I’ve just read Monica Ferris’ 13th and 14th Needlework Mysteries, Blackwork and Buttons and Bones.  These are the most recent entries in Ferris’ series about Betsy Devonshire and her ability to solve murders.  They’re sort of Jessica Fletcher-like in that the heroine is a middle-aged woman in a small town who solves mysteries more easily than the police do.

Betsy Devonshire is a transplant to Excelsior, Minnesota.  In the first book, Crewel World, Betsy arrives in Excelsior to visit her sister, Margot, who is the owner of a needlework shop called Crewel World.  Unfortunately for Betsy, her sister is dead (murdered, actually), and she (Betsy) ends up solving the mystery.  And the rest is history. 13 books later, I still love this series.

They’re not great literature, but they are fun and I really enjoy them.  I was delighted to find these 2 most recent ones at the library.  I first discovered the series through fellow stitchers in NY and several of the local shops sold the books.  Each book contains a needlework pattern that has something to do with the plot.  I’ve never done any of the patterns, but maybe some day I will.

As an aside, another mystery series that I really like is the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson.  The latest book in the series is Murder on Sisters’ Row, and I’m next in line to get the book from my local library branch.  The series focuses on a widowed midwife named Sarah Brandt who practices in 1890s Manhattan.  In the first book, Murder on Astor Place, Sarah helps Detective Frank Malloy (a widower with a young son) solve a murder, and the two become allies and even friends.  As the series progresses, we see them fall in love, but they haven’t done anything about it (yet?).  I love the little historical details in these books and, of course, being a former Manhattanite, I appreciate how little this area of Lower Manhattan has actually changed over the years.

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This is post #200, and I would like to thank all of my readers (so many more than I’d ever anticipated!) for making it possible.

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