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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Spinning in Her Grave (Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery #3)

Spinning in Her Grave - Molly MacRae

So-so.  Lots of good parts, but isn't, at this rate, a series destined to be a favorite.



Kath Rutledge is settling in as the owner of the Weaver’s Cat, a [haunted] fiber and fabric shop in Blue Plum, Tennessee.  It’s time for Blue Plum’s annual historical festival, and everyone is getting in on the action. A businessman has approached Kath about using the second-floor windows of her store for part of a reenactment. But the reenactment ends when local baker Reva Louise Snapp is shot with a bullet from a modern-day gun.


What left me wanting:

This book made me think about Lynn Truss and her book Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  There were a few fine examples in the first half of how a lack of punctuation makes comprehension difficult.  

• Page 52 has one of the secondary characters, Ardis, writing "PATTERN" on their festival plan.  I had to re-read the paragraph 3 times before I figured out it's meant to be an acronym; without that being clear the paragraph made no sense at all.  Writing it as "P.A.T.T.E.R.N." probably would have made that clearer.  


• The ghost that haunts Kath starts speaking in haikus.  I've always seen poetry typeset either on it's own, or with each line delineated with a "/".  Here it's only italicised, and I wouldn't recognise a haiku if it bit me, so the italics and the strange structure just left me thinking 'wtf?' until the second haiku - it actually had the word "haiku" in it.


• After the murder, Kath and the knitters in her group gather and start planning an investigation, talking about how they have to "beat the police to the solution".  This is a subjective thing, but I prefer my amateur sleuths to be more subtle and not so obviously 'running an investigation'.  In the same vein, one of the knitters gives Kath a notebook to keep investigation notes in and Kath describes it as "something a golden age amateur sleuth would carry".  I'm not an expert on golden-age mysteries, but I've read Poirot, Marple, Holmes and Whimsey, and none of them carried notebooks.


• This is a personal pet peeve of mine:  Kath doesn't get along with the chief investigator, Cole, which is fine, but throughout the entire book she refers to him as "Clod" instead of his name.  How old are we?!?! 


• The plot was...weak.  The murderer wasn't telegraphed early, but the motivation when they were revealed was never really explained well.  I think a better job could have been done.  This was a 300+ page cozy but the murder plot felt unfinished.  Too much focus on planning the investigation and not enough planning of the murder itself.


• Last and least, there have been hints about Kath's late grandma having witch-like talents.  They're just hints and taking us absolutely nowhere.  Each book has touched upon it but with no further information being given or discovered.  Fish or cut bait on this please Ms. MacRae.


What I liked or think improved:

• Geneva (the ghost) was SO much better in this book.  She's no longer a wailing, soggy mess and I find her so much more entertaining now.


• There were noises about a love triangle between Kath and two brothers.  It seems nothing is going to come of it, which is good.


• I love the setting and all of the characters have potential, although Ardis was weird.  Great town, cool knitting/spinning shop and Kath has a very interesting background in fiber conservation I wish we'd hear more about.


I hate mysteries like these because they are just good enough to keep me reading, hoping for improvement with each one and seeing just enough that I keep coming back for more.  Overall, I'd say if you're hard-pressed to find something to read at the library and you see this one, it's worth giving it a read.