Loom and Doom
A Weaving Mystery, Book #4
By Carol Ann Martin
Author’s website: www.moniquedomovitch.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
From the national bestselling author of Weave of Absence comes a mystery set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where weaving studio owner Della Wright finds herself tangled up in murder….
Della and her friend Jenny are remodeling Dream Weaver, turning their shared business space into two separate shops. But after the work is completed, building inspector Howard Swanson refuses to grant Jenny the permit to reopen her coffee shop. Determined to get to the bottom of the hold-up, Della heads to Howard’s office to defend Jenny’s livelihood, only to find the inspector dead—and the police spinning a yarn about Della being responsible.
Although Della’s boyfriend, Matthew, an ex-FBI criminologist, claims there’s no need to worry, Della is convinced that the cops have it in for her. Now she must nab the real killer before she’s shuttled off to jail….
Loom and Doom is the fourth novel in A Weaving Mystery series, and it is as delightful as iced coffee (or ice cream!) on a hot day. It can be read as a stand-alone or in sequence; the author effortlessly brings one up to date with this fun series without being repetitive. She also gives her characters a refreshing sense of humor to lighten the days.
Della had traded the power suits and work hours of a business analyst – not to mention the nightmare of finally being found innocent of charges that belonged squarely on the head of her boss – in Charlotte, North Carolina for her own business in small town Briar Hollow, North Carolina. She and her friend Jenny have endured the dust and debris of a remodel to Dream Weaver, her shop about all things weaving, to provide a separate entry for Jenny’s coffee shop, a thriving morning hot spot where coffee, baked goods, and psychic readings were served with equal enthusiasm. In the short time they were closed for renovations, another coffee shop opened just blocks away where it seemed the whole town was getting their morning java fix. Jenny’s Coffee, Tea and Destiny would be re-opening for business any day, if the contractor and building inspector cooperated.
Their contractor’s news did not bring joy into the hearts of the ladies. The inspector would only give a permit to operate to Dream Weaver, but Coffee, Tea and Destiny would need to have an electrical panel relocated before they could re-open. Don’t you just love those ‘new’ building code changes? Not! And the painters wouldn’t be available to do their job for either shop.
Marnie Potter, a friend who provided baked goods to Jenny’s shop as well as time and woven goods for Della suggested that they do the painting themselves, and Della went to the City offices to pick up the permit for her portion of the building. While building inspectors are rarely anyone’s favorite municipal employee, Howard Swanson could have won the least popular inspector award. Yet, did he deserve to be…murdered? As Della found him on the floor in his paper-laden office, and he had been clobbered and left for dead.
Della had been on the ‘radar’ of Briar Hollow’s Officer Roxanne Lombard since she arrived in town and was thought guilty of murder the first time, and found her first murderer. And of course, Lombard was quickly on the scene of this murder, and Della was … back on her radar. Was it time for Della to ask a few questions, do a bit of investigating herself?
I like Della. She is level-headed, stable, and talented. While her shop was closed for remodeling, she learned the art of weaving in the Navajo style using a special loom. The pattern she designed became an immediate best seller, and gave her a new technique to teach Marnie. I enjoyed reading about the traditional Navajo loom. Jenny, the first person she met when moving to Briar Hollow, is very different from Della. Their differences compliment their friendship and in spite of Della not believing in the woo woo stuff of psychic readings, Jenny made good predictions regarding the current affairs. Marnie, also, is a good fit with these ladies, and they helped her through some challenging times in recent months. Seeing them encourage each other and work together, one can see that they are women who appreciate good friends and know how to be good friends. Matthew, Della’s gentleman friend, is an author and former FBI criminologist. He is a kind man and a bit overprotective due to his former profession. The peripheral characters are quality, and are as developed as necessary for their role.
The author invites the reader into the story from the beginning and the pages seem to fly past too quickly to the end. There were so many potentially wonderful suspects! The ex-wife, the sweet young wife, and those who had to pay additional moneys to the inspector to get their permits to occupy approved were just a few of those in the suspect pool. The plot has a good supply of twists and turns, and I was completely surprised when the murderer was revealed. There was a good balance of friendship, suspense, and romance, and even fun and relaxing time with Matthew’s French bulldog, Winnie. Matthew and Della’s relationship had volatile moments over Della’s involvement with investigating the murder, but it adds a bit of realism to see that they are each unique people with their own opinions and needs. Della is overall wise and stable, yet she does become a bit impulsive when it comes to seeking the bad guy/gal! I highly recommend Loom and Doom to those who enjoy learning about or doing various yarn or fiber craft projects as well as well-written cozy mysteries. It is in part a relaxing read and in part a mystery that is full of suspense and surprises that shouldn’t be missed.