Tightening the Threads
Book 5 in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series
By Lea Wait
Narrated by Christina Delaine
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publication date Aug 14, 2018
Running time 8 hrs 4 min
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.
Antique dealer Sarah Byrne has never unspooled the truth about her past to anyone—not even friend and fellow Mainely Needlepointer Angie Curtis. But the enigmatic Aussie finally has the one thing she’s searched for all her life—family. And now she and long-lost half-brother, Ted Lawrence, a wealthy old artist and gallery owner in town, are ready to reveal their secret connection . . .
Ted’s adult children are suspicious of their newfound aunt Sarah—especially after Ted, in declining health, announces plans to leave her his museum-worthy heirloom paintings. So when Ted is poisoned to death during a lobster bake, everyone assumes she’s guilty. If Sarah and Angie can’t track down the real murderer in time, Sarah’s bound to learn how delicate—and deadly—family dynamics can truly be . . .
I was thinking as I listened to this book that the mysteries were just too unlikely. But thinking back to some of Maine’s more gruesome crimes in the 34 years I have lived here and I realized Lea had it down pat. We get some bi The family is probably based on the Wyeths although most of the painting Wyeths have had great success (are there non-painting Wyeths?). But, Maine is crazy-full of artists — it’s so beautiful here that everyone, it seems, wants to capture it.
Every so often I felt she over explained our customs and such, but I live here when others do not so perhaps the information is helpful. I must say, however, that I enjoyed the instructions for how to have a lobster bake. So much work! Also, Lea repeats Angies circumstances a little too often.
This particular story revolves around family, the responsibility of maintaining relationships, family ruptures, and belonging. It’s also about good friendships, how they can be a chosen family. In this case if I were Sara I would go for the friends over the family.
Around Thanksgiving is a good time to look at those themes.
In my experience with people with family money and property, there is occasionally a generation of under achievers who are waiting for someone to pass on, or waiting to come into a trust. Like the characters in the book they may have a career as a stock broker, or have an organic farm, or be a professional student; my point is that this portrait of the characters in the book is pretty spot on. I’m not sure, but it feels as if Lea is talking to this theme.
I was surprised that the type of estate described in the book was not being handled in the way this size of fortune normally would be. A large estate of family property, businesses, goods and accounts would probably be in a trust, and not handled by a small town lawyer as it was in this book. Additionally, one of the male characters in the book drinks more than a human could without alcohol poisoning.
I love how Lea looked at the British Child Migrant program where children in the social work system were sent to former colonies. That is how Angie’s friend Sara came to be born in Australia. In the links below, you’ll find an article about the tragic program.
I admit, I love these books because of the characters: especially Angie and her grandmother, but I like how she gets Maine right. It is a special place and so many authors misrepresent it. Lea allows a little New England quaintness, but she talks about how hard it is in our smaller, coastal villages to make a living.
The narrator, Christina Delaine, has become the voice of Angie Curtis, Lea’s main character. She does a good job, usually getting the accents right.
This story has some surprises — at least I was surprised. It’s a tiny bit darker than a cozy but still good to cuddle up with.
About the Child Migrant Program: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/27/britains-child-migrant-programme-why-130000-children-were-shipped-abroad