Lucille begs Betsy to help clear her new friend's name. And while going through her aunt's effects, Jan finds an old pillow lined with an embroidered map of Lake Minnetonka. Betsy intends to follow the threads. Who knows--it could just possibly lead to buried treasure. Or, perhaps, to a secret that someone will kill to keep buried.
I'm not a knitter, had to look up "counted cross stitch" to figure out what they were talking about, but the Minnesota locale drew me in to the first book -- and now I can't stop reading and/or listening.
I have no doubt it has a niche appeal -- especially the narrator. If Connie Crawford were reading any other series, I'd never get through it. But for a book focusing on the Ladies Who Knit, in Minnesota, she's perfect -- talk about type casting. That accent! Loved it -- loved it for this book, you understand. That is precisely how I would expect such a woman to sound.
Sins and Needles has much more going on than previous books -- a much more multi faceted plot line. Here we have Great Aunt Edyth, a confirmed man-hater, passing away at age 97, and leaving tens of millions of dollars plus a house filled with antiques. The various characters -- her descendants, male, female and assorted hangers-on -- all vie to get a piece of the action, but her Aunt Edyth's will makes it tough. She specifies it will only go to her FEMALE descendants -- which means that the male members, and other greedy souls (no spoiler here) have to work overtime to get their hands on some of the loot. To be honest, it's a textbook on greed and avarice -- watching all of them scheme and plot was enough to make me think that if Great Aunt Ethyl had been smart, she would have disinherited the whole crowing, clawing, vicious lot of them and left it all to an animal shelter. Sheesh! They're disgusting -- which gets pretty funny, actually. It's sort of like watching the Superbowl:. There's one ball, and everyone is willing to risk life and limb to get it.
So? Among other things, in addition to a murder via knitting needle, we end up reading about a hidden map, an actual treasure hunt -- complete with leeches! -- children born "under the blanket", lots of trivia about antiques (which I enjoyed enormously) and leeches. Did I mention the leeches? This book has got 'The African Queen' beat all to heck.
If you want a quirky listen, I highly recommend this book, and indeed this series. Lake Minnetonka never seemed so appealing.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I enjoy this series of mysteries and would recommend this title because the story is one of the better ones.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
I was engaged in the story from the beginning and really didn't know Who Did It until quite near the end!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Unfortunately, the reader for this particular book had a voice that was VERY hard to listen to -- quite deep with very little contrast in voices with the exception of two characters who shared a deep southern drawl. In fact, one of the deepest character voices was that of the female protagonist which made it very hard to distinguish characters when she was in a dialog with a male character. This is the only book I have listened to by this reader and I will have to think about whether I would download another one.
Any additional comments?
Monica Ferris is a delightful writier with an eye to the community in Minnesota where her stories are set and that keeps me returning!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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 you guessing until the end!! I would recommend.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I missed the regulars in this story -- more Betsy, Jill, Lars, etc
also, this was the first narrated by Connie Crawford but I really didn't like her. Susan Boyce did a much better job.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
There are so many things wrong with this story that I don't know where to begin. The first thing that irritated me was the narrator's voice. Connie Crawford has a difficult time with male and female inflection. The different voices she used were awful. Also, Crawford can't do a decent Texas accent. Being from Houston Texas, I found her attempt very irritating. Towards the end of the book it seemed as if Crawford was tired because she rushed through the reading as if she were in a race. I looked ahead and noticed that Crawford is also reading the next book. In the future I will avoid her as a narrator.
Normally I can get over a bad narrator if the story is good. No such luck. For some odd reason, the author forgot the main ingredient that makes this a successful series. Betsy, Jill, and Godwin barely had speaking parts. Instead,this story revolved around a family drama and a character that would normally be on the periphery of the story. The characters were flat and uninteresting. The plot although believable was lacking in substance. It was filled with long and unnecessary descriptions of the items found in the murder victim's home. I felt like Ferris was writing to fill pages. Also, the villain was obvious. In fact, the villain was pointed out at the beginning of the story and the reasons were spelled out over and over throughout the book.
This was not one of the best book in the series. It was the worst. I wish I hadn't wasted a credit on it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Monica Ferris continues to write good mysteries for this series, however this one seemed to fall short. I’m not sure, but the change in narrator may have been the cause.
I love this series, and several years after reading them, I am enjoying them on Audible. Some of the narrators are much better suited for the voices than others. This particular one has a very low voice which makes it difficult to hear the female voices distinguished from the male.
What did you like best about Sins and Needles? What did you like least?
The storyline of this book had potential, and there were multiple suspects until shortly before the ending, but it could have been brought to life more effectively in the telling. I didn't care for the narrator at all, and the ending seemed rather abrupt. I would have preferred to see the family relationship resolved more fully, including the affect on the inheritance. An epilogue would have been nice. Also, the overly detailed descriptions of items became somewhat tedious.
Who was your favorite character and why?
None of of the characters really stood out or drew me to them.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Her character voices aren't very enjoyable, and I had to increase the speed just to make listening tolerable. Obviously, this diminished my enjoyment of the book. Plus, the pronunciation of Betsy's last name (Devonshire) has changed back and forth over the last few books. One would think the author would make sure this at least was consistent.
Was Sins and Needles worth the listening time?
Yes, but probably only because I've enjoyed the series in the past and I'm trying to make it through the three books performed by this narrator to get to books once again performed by the original narrator.
Any additional comments?
I think Betsy's character is becoming a bit flat, and her "talent" for solving murders is being stretched a little thin. I have hope that the next book will show more life and personality, although with the same narrator, it could be false hope.
Would you consider the audio edition of Sins and Needles to be better than the print version?
For me, no. Even though I have a preconceived notion of what the characters look and sound like from the book, with this narration, it was so poorly done that I would have had a better time reading the book.
What other book might you compare Sins and Needles to and why?
Reminds me of the Benni Harper Mystery series by Earlene Fowler. Also, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure, Haunted Bookshop Mystery series by Alice Kimberly and Cleo Coyle. Both series are similar and thoroughly enjoyable.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Connie Crawford?
Johanna Parker, Susan Boyce. Both do an excellent job of the pace of reading, enunciation and differentiating the characters with believable tones that are consistent throughout.
Any additional comments?
I did not enjoy this narrator at all. She ended most of her sentences on a down note. The characters always were made to sound cranky. There was little difference in the tone of her voice for the different characters and the pace she spoke at tended to be dragging. I'm sure with more practice she could be a fine story teller, but this one just didn't cut it.
The only problem that I had with this book is that there were times that there was too much filler. It was like the editor kept telling the author to make it longer. For example: Her finisher brings in a huge box of projects that she finished. Betsy goes through all of the items...like nine of them...and describes each one in minute detail, who designed the canvas, etc. There seemed to be too many times when they had that piece where the heroin reviews all the facts...again and again. Other than that, it was a delightful story. I wouldn't talk someone out of reading the book because of that, it just wasn't up to the normal par of the author.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
What a pity. The previous ones were great, but this narrator is flat and unconvincing, as well as hard to follow at points