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Blackwork: A Needlecraft Mystery by Monica Ferris
Cover Artist: Mary Ann Lasher
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425229903
Date: 06 October 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Monica Ferris Website / Show Official Info /

It's approaching Halloween and Betsy Devonshire is regretting volunteering to help with the Halloween parade -- the meetings are really eating into her time. The latest meeting ran on well past dinner, but had the excitement of having to deal with a drunken Ryan McMurphy, who loudly accuses Leona Cunningham of witchcraft and trying to curse him. He promptly ran out of the meeting and got in a car accident. You can imagine the rumors those two incidents started. Betsy likes Leona and tried to quash the rumors when they were brought up by people in her shop but when Ryan turns up dead, it appears that Leona is the prime suspect.

Blackwork is a classic locked room murder. Ryan's body is found in his locked bedroom. The door was locked from the inside there was no window in the room that could be opened, and the autopsy indicated that there was no unnatural cause of death--at least none the doctor could find. Naturally, it must be witchcraft. It's a perfect set up for a Halloween murder. Howdoneit is the key to the whole thing. If you can't figure out the how then you have no way to narrow down the suspects to figure out whodoneit.

Ferris doesn't just have a mystery story it also continues the stories of the major characters of her Needlecraft Mysteries as Gordy finds a new love, a couple that got together in a previous book marry, Betsy needs to find new renters for her apartments, Shelly designs are selling, and then there's the usual ups and downs in the lives of the Crewel World regulars.

This series improves with each book. For me that means that the mysteries are getting more challenging and the possible suspects are all plausible and not easily identified (as in the new character doesn't always turn out to be the criminal).

I first started reading the series because the needlework connection was of interest, but now I find that I like visiting Excelsior, Minnesota regularly to find out how my favorite characters are doing. Besides who could possibly resist a solid, well written locked door mystery?

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