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Needle and Dread
Southern Sewing Circle #11
Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Berkley Prime Crime
April 5, 2016 / ISBN 9780425282564
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Sewing circle member Rose, in her eighties, has finally made her dream come true! She's opened her own sewing shop, SewTastic, in downtown Sweet Briar. The other sewing circle ladies can't be happier for her, and well-to-do Leona even financed the shop! Things are off to a good start until a tour group comes for a scheduled weekend project, and one of the guests is rude and even nasty.

It isn't long before Opal Goodwin, disliked by everyone whose path she crosses, is murdered, and it happens at SewTastic, leaving Rose devastated and certain that her business is doomed to fail. There is no shortage of suspects among the visitors, but uncovering the right motive and the opportunity isn't so easy. Librarian Tori Sinclair, with the help of her friends, Charles and Margaret Louise (another sewing circle member), have successfully investigated murders, and they are determined to solve this case before Rose descends into depression and her health fails as a result.

My favorite thing about this book, and in fact the whole series, is the deep friendships that continue to grow amongst women of various ages, backgrounds and interests. Sewing brought them together, and they are there through thick and thin for each other. It was wonderful to read about someone of Rose's age and frailty finding enough stamina and interest to open her own business with the support of her friends.

The mystery was solid, and I didn't know who the killer was until it was revealed to me. I found it clever that the author did a little subtle cross promotion for the series she writes as Laura Bradford, too! The only thing I didn't care for, and it's really a minor thing, is the over-use of whatever the triangle finger snap is that Charles does. I wished that there were some recipes included as well, especially for the Truth Serum Brownies!

Overall, I continue to highly recommend this series, and you do not have to have read any of the prior 10 books to thoroughly enjoy "Needle and Dread."

Reviews of other titles in this series

Deadly Notions #4
Dangerous Alterations
Reap What You Sew #6
Let It Sew #7
Remnants of Murder #8
Taken In #9
Wedding Duress #10
Needle and Dread #11

Reviewer Note: Elizabeth Lynn Casey also writes as Laura Bradford

Reviewed 2016