Gone with the Wool
A Yarn Retreat Mystery #4
By Betty Hechtman
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The national bestselling author of Wound Up in Murder spins a deadly yarn of knitting bees, butterflies, and beauty queens.
Every October, thousands of monarch butterflies flock to California’s Monterey Peninsula to spend the winter there. To welcome their colorful guests, Cadbury by the Sea holds a weeklong festival complete with a butterfly queen and her court.
Eager to show some town spirit, Casey Feldstein finds herself fluttering back and forth between setting up a yarn retreat, baking and helping out at the festival. But when a former butterfly queen is found dead with a knife in her back after a Bless the Butterflies service, Casey must set her loom aside to hook a killer with a score to settle. (from Goodreads)
Gone with the Wool is a great cozy mystery for those of us who love to work with yarn, and even better for those who love yarn and butterflies! Oh, what a treat this visit with Casey has been – a flurry of wings, crocheted monarch butterflies, and a bit of murder to stir up this avid cozy mystery lover.
On the edge of Cadbury by the Sea, Casey coordinates Yarn Retreats and bakes the best pies, pastries, cakes, and other delectable sweets that are the best in town. Casey coordinated this retreat by extending it to last a week and scheduling it to coincide with the events of Butterfly week. Her workshop leaders determine what they will teach during the upcoming week and put together the kit for their respective workshops. Some of the most competitive workshop ladies have daughters or granddaughters who are in the Princess Court, learning the duties of the Butterfly Queen and hoping to be elected. Included in the Princess Court is the younger sister of Casey’s gentleman friend Dane, but little sister Chloe dresses goth or in any other blatantly out-of-the-norm outfits – fully accessorized, of course.
Casey and a close friend attended the kickoff event, which included a dinner and the Blessing of the Butterflies. Rosalie, the woman in charge of the event had been a Butterfly Queen when younger. Rosalie suggests to the attendees that the corn muffins Casey made and donated to the dinner for the local football players may have caused two of their best players to become ill, costing the biggest game of the year, possibly damaging Casey’s business. Shortly afterwards, Rosalie refuse to allow Dane’s sister Chloe from being in the Princess Court, Within a short time afterward, she was dead. Murdered, stabbed in the back, leaving Casey and Chloe as the primary suspects.
To make the week of the retreat even more interesting, the parents of Sammy, Casey’s ex-boyfriend are in town to visit. Sammy never told his parents that they had broken up a long time ago. Casey’s parents, two over-achieving doctors who don’t understand her multi-faceted career path, and Sammy’s parents all want Casey and Sammy to marry. To keep the facade alive, Sammy pretends to live at Casey’s while his parents stay at a B & B.
The author characterizes each person so amazingly well that one feels as part of the gang at the events. Casey is like an old friend to this reader. Those who are peripheral, yet regular, characters and those who are in this novel only are beautifully defined as fitting to their roles. Most of the characters are very likable and compliment each other well.
Betty Hechtman effortlessly puts a variety of people together with an endless fount of ideas for her novel! She can just as easily bring the reader to empathize with a character as to dislike someone, or laugh out loud before being stunned by plot twists. Fourth in the Yarn Retreat Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone or as part of the series. Gone with the Wool is a compelling read that this reader found nearly impossible to put down. I love the setting; while it is still in Cadbury by the Sea, the annual migration of the Monarch butterflies was an awesome set of word pictures! The plot is multi-stranded with many things going on at the same time, but each strand was introduced memorably and fit well into the whole. I just couldn’t guess who the bad guy(s)/ gal(s) might be! The ending was completely satisfying and left no loose ends. I highly recommend Gone with the Wool to those who appreciate cozy mysteries that are well-written and include baking or yarn crafts.