The next series I’m going to cover from the monthly most recommended mystery series is Lea Wait’s Mainely Needlepoint Mystery Series. Twisted Threads is the first book in this very popular series. Lea Wait writes both the Mainely Needlepoint Series and the Shadows Antique Print Mystery Series. (This link lists all the books from these two series.)
As you might guess from the series title, Twisted Threads, is set in a small fictional town on the coast of Maine, Haven Harbor. The story begins when Angie Curtis, a private investigator working in Arizona, receives a call from her grandmother telling her it is time to come home because her mother has been found. Angie’s mother disappeared almost 20 years earlier when Angie was almost ten. Now her body has been found and Angie returns to town after a ten-year (or so) absence.
Of course, Angie’s mother had been murdered. So Angie, trained as a private investigator, naturally wants to help solve the mystery of how her mom came to be killed.
While Angie was away, her grandmother’s needlepointing has turned into a sort of co-op business with Charlotte (her grandmother) arranging for custom work for Haven Harbor’s handful of needlepointers. Things had been going well with the Mainely Needlepoint group until a man convinced Charlotte to let him represent the group by gathering orders all around New England and collecting the earnings for them. This arrangement worked fine until the man stopped bringing the money around to Charlotte to distribute to the group.
So, Angie volunteers to find the man and see what she could do to retrieve what the group was owed. And, not long into the story, another murder occurs, giving Angie’s private investigator training a real workout!
Twisted Threads is a typical modern Cozy with a few somewhat unusual elements. Not too many Cozy Mystery sleuths carry a gun, for example. Angie is a bit on the harder side of Cozy sleuths with the suggestion that she has lived a relatively wild life (for a Cozy sleuth!) both before and after she left Haven Harbor. The town is full of interesting characters including a minister who has a large Ouija board collection which he uses on occasion. (Some readers may be bothered by the minister using a Ouija board.)
Another warning is in order. The book includes some references to pedophilia that happened years ago in the town. I know some Cozy readers do not want a Cozy to deal with such serious issues, but this one does.
Despite its more serious and hard-edged undertones, the book is a fast read and has a lot of Cozy elements. The story is set in an interesting small town on the coast of Maine. The characters are varied, and Angie’s grandmother is a three-dimensional character with some surprises of her own. And, there is hint of possible romance to come for Angie. And for many Cozy Mystery readers, the setting is particularly attractive!
P.S. If you’d like to see more highlights of some of the most recommended or popular Cozy Mystery authors/series, visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.