Unraveled Sleeve (A Needlecraft Mystery #4) by Monica Ferris

Unraveled Sleeve (A Needlecraft Mystery, #4)Unraveled Sleeve by Monica Ferris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My favorite in the series so far. I enjoyed this Betsy Devonshire/needlecraft outing immensely.
Great things about the story included the sense of place–Betsy and her friend Jill drive up to a needlecraft retreat at Naniboujou Lodge near the Canadian border. This is a real retreat that hosts real stitch-ins, and it was pure escapism reading about this place. I also love how the author tends to teach me something in these books…whether it’s learning a bit about the geography and history of Minnesota, to surviving outdoors, to, of course, needlework.
Once again, I was reminded that part of what I enjoy about this series is how old fashioned the writing itself feels. It reminds me a bit of a Nancy Drew mystery. Unraveled Sleeve can definitely be read as a standalone mystery, and would be a great introduction to the Needlecraft Mystery series.

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Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn

Thereby Hangs a Tail (A Chet and Bernie Mystery #2)Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so glad I discovered this super-sweet and also funny series featuring PI team Chet (a dog, and our narrator) and Bernie (his human).
The Chet and Bernie mysteries remind me in some ways of Bunnicula for adults (with the caveat that I consider Bunnicula appropriate and perhaps necessary reading fare for EVERYONE, adults included!).
What primarily makes this an “adult” book is that as Chet and Bernie solve crimes, Chet is witness to events, often not fully understood, that the reader realizes have serious implications, either regarding life and death, relationships, or even contemporary environmental issues.
Although at first glance, the story seems so funny as to be almost “fluff” reading, Spencer Quinn (a pseudonym for a well-known crime writer) actually writes with the talent of capturing deep feelings and wisdom, with a few simple, carefully chosen words.
Since the story is told from a dog’s perspective, we’ve got a narrator who is totally loveable, and also totally grounded in the things that matter in life. I loved this aspect of Thereby Hangs a Tail.
Chet’s perspective, in which the concept of worrying doesn’t make sense, in which life is full of joy and wonder, and in which his human is loved totally and unconditionally, are qualities which I value, and want to remember more in my daily life.
Thereby Hangs a Tail is a fast read, with a lot of humor, a great sense of place (the American Southwest), and two characters who will leap right off the page and into your heart. A great book to brighten your day.

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