THREAD HERRINGS: A Legitimate struggle with Illlegitimacy

Thread Herrings

Thread Herrings coverBook 7 in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series
Author Lea Wait
Narrated by Christina Delaine
Publication date Oct 30, 2018
Running time 8 hrs

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Tagging along to an estate sale with her fellow Needlepointer, antiques shop owner Sarah Byrne, Angie Curtis impulsively bids on a tattered embroidery of a coat of arms. When she gets her prize back home to Haven Harbor, she discovers a document from 1757 behind the framed needlework—a claim for a child from a foundling hospital. Intrigued, Angie is determined to find the common thread between the child and the coat of arms.

Accepting her reporter friend Clem Walker’s invitation to talk about her find on the local TV news, Angie makes an appeal to anyone who might have information. Instead, both women receive death threats. When Clem is found [shot] in a parking lot, Angie fears her own life may be in jeopardy. She has to unravel this historical mystery—or she may be the next one going, going . . . gone . .


My Take Oblong Shaped


Wow, needlepoint just got dangerous! As with the other books in the series, this Mainely Needlepoint book is filled with Maine charm. I’ve been to an auction, much like the one Angie and Sara attend.  I thought the plot in here was interesting and unusual.  Patrick and Angie’s differences are highlighted by the kinds of people they have lunch with: Patrick with a yacht builder, And Angie has a lunch date with Clem, an old friend from high school. 

One wants to know what the thread herrings are in the story, well that would be giving it away.  I found it a delightful congruence of Maine politics, although I was very sorry Clem was killed in the course of the story and that this old, pretty ruined, bit of needlepoint and a seriously dysfunctional family, was the cause.

But, what interested me really was the history and the amount of research that would have  been required. Therfe’s much about the Foundling Hospital were really interesting.  This theme of illegitimacy and issues with the the British social welfare system is common in the series.  I found some related images and include them here.  Angie, herself, was raised by a single mother, and never knew her father.  Like Angie, we don’t get all the answers to the story. Another character’s life is not what Angie understood it to be.  Even a sweet little town like Haven Harbor has its share of secrets.

The Foundling Restored To its Mother 1858
The Foundling Restored To its Mother 1858 by Emma Brownlow depicting her father John Brownlow in the Foundling hospital, London. Hogarth’s painting The March to Finchley is in the background.
B. Cole after P. Fourdrinier – Engraving by B. Cole in Survey of London, 1754, p.266. Original painting by P. Fourdrinier in 1752. Scanned by Wellcome Trust. Wellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-03): CC-BY-4.0

I think the story here ended a little abruptly, and a was a little thin.  It was a bit too convenient and out of left field. But, there are plenty of crazy events that happen here in Maine and around the world.

There are several heart stopping moments in this story a little more danger and action than in previous volumes in the series. The stories are a little darker than a lot of cozies. There’s also a little more romance, but it’s still clean.  After all, Angie’s Grandmother is married to a minister.

I always enjoy these mysteries — the characters, the views of Maine, the needlepoint references at the top of each chapter, the historical research, and Angie’s journey back to her home. 

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