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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Definitely Not Your Grandma's Cozy!
on March 18, 2008
First of all, I LOVE the title - the play on I Corinthians 13:12 "for now we see through a glass, darkly..." - for it is a harbinger of things to come, both in this particular storyline and no doubt in the series as well. While Sarah Atwell's Glassblowing Mystery might at first blush appear to be a typical arts and crafts cozy, it is definitely NOT your typical cozy. This story is a bit more dark and a whole lot more suspenseful than most.
Emmeline Dowell is living an artist's dream in Tucson - she owns a fabulous old building in the Warehouse District, with a shop and studio below and her living space above. She need only walk down a flight of stairs to slip into her studio and lose herself in her art each day. Ms. Atwell does a great job of incorporating the art of glassblowing into her novel, and yet not so much so that someone who isn't interested in it at all should skip it. There is plenty here to hold the attention of any mystery lover.
Emmeline is a strong yet soft-hearted woman who often uses her art and her position as a business owner to help others. She decides to reach out to a young Irish woman, Allison McBride, who is short on cash but interested in learning the art of glassblowing. Emmeline's involvement is rewarded with a dead man in her studio and even more trouble than this reader sees coming. We also meet Chief Matthew Lundgren, of the Tucson PD, who is a top-notch cop from Em's past. At this point, this cozy morphs a bit into a police procedural, with plenty of cops, bad guys, murder, and mayhem, with the FBI tossed in for good measure.
After a LOT of suspense and much maneuvering by the main characters, the story once again takes on a more lighthearted tone and things get wrapped up rather neatly, with just enough loose ends to keep the reader waiting for the next installment. I thoroughly enjoyed the history of glassmaking that was included at the end of the novel, but the recipes just didn't belong. I love finding recipes in culinary cozies, but their inclusion here feels awkward and out of place.
All in all, this is an enjoyable, exciting read, but it's not your grandma's cozy! It is definitely more dark and has a lot more meat than the typical cozy. I'll be looking forward to book #2 in the Glassblowing Mystery series!