Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Review: Better Off Thread

Better Off Thread
By Amanda Lee
Embroidery Mystery #10
Berkley, 2016


Santa finds himself in a stitch of trouble in the tenth in the series from the national bestselling author of The Stitching Hour…

Marcy is busy helping her customers make hand-crafted ornaments at her embroidery shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. But despite the yuletide bustle, when her friend Captain Moe asks for her help, she can’t refuse—especially when the favor is to play the elf to his Santa for sick children at a local hospital. Despite the ridiculous outfit, Marcy finds herself enjoying spreading cheer—until the hospital’s administrator is found murdered.

Although the deceased had plenty of people willing to fill her stocking with coal, evidence pins the crime on Moe. Now it’s up to Marcy, with the help of her police officer boyfriend Ted and her Irish Wolfhound Angus, to stitch together the clues to clear Moe’s name—before someone else winds up crossed off Santa’s list for good…

My thoughts

This is the first of Amanda Lee’s series that I’ve read and I enjoyed it very much. When I think of the term “cozy mystery,” Better Off Thread fits the description perfectly. All the essential elements are present … small-town setting in Oregon, amateur detective who owns an embroidery shop, a strong supporting cast of friends, intuitive investigation, humor, a sweet romance, and the most adorable Irish Wolfhound named Angus! The writing is tight, flowing smoothly throughout. And, to top it all off, this story is completely clean – no graphic scenes or profanity!

A story or series is only as strong as its heroine, and Marcy, owner of Seven-Year Stitch, is wonderfully appealing. She’s sensitive, caring, and intelligent – the kind of person you would want for a friend. Marcy even has the hidden talent of stunt driving, revealed in a most creative way. Her romantic interest, Ted, is admirable also and readers will love the surprise ending. This story stands alone, but I’m eager to follow all the characters through the previous books as time allows.

The mystery is well plotted and kept me turning the pages. Character depth can make or break a book for me, and that is one of this story’s strengths. I especially enjoyed the scenes of Marcy assisting Santa with the children at the hospital. While Better Off Thread is a perfect read for any time of the year, it is especially enjoyable during the Christmas season.

Highly recommended. Within the cozy mystery genre, 5 stars.


Gayle Trent (and pseudonym Amanda Lee) writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series  and the Embroidery Mystery series. The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The Embroidery Mystery series  features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. She also writes the Down South CafĂ© Mysteries  as Gayle Leeson.

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I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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