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Blackwork (Needlecraft Mystery) Hardcover – October 6, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
Book 13 of 18 in the A Needlecraft Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ferris's spooky 13th needlecraft mystery (after 2008's Thai Die) finds Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop, preparing for the upcoming Halloween festivities in Excelsior, Minn., along with a host of other locals, including Leona Cunningham, a Wiccan and senior partner in a microbrewery pub, who's mixing a new brew called Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Ale. When Ryan McMurphy, an auto mechanic who's offered his restored antique fire truck for the parade, turns up dead in a friend's basement sewing room, Betsy once again puts on her sleuthing cap. Some of the stitchers, who serve as a sort of friendly Greek chorus, are into blackwork, an intricate reversible form of embroidery. Instructions for a blackwork pattern, Witchwork, appear at the end. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Monica Ferris is the USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series under various pseudonyms.
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Product Details

  • Series: Needlecraft Mystery (Book 13)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425229904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425229903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,028,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is Halloween and the owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth Betsy Devonshire has so far unraveled a number of mysteries.

This time of year, when the goblins and witches are out in full force, people are easily spooked. Leona Cunningham is the owner of a popular microbrewery called The Barleywine, and a practitioner of Wicca.

Leona is troubled by the accusations of alcoholic Ryan McMurphy as he tells everyone around town that she is a real witch. He is starting to have an affect on her business.

As the Monday Bunch meet for their weekly get-together at Crewel World to work on their respective projects, the news and views of the small town are thoroughly discussed, including a recent destructive attack on Leona's property.

When Ryan is found dead in a locked room without any marks on his body, Leona becomes the main suspect.

Although reluctant to become involved, Betsy is soon on the case and the killer is in trouble as a growing number of clues lead Betsy through a series of suspects to the unexpected culprit.

Monica Ferris has constructed another interesting mystery that will keep most readers guessing to the end. Those who are not comfortable with reading about the practice of Wicca may not enjoy this book as much as the other books in the series.

As is usual with any theme cozy mystery, there is much talk about the main topic - in this case, crewelwork and its themes, patterns, and stitches. At the end of the book, a crewel pattern of a witch's hat is included. Directions are provided as well as a website address for further information.

The novel's theme fits into the Halloween season and could become a popular yearly fall read.

Blackwork (Needlecraft Mystery)
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Format: Hardcover
Monica Ferris is at it again with her lively sleuth and shop-owner, Betsy Devonshire.

This time, the prime suspect is a member of the Wicca religion - many people blame her because the murder is not easily explained and her religion not understood. So what they don't understand, they condemn.

But the careful reader can see what's going on. There are no real twists and turns and sudden surprising revelations. (I guessed the murderer - but it's not easy). If you pay attention to the details, everything makes a lot of sense - extremely satisfying.

The new characters are both believable and likable. Personally, I'd like to see more of the shop and less of the surrounding village politics. But the mystery is straight forward and an ideal entertainment for the Halloween season.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the 13th book in the Needlecraft mystery series. In this Halloween themed book, Betsy is on the committee for the fall festival. At one of the interminable planning meetings at a local restaurant/bar, there is an altercation between Ryan and one of the bar owners, Leona, who happens to be a Wiccan. Ryan has been staying as a guest of Betsy’s employee Shelly and Shelly’s boyfriend in her stitching studio. When Ryan turns up dead in a locked room scenario, Leona asks Betsy to find out the truth and clear her name. The mystery was okay, but there were some events that stretched the imagination. The book includes a Halloween themed stitching pattern at the end of the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have no talent for needlepoint or knitting but the stories in this series keep me enthralled. I read this one out of order so I knew things that were only hinted at in this book, but I still enjoyed it tremendously. The mystery was interesting and I hadn't really considered the murderer as a suspect until the very end. One of the new characters is a witch (I was hoping they would include her recipe for pumpkin ale instead of the needlework pattern!) and it was wonderful to see this older woman's religion treated with some understanding and respect for wiccan beliefs instead of having a cartoon spell casting "witchy" vixen. This series may even inspire me to start knitting!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must admit I ordered this book thinking it was an instruction book on blackwork, and was surprised to find it was a mystery based in an embroidery shop called Crewel World. I had just finished a lot of heavy reading, though, and had never tried the mystery genre, so why not,? I thought. "Blackwork" turns out to be a quick, enjoyable and satisfying read. As a crafter, I really enjoyed the references to the crafting world, such as the Monday Group of needleworkers. Also, how little details from the crime scene involving needlework ultimately lead to the murderer's identity.

The story takes place over about a two week period, just before Hallowe'en, and the Excelsior Hallowe'en Parade. A superstitious drunkard, Ryan MacMurphy dies of "natural causes", but...he's only 34? How can that be? He had been telling people that a local microbrew owner, a practicing Wiccan, was a real WITCH who cursed him. There are a few twists and turns in the story, and an exciting climax. Yes, at times the book is a bit predictable, and that's why I've given the review only 4 out of 5 stars. However, the characters are interesting, and I find I would like to know more about Godwin and his new friend, Rafael. I want to learn more about the amateur sleuth / shopkeeper, Betsy Devonshire, and the other denizens of Excelsior.

Since it was a fast and enjoyable read, I know I'll be checking out some of the other Monica Ferris titles. I think if you enjoy mysteries and like any type of needlework or crafting, you would get a kick out of this book.
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