Although this is a pleasant and amusing story it was easy to guess the method, and therefore the perpetrators, one-third of the way into the book. The main clue was emphasised three times and I found this disappointing - the rest of the story lost all dramatic tension. I would not be tempted to read any more by this author until she can be more subtle in her hints!
"It's a shame how many nice people commit murder," muses amateur sleuth Betsy Devonshire in this, the fifth book in the Needlecraft Mystery Series, and how right she is. After a fairly lack lustre fourth book, this one thankfully picks up the pace a little bit more and is rightfully back to being set in Excelsior and Betsy's needlecraft store, Crewel World. Hopefully the sixth book will also be a bit more back on form!
A short synopsis of the plot: Betsy has decided to become a sponsor of one of the entrants in the local antique car race (yes, really) only things aren't looking good: one of the driver's is found murdered, his car on fire before he even makes it to the finish. With a list of suspects a mile long, Betsy knows tracking down whodunit might not be easy, but she's determined to give it a try...
After the summary on the back cover, I had to admit I wasn't too hopeful I would enjoy this one. Antique cars just aren't my thing, but thankfully the plot flowed along nicely and was rescued by Goddy (my favourite character!) his personal dramas with his boyfriend and of course needlecraft obsessive Irene. It was nice to see her make a reappearance and I feel there'll be lots more of her to come in future books. I also love how if something untoward happens, the locals of Excelsior naturally turn to Betsy for answers- even policewoman Jill is starting to encourage it now. It is almost expected that Betsy will do a bit of amateur sleuthing, much to the chagrin of the Chief of the Excelsior police.
Is there also a bit of romance for fifty-something Betsy on the horizon? After a false start in book three that led to nothing, here's hoping that there might just be something coming up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because Betsy deserves something else to get excited about, other than solving crimes!
What I like best about these cosy mysteries is the lovely small town Minnesota settings and the familiar characters whom the reader gets to know more and more every book. Granted some of the aspects of the plot can be a bit cliché but if you are looking for easy, comfortable reading then these are a must-read. My personal recommendation however is to read them in order and then you will really get to know Betsy and the gang.