Monday, 23 December 2013

Book Review No. 26: Sins and Needles by Monica Ferris

It was two Monica Ferris cosy crimes on the bounce for me recently. I was just in that sort of mood. As I said just a couple of posts ago this cosy crime series, set in a needlecraft shop in Minnesota, is my favourite of all the many cosies I've read so far. Although now I've written that it's just reminded me of another series that I've probably also said is my favourite (the one set in a coffee shop in New York - my favourite kind of place in my favourite city, so what's not to love?); they can be joint favourites then.

Since I've discussed the previous book from this series already, you don't really need all the background, so here's a brief synopsis. A visitor from Texas comes into Betsy's needlecraft shop and Betsy notices that the visitor bears a remarkable resemblance to one of her regular customers. The look-alikes, Texan Lucille and local Jan, are introduced and it turns out that Lucille was adopted as a baby and has returned to Minnesota in search of her real family. But soon there's a death in Jan's family - her wealthy great-aunt is stabbed with just the sort of tiny knitting needle that Jan favours and Betsy is called in to help clear Jan's name.

Along the way, Betsy discovers a very old cushion lined with an embroidered map of the area which leads to a long-buried secret being uncovered and, eventually, the killer being unmasked.

The main thing to strike me about this book was how much darker it is than any of the others I've read in this series; I honestly thought it could have been written by a different author. And that's not a criticism, I found it a refreshing change. At over 300 pages, this book is L-O-N-G by cosy standards - most come in at around 200 pages. The extra pages in this one mean that the author was able to take a lot more time than usual building up the background to the story, introducing the characters in some depth and providing a much more intense reading experience. There was one section of the book, when the family are looking round the elderly aunt's home after her death, which goes on a bit too long (the editor should have done some culling here), but other than that I have few criticisms of this book. Enjoyable and recommended, if you happen to be a cosy fan. Even if you're not, this might not be a bad place to start.

And, did you notice? This is book review no. 26 of the year. Remember back in the midsts of time (January 8th - see the post here) when I set myself a challenge to read more books in 2013 than I had in 2012? Well, in 2012 I read 24 books and so far this year I've read 28, and I'm part way through no. 29. Might I even make it to 30???? Watch this space.


  1. A great review, I'll be looking out for this series. I'm impressed with how many you've read this year. I'm not sure how many I've got through, but nowhere near thirty! Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a very happy New Year.

  2. Merry Christmas to you and your family! If I could live in a bookstore I would, probably wouldn't sell any books though. You've definitely read a lot this year, hope Santa brings you more.


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