Authors combine mysteries, hobbies
Authors are always looking for a new twist or appeal to get their books published and purchased. That has to the explanation behind a whole crop of novels that combine the intrigue of a mystery with a passion for a craft or vocation.
Cooking detectives have been around for years in the works of Virginia Rich, Nancy Pickard, and Diane Mott Davidson, to name a few. Tamar Myers joins this group with her “Pennsylvvania Dutch Mysteries” that include “Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth”, “Grape Expectations” and “Assault and Pepper.” True to this sub-genre, these books include recipes and cooking tips. Another new name in this group is Cleo Coyle with her “Coffeehouse Mysteries.” “On What Grounds”, “Latte Trouble” and “Murder Most Frothy” all feature barista-detective Clare Cosi in fast-paced intrigues with a New York setting.
Quilters can find their own heroine in Earlene Fowler’s “Benni Harper Mysteries.” Benni is a strange mix of California cowgirl, southern belle and folk art expert who pieces together mysteries like the quilt patterns for which the books are named. “Arkansas Traveler”, “Irish Chain” and “Seven Sisters” are just a sampling of the titles. Another quilt based series is Jennifer Chiaverini’s “Elm Creek Quilters Novels.” More human interest than mysteries, these are filled with interesting characters and all kinds of information about quilting.
Not to be shown up by the quilters, a host of other needlecrafts are highlighted in Monica Ferris’ “Needlecraft Mysteries.” Betsy Deveonshire runs “Crewel World” and solves murders in between selling beautiful yarns and cross stitch patterns. Sample titles are “Embroidered Truth” and “Unraveled Sleeve”, both including a counted cross-stitch pattern.
Laura Childs calls on one of the newest popular crafts in her series of “Scrapbooking Mysteries.” From “Keepsake Crimes” to “Motif for Murder,” scrapbook shop owner detective Carmela Meechum often gets in over her head with the less gentile elements of the New Orleans French Quarter all the while dispensing scrapbooking tips and recipes.
Whether you have a passion for crafts or want to enjoy them vicariously, check out one of these fun mysteries from the Hastings Public Library.