The only time I buy books this short are when I'm spending a bonus gift card, so frequently I end up with a book written by an author I don't know, a ..Show More »book whose chief asset was that it didn't cost more than the value of the gift card. This was one of those, and a lucky buy.
I like a good cozy now and then -- at least to intersperse with some of the more violent or hard-boiled thrillers -- and this one was exceptionally good. It starts very differently, that's for sure. The woman you think is going to be the protagonist isn't -- its her sister instead, Betsy, who turns out to be a more interesting person than her goody-two-shoes, civic-minded sister would have been -- something about the lure of that 'sadder but wiser' girl that Prof. Harold Hill lusted after in 'Music Man'. Betsy has a bit of history behind her, which makes her all that much more interesting.
The first part of the book deals with Betsy's stepping into her new role, so we get an unusually long 'introduction'. No doubt some listeners will be screaming to get on with the detection part, but I liked this more gradual entry. And besides, it makes you think: What if you arrived in a brand new town, and within a day, found yourself entirely responsibly for planning -- and paying for -- a funeral? Good stuff -- I'll be looking for more books by this author, and I'm glad to know how it all began.
I don't think any knowledge or interest in knitting or crafting of any kind is required -- nor is it gender-specific. Male crewel artists appear, too -- it's ART, and not just for women any more, which this book proves beyond a doubt.
The narrator was new to me as well -- there's a faint trace of Brooklyn or maybe LonGuyland in her voice, even though the story is set in small-town Minnesota. Didn't matter -- she probably wouldn't know what to do with lutefisk or lefse, but she did a fine job reading.
I purchased A Stitch in Time because it is set in the area my mother's family was from. I was bemused by the woodsy small town feel of the setting, Wh..Show More »ile Excelsior (why don't narrators check for local pronunciations) is a small town, it is on the shore of a large lake surrounded by big houses, waterfront businesses, lots of other small towns or villages, and lots of old money. There is very little open space left between the Lake Minnetonka area and Minneapolis and the intervening suburbs. Actually, this story could be set anywhere. A inside joke about hotdish (casserole to much of the country) was the only Minnesota touch I heard in the four hours I listened.
My biggest complaint was that, after 3.5 hours into the story, nothing mysterious had happened. Actually nothing much had happened at all. The potential (and I think eventual) mystery plot line about a tapestry was dropped almost as soon it was mentioned. Instead the listener was treated to a 10 minute internal monologue about the evolution of how Betsy's cat let Betsy know when it was feeding time and a scene at an overly long Christmas party. Neither did anything to move the story forward. Most of the story took place in a needlework shop Betsy inherited from her late sister. The subplot of Betsy having to economize because the business (Crewel World) was unprofitable at the moment was a laugh because Betsy was due to inherit $3 million in a couple of months.
What I really hate are supposedly smart heroes who do stupid things, and Betsy is so stupid she drove off into a raging blizzard to pick up and deliver a needlepoint pillow. Not only that, when her car went off the road in a whiteout, she actually got out and considered walking down the road. There was excuse for such a stupid action, all for the love of needlework. I don't care if Betsy had been living in San Diego, she was from Wisconsin where she would have learned some winter driving and survival smarts.
I have no idea what the crime or mystery in the story was because I just couldn't listen any more. Nothing happened and the narrator grated on my nerves. The writing is fine, it's just that a story should go somewhere before it ends. Maybe if I had been into needlework, I would have stayed the course. But I doubt it.
These are definately fireside listens. They are far fetched in that the police are so laid back. Hopefully this is not the way in real life, but the..Show More »y make for easy and enjoyable listening.
I am going through the whole series in the proper order, and enjoying each of these books.
I sound like a parrot when I write these reviews. They are simple, clean mysteries. They border on silly, but they are also enjoyable. It is so har..Show More »d to find a book that can be listened to by young and old alike.
I will listen to them all, and hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
This is a Betsy Devonshire series book, the sixth one. In this book, Betsy hires a general contractor to replace the roof on her store. His work is ve..Show More »ry good, and when it is completed, and he comes in to be paid, all the people in the Monday knitting group suddenly go silent. After he leaves, they inform her that everyone is sure that he killed his mistress and her husband five years ago and got away with the murder. He has been persona non grata in the town since. He asked Betsy to do some sleuthing and prove that he was innocent of the murders. She begins her investigation and ultimately finds out the truth. I like these books for the characters involved and for the detailed descriptions of needlecraft work and designs. But this one, because it began on Halloween day, had a sub-theme of ghost stories that I found a little tedious. All in all, it was a fast read and entertaining.
the Excelsior Minnesota art fair is happening, and Betsy is involved volunteering for the fair. When an artisan is murdered there, the list of sus..Show More »pects is practically endless. Betsy Devonshire wants to help out in the police investigation. Her best friend, Officer Jill Cross, confides that they have a lead: A bloody footprint in the woodcarvers' booth matches that of a local youth. But when Betsy can't keep the news to herself, Jill gives Betsy the cold shoulder. Everyone's on pins and needles - and when the family of the kid in question asks Betsy to prove his innocence, she must first regain Jill's trust, then figure out who had designs on the dead designer. This is not one of Monica Ferris’ best. It’s pretty easy to figure out the murderer early on, but she does move along Godwin’s story in this book and provides tons of information about needlecrafts. I’m not a needlecrafts person, but the discussions of that craft in these books are fascinating even to me. The comic thing to me about these books is that each one starts by stating that Excelsior Minnesota is a quiet town where murder never happens, and in these books, murder happens every time, mostly in Excelsior. In fact, Excelsior is a quiet town along the shore of Lake Minnetonka.
Another 4 stars. This is a light and quick read. The characters lovable and realistic. If you are looking for a series with a likeable, honest, str..Show More »aightforward main character with friends & co-workers that are relatable and a peek into small town life with a who-done-it as the mechanism for spending time with them, this is for you.
Actually I started reading books from this author. I was very glad to find that her books were on audio. Her books are light and fun and she keeps yo..Show More »u guessing until the end!! I would recommend.
These are all good 'three stars.' If a change from teeth grinding suspense and gory descriptions of macabre emotional mayhem are what you seek perhaps..Show More » a small town 'murder ' may be in order. This is an amusing tale of committee meetings, grudges, brewing beer, needlework and knitting. And a death from maybe natural causes. The sort of story you can put down for a while, and happily return to again and listen some more.
Great story - Monica Ferris has done it again! The performance left a lot to be desired in my estimation. Susan Boyce put emphasis on the wrong word..Show More »s - used inappropriate inflections, and was, in my opinion, hard to listen to.