DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES
MOLLIE COX BRYAN
SERIES: Cora Crafts Mystery, #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Cosy Mystery
REPRESENTATION: MC with PTSD/ Panic Attacks
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 . . .
I don’t know what it is, but this time of year, but it always get this sudden flurry of interest in these cosy mysteries. One of my favourite types of cosy mystery are the ones that focus on some kind of crafting style hobby. This year I definitely think the Cora Crafts Mystery series might be my series.
The Cora Crafts Mystery series focuses on Cora and her best friend Jane (and a host of other supporting characters), as they move away from busy inner-city life to open up a small-town crafters retreat. But, of course, murders happen. This is a spin-off (or at least tangentially related) to one of the authors other series, the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, which I haven’t read. There were a few references to the first series, but I definitely didn’t think you’d have to have read the it to appreciate this new one.
The characters are interesting and I really liked reading about all the different activities that they’re running at the retreat. I think the premise off the series is really good, because there’s plenty of scope to have a different (or recurring) cast of quirky, unique characters in each novel: locals, visiting crafters, guest teachers etc. I really liked the small town setting – Indigo Gap, North Carolina – it’ a historically preserved town full of artisans and crafters. I loved the descriptions of the buildings, especially the eggplant-coloured police station and Cora’s house-turned-retreat. I wish this type of retreat was a thing here in the UK!
I think the rest of the series takes place over the different craft retreats that Cora and Jane run, but this one in particular is set at Halloween, which makes it perfectly suited for this time of year. They have workshops about broomstick making and herbalism, and there’s lots of talk of various autumnal decorations and food.
A nice bonus is that, at the back of the book, the author gives you quick how-to’s on most of the crafts mentioned in the story. Not that I’d ever use any of them, but I think it’s a really nice touch.
I’ve already had a quick look and my library has the next two books in this series, so I’ll be picking them up soon.