Friday, August 27, 2010

“String of Lies” by Mary Ellen Hughes

This is book number two in the Craft Corner mystery series featuring recent widow and craft store owner Jo McAllister.

We find Jo wondering about the fate of her store as she hears that wealthy businessman Parker Holt is buying up local real estate, including several stores on the street where Jo’s Craft Corner is located. Jo tries to reach him by phone, but he has a very protective secretary and she never hears back from him.

Since Jo’s best friend’s husband, Dan is working on a home improvement project for Mr. Holt, she decides to pay Mr. Holt a visit and asks Dan for the address. When Jo arrives she sees a car in the driveway but nobody answers the doorbell. She notices a side door is ajar. When she steps inside, she sees that Mr. Holt has fallen down the stairs and appears to be dead.

The police arrive and rule Mr. Holt’s death a homicide based on the evidence they find at the scene. Unfortunately suspicion is thrown upon Dan and his employee, Xavier. Jo knows this can’t be true so she sets out to find the truth.

Complicating matters is the fact that Parker Holt’s wife is the niece of the town’s mayor. Jo thinks the murder investigation will be wrapped up quickly, without looking at other suspects since the mayor is involved.

So Jo enlists her set of trusted helpers: her students from her craft classes. This time she is teaching a beading class. She lets them know what she’s uncovered and they help her ask questions of potential suspects and make sense of it all.

And they have an addition to the class - Vernon, the town’s butcher. He’s retired and is looking for a hobby. Turns out he’s got a knack for the craft and comes up with some beautiful beaded jewelry, even better than most of what the women make. One classmate jokes and says that Vernon didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed up for this class, which should be called ‘Beaded Earrings and Murder 101’.

We also find Jo on a first-name basis with police Lieutenant Russ Morgan. Their interest in each other is deepening. I’ve noticed a few books in this genre have the amateur female-sleuth and the male police-investigator become romantically involved. They each rely on the other.

I thought this was a good read as the book really held my interest. You can buy it here:


Librarian said...

I truly admire everyone who has both patience and talent for any kind of craft like stitching, sewing, knitting or beading; for me, I rather buy a new blouse than sew a button back on an old one... "String of lies" sounds good, but you are right, the romantic involvement of female sleuth character and main male police character is quite common in this kind of book. Maybe some authors could come up with different ideas for a change :-)

LadyPI said...

I used to do more crafting in days past. It does require patience - and good eyesight. I'm finding my eyes don't focus quite as well as they did when I was younger!