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Lye in Wait (A Home Crafting Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Cricket McRae
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Cocoa butter soap, check. Lemon lip balm, check. A dead body?

That's just what Sophie Mae Reynolds finds in her workroom: the corpse of Walter Hanover, the neighborhood handyman. He died from drinking lye, something she has in good supply. But the police don't suspect Sophie Mae, a thirty-something widow who makes and sells beauty products. Instead they call it a suicide. But why would a man with lottery cash and a loving fiancée kill himself?

No one can stop the impulsive Sophie Mae from answering this riddle, not her sensible best friend Meghan or Detective Ambrose, who incites annoyance as well as stomach flutters. Sophie Mae's big mouth and sharp nose lead her to a peppermint-scented trail of arson, bigamy, and a shocking family secret that reveals a personal connection to Walter . . . and his killer.

This crafty new series features real recipes and a blundering, yet lovable, amateur sleuth who brings a fresh face to cozy mysteries.

Editorial Reviews


"Lye in Wait is an enjoyable book with a credible, if not complex, plot that's handled well. It's a fine start to this new series." -- Hidden Staircase Mystery Books/Mysterious Reviews

"As impressed as I was when McRae was realistic about crafting supplies, I was even more impressed when Sophie ran into all the sorts of realistic problems a self-appointed busybody ought to run into - people she upsets needlessly, people who refuse to talk, and official people who point out that she's simultaneously making herself a target and a suspect. As fond as I am of cozies, book after book of people deputizing themselves and just tripping over clues gets annoying very quickly. Sophie is given a reason for her inability to stop meddling (and it's not just the obvious one) and she runs into roadblocks. I appreciated that." -- Reviewing the Evidence

"Ms. McRae has a unique talent for turning phrases in her wording, and Lye in Wait is a promising start to a new series." -- Romance Reviews Today

"The author, herself a soap maker, gives readers a new tweak on the cozy, complete with credibly written characters possessing enough appealing eccentricities to keep readers happy." -- Booklist, 9/15/07

"This is a cozy mystery that holds substance, suspense and clever twists for readers." -- The Coloradoan, 12/09/07

About the Author

Cricket McRae's contemporary Home Crafting Mysteries reflect her interest in traditional colonial skills. Set in the Pacific Northwest, they feature activities like soap making, food preservation, spinning, cheese making, and mead making. For two years Cricket managed her own soap making business, including all product design, manufacturing and marketing. The author resides in Colorado.  She also writes the Magical Bakery Mysteries under the pen name Bailey Cates and the western mystery, Shotgun Moon as K.C. McRae. For more information and recipes, visit and

Product Details

  • File Size: 1669 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001JEPF60
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,494 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who killed the handyman with lye? April 7, 2008
Sophie Mae Reynolds is quite surprised to find the neighborhood handyman, Walter Hanover, dead in her workroom. He died from drinking lye. She has plenty of it on hand for making soap. But the police call it suicide.

Sophie can't understand why a man who won the lottery and has a loving fiancée kill himself. So, she investigates. Her best friend Meghan tries to stop her to no avail. Detective Ambrose, who sends the butterflies in her stomach a flutter but can also cause her annoyance, can't stop her either.

Her sleuthing leads her to peppermint and a trail of arson, bigamy, and a family secret that's quite shocking and reveals a personal connection to Walter. Can it connect him to his killer? Can Sophie uncover the killer without putting herself and those she loves at risk?

Sophie is a breath of fresh air as a lovable amateur sleuth. She is so much fun as she works her way through her investigation. I look forward to reading many more adventures with Sophie.

Detective Ambrose and Meghan help balance Sophie and try to keep her out of trouble. That isn't an easy job.

The new craft series features recipes as well. I highly recommend this book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has Some Good Moments July 15, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Soap maker Sophie Mae Reynolds is devastated when she finds the body of neighborhood handyman Walter Hanover on her workroom floor. The police think he committed suicide by drinking lye but Sophie Mae isn't convinced and begins looking into Walter's death herself much to the annoyance of Detective Barr Ambrose. The more Sophie Mae digs, the more complicated the case becomes. Sophie Mae doesn't seem to have a clue about Walter's death, but someone thinks she does and soon her life and the lives of those around her are in real danger.

"Lye in Wait" is the first book in Cricket McRae's Home Crafting Mystery series and it has some good moments. The characters are good, starting with Sophie Mae. She is a well-written character - widowed and making a decent living with her soap and other beauty products. I liked the fact that in this book, unlike some other mysteries, Sophie Mae is seen actually working instead of letting the mystery take over the book. Sophie Mae lives with her friend Meghan and Meghan's young daughter Erin and McRae does a good job of describing the relationship between the three which is very believable. The descriptions of the meals that Sophie Mae and Meghan cook made my mouth water. While the characters and soap making elements worked for me, the mystery aspects didn't work as well. Although the book has all the elements of a cozy mystery (including the ubiquitous attractive detective) it is a little too gritty to be called a cozy, especially in the way Walter dies and Meghan's relationship with her jerk of an ex-husband. The mystery seems to rely on too many coincidences and I felt cheated at the end when the murderer was revealed.

"Lye in Wait" is not a perfect mystery, but has some good moments and interesting characters and looks like the start of a good mystery series.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very intriguing story October 19, 2007
McRae definitely knows how to craft a story. This is a great read that keeps your interest from the first page. Sophie Mae Reynolds just can't stop wondering why poor Walter Hanover would commit suicide. She forges ahead for answers, even though she often gets the feeling she should mind her own business. 'Lye in Wait' is full of surprises: I could not put this book down and I can't wait for the sequel. Go Sophie Mae!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lye in wait December 10, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very pleased to have found a new mystery series. "Lye in Wait" was a page turner, & I stayed up way too late reading it. The prose really flows, & there are no lulls in the action. The first person narration was great, & I ended up loving Sophie Mae more than the mystery.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars three books in one! November 9, 2007
By Lu
Not only do we get a good mystery story, but also recipes for making soap, lip balm and bath crystals--with great tips throughout the book--along with instructions on how to run your own business. I still can picture the characters clearly and there were portions where I laughed out loud. Very cleverly written...loved it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good New Murder Series July 9, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are two ladies combining their lives, homes, and individual businesses. Meghan owns the house and lives there with her daughter. Meghan runs a massage business. Our co-sleuth is soap maker, Sophie Mae Reynolds, her best friend.

To the ladies dismay, Sophie Mae goes down to her basement workshop and finds their local handyman not installing plasterboard but dead, from drinking liquid lye.

With this gruesome discovery, Sophie Mae, Meghan, and Erin (daughter,) find themselves woven into an intricate murder mystery. The mystery builds as the book progresses.

This was a great debut for a series and also gives us recipes for making home lotions and lip balm.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Fun, 'Novel' Read October 12, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
What a fun series. I happened to meet the author and pick up her book by happenstance. Although, it took a couple of pages to get into it, after the first chapter or two, I couldn't wait to turn the page. A fun, unique book with a great character. I was pulled into Sophie Mae's life and just bought the third book in the series. Fun plot and enjoyable characters. Mystery and suspense without the gore. Definitely enjoyable and nicely written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm so glad that I ended up loving this one so much!
Wow, I actually really enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! It was a nice, cozy mystery but there were a lot of surprise twists and turns in there. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide)
4.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted
This was a well written story. Actually it was better than my expectations. I related to the characters and became involved with the story as it unfolded. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Sara Paschal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Engaging story with fun characters. The recipes at the end of the book are ones I'd like to try.
Published 20 days ago by mckeever's mom
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable.
Good light reading.
Published 29 days ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great, love it
Published 1 month ago by melonhead58
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Boring. Didn't really get into it. Characters weren't particularly interesting, neither was the plot. Never finished it.
Published 3 months ago by D. L. Sniderman
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Sophie Mae lives a quiet life running a home-based business selling hand-crafted soaps and lotions. Until the handyman drinks lye and ends up dead in Sophie Mae’s workroom. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Heather E. Hejduk
5.0 out of 5 stars Great character, intriguing story, easy and fun read.
This is my new favorite mystery series. I zoomed through this one and fell in love with the characters and their lifestyles. I
Published 5 months ago by kimarco
3.0 out of 5 stars okay
okay as a light read
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars soap mix up
I enjoyed the story and the ending was good. I like to listen to books also with text to speech and this book was terrible it added words all the time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Laura Nadon
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More About the Author

Born in Wyoming, I grew up in the West and earned degrees in philosophy and English from Colorado State University. Then I spent twenty years in the Pacific Northwest where my Home Crafting Mysteries are set. Shotgun Moon, set in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, is my first contemporary western mystery, written as K.C. McRae. I also write the Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates.

I've always had a fascination with the crafts that were once necessary for pioneers and colonial Americans to survive. Though admittedly seduced by the chemistry of soap making, the idea of stocking the winter larder with garden produce, and fiber crafts like spinning and knitting that can nourish the soul as well as keep a body warm, I try not to romanticize these skills so much as encourage the ongoing practice and preservation of them. As a girl I was as much a fan of Nancy Drew as of Laura Ingalls Wilder, so it's no surprise that my contemporary cozy series features a soap maker with a nose for investigation.

For two years I managed my own soap making business, including product design, manufacturing and marketing. I've worked at a variety of other jobs, ranging from driver's license examiner to program manager at Microsoft. This fulfills my mother's warning that I'd never have a "regular" job if I insisted on studying liberal arts in college.

Now I live in Colorado with my guy and two cats where I write a couple of mystery series with a standalone thrown in here and there.

For more information please visit


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