Title: Thread Herrings
Author: Lea Wait
Cozy Mystery, 7th in Series
Kensington (October 30, 2018) Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B079KSZ92D
Angie's first auction may turn out to be her last—when she bids on a coat of arms that someone would literally kill to possess . . .
Tagging along to an estate sale with her fellow Needlepointer, antiques shop owner Sarah Byrne, Angie Curtis impulsively bids on a tattered embroidery of a coat of arms. When she gets her prize back home to Haven Harbor, she discovers a document from 1757 behind the framed needlework—a claim for a child from a foundling hospital. Intrigued, Angie is determined to find the common thread between the child and the coat of arms.
Accepting her reporter friend Clem Walker's invitation to talk about her find on the local TV news, Angie makes an appeal to anyone who might have information. Instead, both women receive death threats. When Clem is found shot to death in a parking lot, Angie fears her own life may be in jeopardy. She has to unravel this historical mystery—or she may be the next one going, going . . . gone . . .
I was attracted to this mystery because it's set in Maine, where we are currently living. I was entertained to find the characters visiting our town in the first chapter, and dining at an establishment just down the street! (Note: this is a small town in Maine. *Everything* is just down the street). As usual with themed cozies, I wasn't much interested in the featured craft (needlepoint), but that doesn't really matter. No knowledge of needlepoint is needed to enjoy this mystery.
As a story, this is engaging, though I definitely felt the lack of back-story as I was jumping into the series at #7. Still, I cared about the characters and wanted to know what happens to them (and the author's carefully dropped hints about past adventures made me want to go back and start from the beginning). I very much enjoyed the setting, including the comments about how little is open in town during the winter--we have already encountered that reality on some of our excursions out and about!
I felt that the mystery was only adequately developed and challenging. I could guess fairly early who might have done the crime, in part because there were so few suspects. What I did appreciate was the far more realistic than usual degree to which Angie cooperates with the police. She's trying to figure things out, but she doesn't go off on a lone-wolf search or deliberately put herself in danger. Kudos to the author for finding a good balance on the amateur detective vs. police scale!
One grammatical niggle annoyed me, and I can't decide if it's an editorial failure or a deliberate move to make the first person narrator sound more natural. She consistently uses "I" instead of "me" where it should be the other way ("He'll meet Sarah and I at the shop..."), an error that I admit is common but which bothers me. Aside from that, the book is well-edited, and well-written.
This is a good read for a winter's day by the fire, I think--engaging enough to keep you turning the pages, and light enough to combat the winter darkness. I think it would be even better to start at the beginning of the series and see how Angie got to this point!
About the Author
Lea Wait lives on the coast of Maine. A fourth-generation antique dealer and the author of the Agatha-nominated Antique Print Mystery series, she loves all things antiques and Maine. She also writes historical novels for young people set in (where else?) nineteenth-century Maine. Visit her at leawait.com.Follow Lea on Facebook and GoodReads Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo
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Full Disclosure: I was given an electronic review copy of Thread Herrings as part of a Great Escapes free blog tour, in exchange for my honest review, not for a positive review. I also purchased a copy when I had issues with my ereader. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."