Death Among the Doilies, by Mollie Cox Bryan

28411831Setting:  Indigo Gap, North Carolina

Characters:

  • Cora Chevalier – Former counselor at a women’s shelter, current craft retreat owner in the small town of Indigo Gap, North Carolina
  • Jane Starr – Cora’s best friend, potter, and one of her partners in their crafting retreat business
  • Ruby O’Malley – An herbalist who lives at the craft retreat and also teaches there
  • Cashel O’Malley – Attorney, Ruby’s son
  • Assorted crafters, victims, and suspects!

Plot:  Life as a counselor to women who had experienced domestic abuse took a toll on Cora; she’s ready for a reboot. Cora and Jane leave Pennsylvania for North Carolina and a lovely historic Victorian home in a small town. Together, they fix the place up and create homes for themselves – Cora in the attic apartment and Jane in the carriage house with her daughter, London – as well as a crafter’s retreat in the main house. Cora and Jane both know the benefits of creativity and are eager to share the experience with others. Just before their opening weekend, Jane comes under suspicion of murder – she’s accused of killing the school’s former librarian, a woman she barely knew. Cora and Jane’s friend, Rudy, enlists her son, Cashel, to defend Jane in court, but Cora can’t just leave it to fate. Using her past experience with and knowledge of police procedure, she begins her own investigation into the murdered woman’s past. Some rather unique collector’s items may be the key to unlocking the truth about who killed the librarian.

Pacing: A little slow

Predictability: Low

Wild Card:  I like Cora a lot, but I’m still warming up to Jane. I also really enjoy the premise and wish I could find a crafter’s retreat to attend! The craft instructions included in the book seem like fun and I’m hoping to try a few. All in all, Death Among the Doilies is a clever and charming mystery with a couple of unexpected turns.

Hit, Miss, or Draw:  Hit


About the Book
For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . .

About the Author
DSC_0210.jpgMollie Cox Bryan is a writer of women’s stories.  Her stories have many forms: cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry and fiction.  Mollie grew up near Pittsburgh, Pa., and attended Point Park University, where she received a B.A. in Journalism and Communications. Her first real job out of college was as a paste-up artist at a small newspaper, where she was allowed to write “on her own time” and she did.

Mollie moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where she held a number of writing jobs, and has written about a diverse array of subjects, such as construction, mathematics education, and life insurance. While working in the editorial field, Mollie began taking poetry classes at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md. Soon, she was leading local poetry workshops and was selected to participate in the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore Poetry Workshop.

In 1999, shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Emma, Mollie and her husband moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Va. (Waynesboro), where he took a job at the Frontier Culture Museum and she stayed at home to take care of Emma and start a freelancing career.

She was honored with an Agatha Award nomination for her first novel, SCRAPBOOK OF SECRETS. Several books in the Cumberland Creek series have received People’s Choice nominations from the Library of Virginia.

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