Knot On Her Life
A Quilting Mystery #7
By Mary Marks
Author’s website: marymarksmysteries.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
While quilter Martha Rose awaits the birth of her granddaughter, a neighborhood girl appears at her door with a mystery that can’t be pinned down . . .
Martha’s eager to finish the baby quilt she’s making for her new granddaughter, but she scraps those plans when a young girl rings her doorbell begging for help. Poppy Halaby, the foster child of Martha’s neighbor, is an orphan whose parents were murdered by a killer who was never caught. When Poppy’s doting foster mom falls suspiciously ill, Martha is determined to keep the child safe. But she’ll have to unravel more about Poppy’s parents to stitch a broken family back together again–and prevent another crime cut from the same cloth.
For the most part, I really enjoyed this latest in the Quilting Mystery series. The characters, many of whom are quilters, are a wise, eclectic, and talented group of folks who can help with any stitch or need. We meet a gifted eight-year-old with life experience and an ability to accept that is far beyond her years. The mystery could have a quilt all its own with assorted suspects and possible motives, and Martha Rose is back on the case to try to help her neighbor and this precious child.
Martha’s neighbor Sonia has just taken in an emergency placement foster daughter, who shows up on Martha’s doorstep asking for help. Sonia is asleep and won’t wake up. Marigold “Poppy” Sarah Halaby, whose mother said girls should be named for flowers, said she has seen dead people before and Sonia looks dead. Martha finds Sonia with a faint pulse and sweet, fruity breath, calling 9-1-1, assuming she is in a diabetic coma. The hospital brings her around, and Martha agrees to take Poppy until Sonia is released. She thinks she has food poisoning or flu, causing dehydration then coma.
Poppy grows to feel safe with and like Yossi “Crusher” Levy, Martha’s fiancé who works for the ATF. They learn that Poppy’s parents were murdered, but she won’t talk about it other than that she called 9-1-1. Was she there? Did she see who killed them? Martha and Crusher don’t want to take chances. When Sonia comes home, Crusher sets up a bodyguard for them, his friend Hector “Malo” Fuentes, a fellow ATF officer. Sonia and Poppy quickly come to love Malo, especially Sonia. Never married, Sonia still dresses like the 80’s flower child she was with a unique and loving personality.
Poppy’s mother was Jewish, her father Muslim, and both families disowned them. As Martha learns more about the families, she contacts them to tell them about the beautiful, brilliant child they were missing out on. She also tries to learn more about them, as Poppy’s life could very well be in danger until the killer is caught. One family is very wealthy and from a distinctive scholarly lineage, that of Rashi, an 11th century rabbi, one of the greatest scholars of the Jewish Sephardic community.
The “family spokesman” for Poppy’s fathers’ parents set up a meeting for Martha with Poppy’s grandparents. Despite the grandfather’s assertion that she is not their relative, Martha knows that if either parent is Muslim, the child is Muslim, as opposed to Jewish law that only if the child’s mother is Jewish, the child is Jewish. Poppy’s grandmother, Amini, wants to meet her, and Martha will try to make it happen. Soon three couples apply to adopt Poppy, who has remembered and revealed enough to Martha to convince her that witness protection is absolutely necessary for hers and Sonia’s protection.
In the meantime, Martha’s daughter Quincy is pregnant with her first grandchild, a girl. Crusher is eager for them to set a wedding date, and Uncle Isaac seems to have new health challenges. The Quilty Tuesday group helps Martha sort through some of the clues and ideas, including her half-sister Giselle, who she has only known of and met in recent months.
The characters are well-rounded and well-defined through actions and conversations. I like Martha and Sonia, also Giselle, even if she has little tact in conversations. She has a good heart and has been a huge help to Martha in this endeavor. Crusher and Malo make excellent co-workers and truly protect and love their women. Poppy is an absolute delight, and I hope we see her again!
The mystery is a true challenge, as there are several suspects who simply don’t seem to fit at first glance, including family members. There might even be people in Poppy’s father’s line of work who could be at fault. Steven Abbas, the Halaby family spokesperson, is very charming to Martha until she catches the steely resolve in his eyes and asks pointed questions. I appreciate how much the author shares about Judaism and some of the customs of the two communities, as well as the Muslim faith and culture. Both are shown in a very positive light. I finally figured out who the killer really was and couldn’t understand why Martha didn’t ask one simple question, leaving herself and her loved ones open to danger. The novel closes with all loose ends tied. I highly recommend this!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*