Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
It’s a joyous time at Dream Weaver—Della Wright’s studio in small-town Briar Hollow, North Carolina—as part-time employee and full-time friend Marnie Potter is preparing for her upcoming marriage. Della has enlisted a tight-knit group of close friends to handweave a beautiful collection of fine household linens as a wedding gift for the happy couple.
But when Della notices Marnie’s suave fiancé engaged in a heated argument with one of her students at the engagement party, she starts to worry that there may be something wrong with Marnie’s Mr. Right. After the student turns up dead the next day, Della must weave together the clues to find the killer—before Marnie agrees to “Till death do us part.”( Goodreads)
Della Wright, owner of Dream Weaver, a studio and storefront for all things about fabric weaving, is hostessing a wedding shower for her part-time employee Marnie Potter. Marnie and her fiance, Bruce Doherty, only met a few scant weeks earlier when he came to town for the first time, and their wedding was scheduled in the very near future. This shower is the opening scene for Weave of Absence, Carol Ann Martin’s third offering in the series, A Weaving Mystery, a fast-paced and exciting new mystery. One can easily read this novel as a stand-alone; there are no ill-prepared guests for this party!
There can be uncomfortable moments in the shower, however, as Marnie brought Bruce to the shower where – not only did one of the ladies slip Bruce her phone number on a scrap of paper, but one of Della’s new students had a very emotional discussion with him, complete with gestures and expressions of anger and contempt. Marnie tried to act as if she were oblivious to her new-in-town fiance’s encounters with her lady friends. The next morning, the student who was angry with Bruce the night before was found – dead – in her home by Della.
Thus begins the roller coaster ride of solving the murder, where people are not who they seem to be, clues don’t match with reality, and even those you are sure are innocent may have blood on their hands. And as sometimes happens when women get together, emotions flare, catty remarks are made, suspicions and spats occur, then are quickly forgiven. Especially when Marnie admits that Bruce, a “retired” financial planner who looks to be in his 40’s, talks her into buying a joint $1,000,000, first-to-die life insurance policy which pays only when the first spouse passes away. Della’s concern for her dear friend is not unfounded as she and her friends untangle the threads of outrageously more than they imagined about Bruce.
From the beginning, this reader’s attention was arrested by the excellent writing, plot, and characters! It was hard to put down, even harder to guess (correctly) what was going to happen next. The characters are one-of-a-kind, including Matthew, a childhood friend of Della who drops off his French Bulldog, Winnie (short for Winston) at her shop every day so he can complete his second novel. He is so much more than a friend to Della, especially when trying to save her from her selfless sleuthing. Marnie, the dear friend who Della wants to relieve of any concerns of Bruce’s involvement, is the kind of giving, caring person that everyone wants to befriend. And Jenny, owner of the coffee, tea, and pastry shop sharing space with Della, is an interesting mixture of friend and reader of auras, palms, tarot cards, and tea leaves. Marnie keeps Jenny supplied with delicious desserts and breakfast treats (mmm-hmmm, those scones sound sooo good) and Della with amazing woven goods.
The twists and turns in the plot were often completely unexpected, as is the reason for Helen’s murder and subsequent events. This reader was kept on her toes, and at the edge of her seat, trying to unravel whodunit in this cozy – and isn’t that why we read them? This author knows her craft well – both her talent for writing an excellent cozy mystery and her knowledge of the artistic skill of weaving combined with engaging characters and friendships prove Carol Ann Martin as an author extraordinaire. Not only would I now like to observe weaving techniques, but I am absolutely looking forward to seeing her upcoming novels!
I highly recommend Weave of Absence to adults of any age who love cozy mysteries that not only keep them up at night trying, with the protagonist, to outsmart the bad guy, but enjoy learning or reading about the art and skill of weaving. This series is a mixture of mystery, life-threatening suspense, and just enough romance to keep this reader anticipating more.