1 January 2015

Review: A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Marie Elliot

It's the last week of the year, so I'm burying the reviews of the books I didn't manage to finish in 2014 in the hope that you are all too busy recovering from Christmas to notice. A Stitch in Crime doesn't actually release for another three weeks, but I had an advance copy ...

Amazon Book Description

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel. Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds? 

When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

So boring

A Stitch in Crime is part of The Quilts of Love series, and while it had plenty of quilts (it was set in and around a quilt show), it was seriously lacking in the love department. It was pretty obvious Cole was the love interest—he was one of only a handful of male characters, and it was made clear that Thea wasn’t interested in the other single guy. What wasn’t obvious was any kind of romantic tension between the two—they seemed more like brother and sister, and that’s kind of creepy.

It also seemed to take forever to get to the point. The Amazon book description references the theft of a famous quilt: that happens exactly halfway through the book. The first half covers only a couple of days, and it moved so slowly I felt I was living that in real time.  Too much of the book was interior monologue, which  slowed the pace of the cozy mystery plot to the point where it killed any possibility of suspense.

But the lack of a romance or suspense wasn’t my main problem. My main issue was that the book was written entirely from Thea’s point of view, and she didn’t come across to me as an intelligent or interesting character. This was made worse by the fact that I found the writing somewhat juvenile (oh, look, Kenneth’s surname is Ransome, which rhymes with handsome, but he isn’t! How funny!).

It did occur to me that this is supposed to me a comedy cozy mystery in the lines of the Smart Chick Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark. It has some of the same features: a cozy mystery with a journalist/photographer as the love interest. But Thea James doesn’t hold a candle to Jo Tulip, and there weren't enough Cole scenes to see if he compared favourably with Danny. As a result, I gave up reading about halfway through.

The best part of A Stitch in Crime was the acknowledgement section, where the author thanks the readers who have bought, sold or supported the book in any way through recommendation or promotion. I liked that, and wanted to like the book so I could support it. But I didn’t.

Thanks to NetGalley and Abingdon Press for providing a free ebook for review.

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