy this one. If you haven't give it a try you can jump in with any book and enjoy a good story. The people will not be familiar but she puts enough backstory in to bring you up to speed without an info dump.


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