Friday, March 31, 2017

Tightening the Threads: A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery

It's Friday!  Congrats on making it through the last week of March. Please be very aware that tomorrow is April Fool's Day!  You need to watch out for the pranksters in your life (my father always loved playing jokes on me). 

Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait is the fifth book in A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series.  Angie Curtis is surprised when her friend and antiques dealer, Sarah Byrne tells her why she has been spending so much time with gallery owner, Ted Lawrence.  It turns out that Ted is her uncle.  Sarah has finally found family and this weekend Ted is going to tell his children about Sarah.  They are all coming to town for Ted’s seventy-fifth birthday.  Sarah asks Angie to come along for the weekend at Ted’s home The Point.  Jeremy, Ted’s longtime gallery employee and Patrick West will also be in attendance.  After Ted’s children arrive, they enjoy a special dinner and then birthday cake along with champagne.  Ted then announces that the kids (they are all adults) have a new cousin and introduces Sarah.  But, Ted is not finished with his pronouncements.  He tells them that he has stage four lung cancer, and he will be altering his will to include Sarah.  He wishes for her to receive the Robert Lawrence (Sarah’s grandfather) paintings.  The children are outraged and Jeremy is less than pleased.  The next day they prepare for a lobster and clam bake on the beach.  Everyone is enjoying the delicious seafood dinner when Ted suddenly stands up.  He cannot speak and points at his throat.  Ted is quickly rushed to the hospital where, unfortunately, he passes away an hour later.  Someone in the family objected to Ted changing his will, and they were making sure he would not be able to accomplish his goal.  Luke Lawrence hires Angie to investigate Ted’s death.  He wants the case wrapped up as quickly as possible (so everyone can return home).  The next day Angie receives word that there has been another death. Is foul play involved?  Angie needs to work quickly before Haven Harbor gets a bad reputation (or someone does away with the rest of Ted’s ungrateful children).

Tightening the Threads is easy to read, has good characters, and a beautiful setting. The author provides some lovely descriptions of the town and surrounding area.  I thought the book had a good pace.  I did not find any slow spots.  The mystery did not start until I was forty percent of the way through the book.  The first part of the book sets up the story and the last part is in solving it.  I give Tightening the Threads 4 out of 5 stars.  The mystery was intriguing.  I like how the author crafted it and the unique method of murder.  I thought that part of it was easy to solve, but the other element was a little more challenging (I am trying not to give anything away).  I do wish that there had been a good outcome for Sarah.  I am a little disappointed with Angie and her jealousy concerning Patrick West.  Patrick and Angie’s relationship is in the early stages and her jealousy seems unwarranted.  Patrick does not seem the type of person to kiss and cheat.  The author included a secondary mystery regarding bones in a wall dividing Angie’s property from her neighbors.  It really seemed like a senseless inclusion (it was a letdown).  Then there was the issue of Ted’s wife, Lily.  The way it was written in the book, I thought Lily’s death would turn out to be a long unsolved murder (I expected it to go somewhere).  Her death was mentioned a couple of times, and I kept thinking the author would tie it in somehow (a lover did her in, a jealous friend, someone spiked her drink).  Overall, though, I enjoyed Tightening the Threads.  It captured and held my interest.  I will be reading Thread the Halls when it comes out in October.  

Lea Wait also writes An Antique Print Mystery series.  You should get a sample of Shadows at the Fair which is the first book in the series.   I will see you tomorrow when I review Dying on the Vine by Marla Cooper. May each of you have a fantastic Friday.  I hope the day passes quickly for you.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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