Book Notes Review-Hanging By A Thread


Hanging by a Thread

A Sewing Studio Mystery #2
By Dorothy Howell



Publisher’s Description

From USA Today bestselling author Dorothy Howell, the charming new cozy mystery featuring twenty-something Abbey Chandler and her fellow sewing circle members in the quaint, touristy town of Hideaway Cove, California.

After setting up a small sewing studio in quaint Hideaway Grove, Abbey Chandler is focused on finding crafty, creative ideas to build up her clientele. But murder can be bad for business . . .

Some of the independent shops in this sleepy town are barely hanging on financially—and that includes Sarah’s Sweets, Abbey’s aunt’s bakery. The shop’s advantage—aside from the deliciousness of its products—is the fact that it’s the only bakery in the area. But it looks like that’s about to change. The second wife of a wealthy businessman wants her own bakery—and money is no object.

When murder unravels the plans for the competing shop, Aunt Sarah is an immediate suspect—and Hideaway Grove’s merchants are on pins and needles about a big upcoming women’s conference, fearing the organization will cancel their booking because of the crime. Abbey’s doing her best to stay optimistic and stitch some custom tote bags for the attendees, but she’s also concerned with patching up Aunt Sarah’s good reputation. And when it comes to sorting through the possible motives of the victim’s family members and associates, she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve . . .

What I liked about Hanging by a Thread
Hanging by a Thread brings the reader back into Hideaway Grove and to many of the characters introduced in the first book. Abbey Chandler is the main character, and she is still struggling to build up her sewing business by selling her custom totes. She’s had some success selling them in stores around Hideaway Grove, but she knows she needs to expand or lose her business entirely. She’s also still trying to figure out her relationship with local deputy, Zack. It’s off to a very rocky start, but Abbey sets boundaries with Zack. His response signals he wants to give this relationship a try as well. There is still the sewing circle doing volunteer sewing work and spreading town gossip.

What I didn’t like about Hanging by a Thread
The murder victim, Blaine Hutchinson, never makes an appearance in the book. We learn about her through the other characters, and even then it isn’t much and it is clouded by the others’ intense dislike of her. For me, the story lacks something when the murder victim is one step removed from the storyline. Also I wish last names were included in the first few chapters of any book, to help me keep people straight. It’s helpful in each book in a series, grounding the reader in the story whether is the first book in a series or the 15th.

Some of the tropes present in Hanging by a Thread
Small town
Antagonistic relationship with local law enforcement
Main character is a small business owner, female amateur sleuth working to clear her aunt’s name.

The mystery in Hanging by a Thread
I had the murderer figured out before the reveal, but not the why, even though the
clues were planted throughout the book.

Final thoughts
I like this series. I like the sewing aspect of it and the community that forms around it. While I feel the book had some weaknesses, it is still an entertaining and quick read. Recommended, especially if you like some sort of craft with your mystery.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #KensingtonCozies for giving me a copy of #HangingByAThread in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.