New to me author, Betty Hechtman is on the blog today with the third in her Yarn Retreat Mystery series, narrated by Margaret Strom. In addition to the review, I have an excerpt from this cozy mystery,
Wound Up in Murder
Starting with a quick recap and introduction gave me the perfect amount of information to not feel lost in this first for me story, while never stepping over the line of too much information. Hechtman has a light touch with her prose: she presents each character with clear purpose, giving them a voice and presence from the start that serves as a base from which to build. Casey is a relative newcomer to Cadbury by the Sea, after her mother’s despairing of her ever sticking with any place or career. Well-known as a pastry chef, she’s now on her 3rd yarn retreat, and seems to be really enjoying the process and settling in. Her bestie, Julius the cat, seems to enjoy his life now as well: serving as both companion and sounding board to Casey’s every thought. Together the two have formed a unique partnership; Julius’ lack of speech allows Casey to sort through the details as she works to solve problems.
Two mysteries are wrapped in this story. The first is the ongoing search for the now grown woman, daughter of the original owner of the resort Vista del Mar, and niece of Margaret. Casey’s friend. This mystery here is an ongoing on, dropping in and out throughout the story, and allowing the friendship between Casey and Margaret to have moments that are clever and fun, and give us insight into Casey’s personality and curiosity. But, there has to be some conflict, and this begins with a Best of 1963 gathering at Vista del Mar, taking up much of the facility’s space and coming with it’s own unique restrictions. Casey’s Yarn Retreat is also scheduled, and the two groups need to shuffle, compromise and even share moments within the resort to make it all work. When the ex-wife of the leader of the 1963 party is found dead, with scarves used in an opening act / magic trick, and discovered by Casey the story really starts to take flight.
Casey’s friends, from the men vying for her attention, through Lucinda and others, and even the subtle and not so barbs from her mother have a place. Unique and rather eccentric moments (1963 clothing, speech, music and technology) add to the fun of the story, and the mystery bags for participants in the yarn retreat are all woven into an eminently readable and satisfyingly intriguing and twisty mystery: dancing on the edge of ‘too much’ but never flying over the cliff. Reasons for the who did it and why are clearly explained, after several miscues and misdirected moments as the clues are sorted out and brought to light, as well as another few moments of insight into the ongoing thread of the mystery woman. Easy to pick up, this is a perfect story for fans of yarncraft and cozies, although one doesn’t need to understand or know how to work with yarn, even as you will want to try it.
Narration for this title is provided by Margaret Strom, and her broad, middle American accent suits the characters, if not wholly embracing the different nuances that exist in the regions of the west coast. There weren’t any large missteps, but there also weren’t any moments that stood out as exceptional: and while that isn’t a bad thing, there was more emoting that could have been present to pull emotions from the readers, pauses used more effectively to imbue tension in moments that called for it, or even gave the moments of regroup or pondering some more weight. It wasn’t a bad performance, and I won’t avoid an audio title from this narrator, but I hope that truly enjoying the story that she is presenting becomes a more apparent trait for Strom.
Overall, this was an interesting story with plenty to love – and who knew that there were such things as “yarn retreats’ where you can perfect, explore and experiment with all things yarn?
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 3 Story: 4
Title: Wound Up in Murder
Author: Betty Hechtman
Series: Yarn Retreat Mystery #3
Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery
Narrator: Margaret Strom
Published by: Berkley, Tantor Audio
Published on: 27 June, 2017
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 3 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
In the newest Yarn Retreat Mystery from the national bestselling author of Silence of the Lamb’s Wool, dessert chef Casey Feldstein continues to develop her hidden talents for knitting…and solving murders.
With two yarn retreats in the bag, Casey is looking forward to running her third one at Cadbury by the Sea’s Vista Del Mar hotel on the Monterey Peninsula. This time, each knitter will get a Mystery Bag of knitting materials to turn into a personal project.
But Casey gets tangled up in another retreat at the same hotel, when the organizer and his wife have a very public spat. As Casey is delivering her baked goods later that night, she finds the woman dead in the bushes with a magician’s silk scarf nearby—just like the scarf Casey’s ex-boyfriend, Sammy, used during his magic act at the retreat. As Sammy takes center stage as the prime suspect, Casey and her friends will have to stitch together the clues before the real killer pulls a disappearing act...
Includes knitting patterns and a recipe
See the Yarn Retreat Mystery series on Goodreads
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: