"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pinned For Murder by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Berkley Prime Crime
A Division of Penguin Publishing
3rd Book in the Southern Sewing Circle Series
Available Now!!

In the first book Sew Deadly we were introduced to Sweet Briar's new Yankee Librarian, Victoria (Tori) Sinclair.  Her arrival was not welcomed by all, but as we start book 3 she is starting to fit in and feel at home in Sweet Briar, but she is still not treated as a true Southerner who knows true Southern ways. She is still a Yankee in training.  She has become part of the Southern Sewing Circle which includes many of the town's well known residents.  Members range in age from 23 to 83 and for all but one member, sewing is their common bond that keeps them together.  Each book features a sewing project for the group to work together on for charity and the pattern is included for us readers also.

This story starts just as a tropical storm has descended on Sweet Briar causing quite a bit of damage to the older part of the town.  The home of Rose, matriarch of the sewing circle, is one of the homes that has sustained the most damage.  Rose is not worried as she has a young man, one of her former students, Kenny, who will help her with her repairs, as will her many friends.

Her neighbor's home also was hit with a myriad  of destruction, but while this women may be the richest woman in town, she is also the meanest.  Martha Jane Barker has no friends who will come to her rescue, so Rose sends Kenny over to tend to her neighbor's home.  Before the day is out, she is accusing Kenny of stealing her fortune, which she keeps in her sock drawer because she doesn't trust banks.  Tori helps her find her money but she has already tried and convicted Kenny in the public's eye, so when Martha Jane ends up dead and the money missing yet again,  the obvious suspect is Kenny.

Rose refuses to believe that her Kenny would ever do such a thing, but the gossip is flying and friendships are being torn at the seams, as the ladies of the  Southern Sewing Circle think Rose is too close to the situation to be objective.  Rose is beside herself as her friends question her judgment.   

Tori rallies the ladies to use all their resources to be sure the right person is "pinned" for the murder so that their friendships can all be mended, before more damage is done and not by the storm. 

I loved all three of the books in this series and while I know this is not a sewing analogy, the best way to describe these books in like a three tiered cake.  

The bottom or foundation layer of the cake represents the true friendships of the women in this series. The humor and trust they bring to each other in good times and in bad.  Your friends and family are the basis of any good life.

The middle layer is Tori's budding romance with Milo and the relationship they have together and with his students, that is helping Tori heal from her past.

The top layer of the cake is the library, the place Tori feels safe and at home. It is like the touchstone to many in the community, and they are supporting it and her and making it a place where some of her dreams are coming true.

The icing on the cake is the murder, mystery and mayhem that touches everyone is this wonderful town of Sweet Briar.

I know these books are classified as cozy mysteries and yes they have met all the requirements of that genre, but they are so much more.  It's like a hybrid of Chick-Lit with Mystery too.  These stories wrap two of my favorite things together, reading/libraries and sewing, and not just personal sewing, projects that reach out and make a difference.

You most definitely do not need to be fan of sewing to enjoy these books, nor even a huge fan of mystery.  This book to me is more about the friendships, the coming together, the willingness to accept each other whether you are a Yankee, a non-sewer, someone with a celebrity crush, 23 or 83, or just a plain old busybody.  It is a story of friends supporting each other no matter what, even if it takes a little needle-ing to get it done.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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