by Amanda Lee
An Embroidery Mystery
Series: Embroidery Mystery (Book 8)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Signet (April 7, 2015)
E-Book ASIN: B00MNN7GXQ
When murder strikes the small town of Tallulah Falls, embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer isn’t afraid of getting into the knitty-gritty to clear her own name…
For most small-business owners in Tallulah Falls, the upcoming Renaissance Faire is a wonderful way to promote their specialty shops. For Marcy’s nemesis, Nellie, and her sister Clara, it’s an opportunity to finally put Marcy and her shop, the Seven-Year Stitch, out of business. Apparently the sisters like to keep their grudges all in the family and have set up a competing booth right next to Marcy’s at the Faire.
When Clara is discovered dead in her own booth—strangled by the scarf she had almost finished knitting—Marcy becomes the prime suspect. Now she has to do whatever it takes to keep her reputation from unraveling and get to the bottom of a most deadly yarn…
This is the first book in the series I have read. Also first time author. Marcy goes to set up her booth when she finds Clara dead. She gets her boyfriend and detective Ted to help her find the killer but of course Nellie has Ted off the case. This doesn’t stop him at all from helping Marcy find out who killed Clara.
I thought this was a fun read I did not know who the killer was early on which was a great thing. A great cozy mystery and I will be reading the other books. I hate I have missed out on this series.
Learning My Craft
Since I’m a writer, you probably think the title of this post suggests that I study the craft of writing. And you’re right in that I’m always trying to learn—by doing, by studying other writers’ techniques, by reading books on writing. But, since I write embroidery mysteries, I also need to learn embroidery.
I already know how to do cross-stitch, needlepoint, redwork, blackwork, and candlewicking. I made the little guy to the left (he’s on a small tote bag) from a pattern created by Follow the White Bunny.
But my heroine, Marcy Singer, can do everything! She does all of the aforementioned techniques plus crewel, ribbon embroidery, Huck embroidery, Hardanger, beaded embroidery, and even some Indian embroidery called chikankari. I have done one ribbon embroidery kit—a jewelry box—and I enjoyed it. I also once did a really small Hardanger project which made me realize it’s so named because it’s “Hard—dang it!” At least, it was to me.
So I went to Craftsy and signed up for two embroidery classes. One is a crewel embroidery class and the other is a ribbon embroidery class. I’m really looking forward to them. I feel that learning these techniques will provide new dimensions to my understanding of them and writing about them.
In addition, Marcy teaches embroidery classes three evenings a week at her shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. By taking these classes, I’ll see how the instructor does her job and interacts with her students. I know it won’t be exactly like a one-on-one type class in real time, although the website indicates that students can email the instructor for guidance. Still, being self-taught in the other forms of embroidery I do, taking the classes will give me more insight into Marcy’s character as she teaches her students.
I truly enjoy researching the embroidery mystery books. With each new book, I try to introduce the readers—and myself—to something new. In Wicked Stitch, there is a Renaissance festival coming to Tallulah Falls. I attended a Renaissance Faire years ago and fell in love with it. Maybe it was the longing to attend another that led me to write a book set against the backdrop of a RenFaire.
Once I’d chosen my theme, I wanted to learn what embroidery was popular during the Renaissance. I discovered blackwork was en vogue. I found a terrific website (http://www.blackworkarchives.com/index.html) containing patterns popular during the Elizabethan era. I incorporated learning and stitching blackwork into the book.
I also loved researching various Renaissance festivals. It was fun to see what types of merchants attend the festivals and what they sell at their booths. I was able to integrate the existing Tallulah Falls merchants into the Faire, and I contacted an Oregon winery to see if I could make that company a vendor at the Faire as well. The owner wrote back with an enthusiastic yes! It’s always great to be able to lend a little authenticity to the books.
About This Author
Gayle Trent (writing as Amanda Lee) writes the embroidery mystery series. The series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back. Gayle/Amanda lives in Virginia when she’s not inhabiting the fictional world of Tallulah Falls.