Brain Candy: Quilty Summer Mystery Reads
Okay, Fifty Shades of Grey these aren’t, but at least you won’t have to wrap these books in fabric to shield your reading tastes from public judgement or worry about the kids finding these books as they rummage through your beach bag for the sunscreen.
We thought it part of our GenQ entertainment responsibility to give you a handy list of quiltified mysteries that might help anesthetize your brain this summer.(Note: We haven’t read any of these. If they’re wildly enthralling, pass ‘em along to a friend. If they’re disappointing, pass ‘em along to a stranger.) And these are exactly the kind of books you need for your summer getaways, even if the getting away is only as far away as your local coffee shop. Leave that no-nonsense 101 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure for when the chill winds of fall start to blow.
This umpteenth latest in the prolific Elm Creek Quilts series is set in California wine country during Prohibition, where Rosa Diaz Barclay is mourning the death of four of her eight children from a mysterious disease, and coping with an increasing violent husband. Rosa escapes, runs from the law and from gangsters posing as Prohibition agents, finds her first love and more. Yes, quilts are involved.
A Shop Hop goes horribly wrong and a quilter dies. (This sounds a little like Sample Spree, right?) Quilt shop owner Dewey Pellicano is blamed when a customer is killed during a Twitter-induced stampede. Plus Dewey’s mentor, Pearl, is caught up in a prescription pill scam and her young, but trusted, assistant, Vangie, is suspected of killing her sketchy boyfriend. (Who said Shop Hops were just about fondling fabric?)
A storm hits Foggy Point, Washington, with strong winds, flooding and power outages. Long armer Harriet Truman and the Loose Threads quilt group are sewing flannel rag quilts and making plastic tarps from grocery bags for those living in a local homeless camp. One of the homeless men is found strangled, and a few days later a second man is also murdered. (Wtf?) Foggy Point P.D. detectives are trapped on the wrong side of a storm-caused rock slide that isolates the community, and the dead bodies at the homeless camp, Harriet and the Threads have to figure out who is killing people and why. All in a day’s work for people who wield a wicked needle.
Okay, this one is about spinning and weaving, but we figure any kind of fiber art is a great escape for your brain. It involves Martha Williamson, owner of The Spider’s Web, a shop specializing in spinning and weaving. Her quiet life in Washington is disrupted by the burglary of the town’s beauty salon, and rampant gossip over fears of another burglary are prophetic. Only it includes murder this time. And Martha’s business card is found at the scene.
Dig into the (ahem) seamy side of SoCal gang culture as a bright 13-year-old member of the Quilted Secrets guild ditches homeschooling and enrolls herself in a high school where gang activity is escalating, seemingly pushed by some outside force. The youngster draws attention for speaking up for gang victims, and P.I. Rachel Lyons tries to keep the young quilter safe while figuring out what’s behind the increasing gang violence.
This new series involves the Village Quilters Guild, who call Dappled Hills, North Carolina, home. Their mother ship is the Patchwork Cottage Quilt Shop, which is about to close because rents are going up. The shop’s well-hated landlord dies an untimely death, placing shop owner Beatrice on the hot seat. She’s got to decipher the pattern and catch the killer or give up quilting for a hobby more suited to prison.
The Someday Quilts sew-sisters are helping their town, Archers Rest, get ready for a big anniversary celebration. Plans get derailed, though, when a human skeleton is discovered in member Eleanor’s backyard, making her a suspect in a murder. And then a wave of vandalism dredges up fears that the town’s long-gone history of witchcraft is alive again. What a way to put a damper on a party!
Okay, no one dies in this one, but it still sounds interesting. Christmas is on its way, and so is a new pastor for residents of New Bern, Connecticut. The new guy was hired sight unseen to fill in while the regular pastor is on sabbatical, but he turns out to be a “she.” Shock absorbed, the new pastor settles in and forges a fast friendship with Cobbled Court Quilt Shop employee Margot Matthews. Then tragedy threatens to rip Margot’s family apart. Her quilting “family” and her new friend help her realize that detours in one’s life often yield its deepest meanings.