I’m once again returning to the Most Popular and Recommended Series list that I have been compiling for quite some time now, this time focusing on Amanda Lee‘s Embroidery Mystery Series. Specifically, I read The Quick and the Thread, the first entry in the series.
The Quick and the Thread is definitely made in the mold of the modern Cozy mystery, as the sleuth, former accountant Marcy Singer, has decided to give up her crumbling professional and romantic lives in her old home of California to put down new roots in a smaller, “Cozier” community, in this case Tallulah Falls, Oregon. What’s more, she’s decided that the best business venture for this small community is a hobby store catering to her own personal passion, embroidery.
Unfortunately, as with all too many small start up businesses in small towns that normally seem to have low crime rates, her financial success is quickly threatened by the repeated murders occurring on, near, or related to her property. In this case, the previous tenant of the shop attempts to approach Marcy at her grand opening party, but she avoids him because he seems obviously inebriated… which turns out to be possibly more than just alcohol, as he turns up dead in her storage room the following morning, having left a cryptic message scratched in the wall. Naturally, this isn’t the only corpse that will turn up associated with Marcy’s shop in one way or another!
Tallulah Falls feels like a nice, comfortable community with plenty more stories to tell, and the fact that the sleuth is a genuine outsider instead of a “small town girl getting back to her hometown from the big city” definitely gives more opportunities for her to be uninformed about relationships among the townspeople without feeling like she’s been strangely out of the loop. Fans of romance subplots will likely also be satisfied by one of several possible suitors, though I’d wager that particular plot thread won’t see resolution for at least a few more books.
A “themed” Cozy tends to either go very heavy or very light on the theming, and I’d say that The Quick and the Thread leans a bit more toward the less end than the more. Though this may be my own reaction, as embroidery is one theme that I personally have some experience with, so my personal tolerance for going “off the rails” to discuss the theme instead of the mystery might be a bit higher here than in some other cases. That said, I think that even readers without a particular interest in embroidery or other similar crafts shouldn’t have any issue getting through the themed parts.
I’d say that overall, The Quick and the Thread is a great start to what feels like on of the “classic” series of modern Cozies. If you’re interested in a quaint, small-town American Cozy set in modern day with a focus on a embroidery and featuring light romantic elements, this will be “right up your alley”.
P.S. As Gayle Trent she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery Series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery Series. As Gayle Leeson she writes the Down South Café Mystery Series.