I love Maine as a setting, and I have enjoyed books by Barbara Ross such as Boiled Over and Musseled Out which are set in a coastal town. So I was eager to read another Maine mystery when I came across Thread and Gone.
One thing I like about the Cozy genre is that many of the books are centered around some craft like quilting or cooking allowing the reader a glimpse into something which may otherwise be unknown to them. This is the first time I have read a book that revolves around needle point or embroidery. The Mainely Needlepointers is a group that sells embroidered pillows and other pieces of art. This is my first book in the series so I think I may have missed some background here. Every chapter starts with a poem or verse written on some sampler by someone in a bygone era. I guess this is a hallmark of this series of books.
Angie Curtis is throwing her first July 4th party in her house. Her grandma is off to Quebec on honeymoon. Angie has cooked a traditional meal and is now looking forward to fireworks. The doorbell rings and a young couple comes in. A 17 year old hands over what looks like an ancient piece of needlepoint wrapped in tattered leather to the group assembled. She wants to know if it is valuable. One lady mentions it looks Elizabethan, and that sets some events in motion. Angie hands over the package to her lawyer for safekeeping. Said lawyer is found dead the next day, and the needle point is missing.
We are introduced to a cast of characters – the girl’s fiancé who is very eager to sell anything the girl owns, a bunch of over ambitious young slackers, an irate ex-husband, and so on. Angie sets about solving the mystery, trying to find out the provenance of the embroidery. She also deals with personal challenges like living alone in a big house. She is sweet on a police detective who is married and has a child.
Thread and Gone does not offer much in terms of Maine flavor. Compared to Boiled Over etc., there is very little detail other than summer being tourist season, and lobster boats and lobsters being big business. The chapters are smallish and the quote at the beginning of each chapter can get distracting. There is not much about Angie’s personal life other than that she herself ran away to Arizona when she was a teen, and that she lost her mother at a young age. She drinks plenty of beer and wine, talks to her cat, and talks on behalf of her cat.
History buffs will love this story, nevertheless. The mystery at the heart of the book picks up steam half way through. The dots are connected the end, and although far fetched, it is a good story.