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Quilt or Innocence: A Southern Quilting Mystery by Elizabeth Craig
Review by Harriet Klausner
Signet Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451237330
Date: 05 June 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Retired Atlanta Folk Art Museum curator Beatrice Coleman enjoyed living in the city as she had available so many fine and performing art locations to visit. Still she relocates to small town Dappled Hills, North Carolina, where major crime is nonexistent to live close to her adult daughter, Piper, who resides there.

She is barely moved in when her next door neighbor Meadow Downey arrives to abduct her; Beatrice thinks she lived for years in Atlanta and no one tried to kidnap her. Meadow's husband Police Chief Ramsey warns her to go with the flow as he did years ago when he married Typhoon Meadow. Not flustered, Meadow insists she is rescuing Beatrice from ennui as she escorts the newcomer to meet the members of the Village Quilter Guild. They kindly ask her to join.

Beatrice ironically explains she knows everything about quilts except how to make one. Her last effort two decades ago on a group quilt left her with stabbed fingers. Still the friendly members welcome her as they point out Beatrice can educate them on quilting while they can mentor her on quilting. To her amazement she becomes friends with several of the quilters.

When she and quilter Posy Beck take a walk in the park, they are stunned when they find the murdered corpse of nasty unpopular Miss Judith who took immense pleasure in making other people's lives miserable. In spite of being a quilter, Miss Judith threatened to raise the rent on Posy's store.

Ramsey leads the homicide investigation though he has concerns with his lack of experience as Dappled Hills never had many homicides to investigate. Someone assaults quilter Miss Sissy in her home and whacks Beatrice on the head while she is at Miss Sissy's home.

Outraged, as she never once was attacked in Atlanta, Beatrice applies her experience on reading patterns to investigate the murder of a woman with numerous enemies before any other of her new friends is hurt or killed.

The first Southern Quilting Mystery is a fun charming regional amateur sleuth mystery starring a determined newcomer and the quirky guild posse. Beatrice is a terrific protagonist as she fears she will be bored with small-town living even with her daughter nearby. The quilters are a zany group who offer friendship to the newest resident while also enabling readers to see how the residents of a small southern town live especially during a shocking tragedy.

Although the reason for Beatrice to investigate is weak, a sub-genre hazard, and her stumbling over the corpse, a frequent sub-genre occurrence, her enjoyable inquiry is top-rate as she stitches the clues into a pattern that with each stitch leading her closer to identifying the killer; hopefully before the murderer identifies the quilter designing the murderer's pattern. With quilting tops included, starting with Hurricane Meadow's whirlwind abduction, readers will enjoy touring Dappled Hills guided by quirky support cast and a dynamic retiree.

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