THE DROWNING SPOOL is Monica Ferris' seventeenth
Needlecraft Mystery. Yes. SEVENTEENTH, and yet this
book is as fresh, smart and engrossing as any of the
previous sixteen books. Heroine Betsy Devonshire begins
teaching needle punch classes at a local upscale senior
complex where a mysterious death leads her through a winding
path of logic to the ultimate solution.
As in previous books, friends and customers provide
continuity with the earlier books without making new readers
feel out of their depth. Monica Ferris has the all-too-rare
skill to weave a new story on the already-warped loom of
earlier books in the series, seamlessly bringing first-time
readers into her world. That's 'warped' as in vertical
threads, not warped as in twisted for those who aren't
fairly geeky crafters like myself.
Speaking of crafting, one of the strongest points in the
Needlecraft Mystery series is the wide variety of
crafts Ferris explores, this time needle punch. As usual,
there is a lovely pattern available in the back of the book,
as well as on her website http://monica-ferris.com/along
with patterns from her earlier needlecraft books, but you
needn't be a crafter to enjoy these mysteries, the
intriguing story lines are enough to keep any cozy mystery
One of the most impressive threads in THE DROWNING SPOOL is
the delicacy, humor and respect with which Monica Ferris
describes Wilma Carter, a resident suffering from
Alzheimer's disease. The other new characters are also
deftly sketched and realistic, adding to the story line
while not overwhelming it.
Fresh, smart and engrossing; whether a first time reader of
the Needlecraft Mystery series or a long time fan of
Monica Ferris, you will be glad you chose THE DROWNING
SPOOL. You may also be familiar with the author as a co-
writer (in collaboration with Gail Frazer) of a medieval
mystery series under the name Margaret Frazer.
Even though running Crewel World keeps Betsy plenty busy, a
little extra cash on the side doesn't hurt. So when the
local senior complex, Watered Silk, asks her to teach a
class on the tricky punch needle technique, Betsy jumps at
the opportunity to win over some new customers.
Unfortunately, the business that Betsy drums up is not of
the needlework variety. A young woman is found floating in
Watered Silk's therapy pool, and Betsy's sleuthing skills
are immediately called upon to figure out who drowned her.
But the list of suspects is more twisted than any Betsy has
encountered before. The young woman had three lovers - each
with a motive for the murder.
It's up to Betsy to sort out the snarl of romantic
entanglements and find a killer, or the wrong man is bound
to get pinned for a crime he didn't commit!
FREE EMBROIDERY PATTERN INCLUDED
Tuesday morning, so early it was still dark out, Pam came
through the main entrance of
Watered Silk Senior Complex, nodded at the sleepy-eyed night
guard, and went down the
broad hall to the therapy complex at the far end of the
building. Shucking off her
long down-filled coat, revealing a pink t-shirt and skinny
jeans, she flipped on the
lights in the small exercise room. She turned on the
machine that measured pulse and
blood pressure – it needed time to warm up. She hung up her
coat, locked her purse in
her office desk, and unlocked and went through the door that
led into the therapy pool.
She turned on the bright overhead lights. The air was warm
and moist and she could
feel her winter-dry skin joyfully opening to it.
She turned on the underwater lights that illuminated the
interior of the pool – and it
was then she saw something large at the bottom of the deep
end. She stared in
disbelief. Oh, my God, it was a person, arms out and legs
apart, not moving. She took
two steps closer. Yes, it was really there, a naked woman,
with lots of long blond
hair, face down. Pam waited a few seconds for whoever it
was to come up for air, but
the person was motionless.
Her training clicked in, overriding her instinctive freeze.
She pulled her winter
boots off, dropped her keys and cell phone on the floor, and
jumped into the water.
She ducked under, grabbed the woman by one arm and pulled
her to the top. The arm was
warm - the same temperature as the water - the skin rubbery,
the joints stiff. Pam
turned her over, noting with a sick feeling the half-closed
eyes and foam-filled mouth.
She did not recognize the woman, who was young, petite, and
really pretty, and could
not imagine how she came to drown here.
Pam had taken a lot of life-saving classes, but this was her
first experience with an
actual death by drowning. She grasped the woman under her
chin and floundered with it
to the shallow end.
The body's rigidity made it a clumsy thing to get out onto
the apron. Pam pushed a
thick wet length of pale hair out of the way to press into
the carotid, seeking for a
pulse. She was not surprised to find none.
She ran around to pick up her cell phone, picked it up and
dialed 911 with trembling
fingers. When an operator answered, she said, too rapidly,
“There's a drowned woman,
in our pool. A young woman, I don't know how she got in
here, no one's allowed in here
at night; in fact, I don't know who she is and she's naked
and she's dead, no pulse - ”
“Hold on, slow down,” said the operator in a slow, soothing
voice. “Where are you?”.
“Oh, gosh, yes, this is Pam Fielding and we're at Watered
Silk, that senior retirement
community on twenty-seventh in Hopkins, in the therapy pool,
and I don't know who the
victim is, I've never seen her before, she's way too young
to be a resident - ”
The operator, still in that calm voice, interrupted her with
questions and made her
repeat the information until Pam was nearly screaming into
the phone. She finally
tossed it down, ran back and began futile resuscitation
efforts. After a minute, she
was shocked to find herself sobbing.