Seven Threadly Sins
A Threadville Mystery #5
By Janet Bolin
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Fashion turns killer in the latest novel from the national bestselling author of the Threadville mysteries…
Threadville, Pennsylvania, is famous for its fabric, needlecraft, and embroidery, so it’s only natural that it would become the home of the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. While Willow Vanderling has certainly never wanted to be a model, here she is, voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show in outrageous clothing, all to support the Academy’s scholarship fund.
But the lascivious, mean-spirited director of the academy, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends that doesn’t exactly leave the ladies in stitches, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow.
Now, she must do whatever it takes in order to clear her name, even if it means needling around in other people’s secrets… (From Goodreads)
Seven Threadly Sins is Janet Bolin’s much-anticipated fifth book in the Threadville Mystery series; it can be read as a stand alone because the author has embroidered in any necessary information to be new-reader-friendly. Threadville (Elderberry Bay) is the home to the new Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling, and first semester students are hosting their first fashion show. Included by the invite of Antonio, the director, are Willow Vanderling and her assistant at In Stitches, and other local shopkeepers who deal in all things related to sewing and design. They have designed and sewn outfits to model for each of the styles of clothing to be shown that evening. Their designs, based on guidelines specified by Antonio, would then be sold by silent auction to raise funds for student scholarships.
Antonio announces each of the ladies as they walk down the runway, but some of his comments are a bit … well, like crooked seams on designer duds, not in line with his position. Willow and her friends hear more than enough at the rehearsal, especially the rude statements made to a student, and if it weren’t for the worthy cause, they would cancel their appearances at the show.
All is not well during the show, either, as the strained relations of Antonio, wife Paula, his assistant director Loretta and design instructor Kent are evident. During the awards portion of the show, Antonio had each of the seven Threadly ladies come forward wearing one of their specified designs. Each of the ladies was accused of one of the seven “threadly” sins, so-called errs based on the seven deadly sins and how the lady looked in that particular creation. He thought that the seven threadly’s series of jokes was really funny, but Willow and her friends, particularly her young assistant Ashley, did not laugh. At the reception, Antonio dies suddenly with no apparent warning or reason. And Willow was one of the first people accused by the grieving widow.
Willow and her friends are well-defined and very likable; even the guys who are Haylee’s and Willow’s hopefuls have been clearly developed through the series. These are people who can be trusted – small-town, hard-working folks who make up the heart of a small town and hopefully our country. Each is creative in their own specialty, using their talents to help others as well as support themselves. The main characters involved with the Academy are either seen at their very worst due to the strain of the first semester of the school and the first fashion show, or their behavior is as the main Threadville characters – WYSIWYG – What You See is What You Get. In which case, it is hard to find positive descriptives for those running the school. Any one of the three survivors could be the killer, or they could be in on it together. Vicki Smallwood, the police chief, sounds to have had a mixed relationship with Willow in the past, and Willow is never quite sure of where she stands. Vicki, however, seems to be one of the good gals of Threadville, just as Willow and her friends are.
There is no shortage of murder suspects, as there are supposedly silent partners (that Antonio’s widow is not aware of), as well as a growing number of people who have not been paid. Vicki has her hands full trying to sort out the suspects, collect clues, and still take care of minor little things like … well, day-to-day traffic and other law enforcement challenges. Willow reasons out various scenarios of who the real killer is and why in between teaching new machine embroidery techniques to the buses of tourists who come regularly. The plot has several twists and turns, and the motives and murderer are not easily untangled from the snarl of rapidly-occurring events. All too quickly the pages have turned themselves to a somewhat unexpected, very satisfying conclusion, and it is easy to see how Ms. Bolin has built a following of Threadville followers who have eagerly awaited this latest release. I highly recommend this to those who have – and haven’t – been to Threadville before! You will find a unique combination of suspects, suspense, the potential for a bit of romance, and an embroidery tip and pattern. Personally, I have enjoyed this visit to Threadville and hope to take the tour again soon and visit all the shopkeepers and their friends. That includes Willow’s crew of two dogs, Sally-Forth and Tally-Ho and two cats, Mustache and Bow-Tie, as well as the hope of seeing Willow solve another mystery!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*