Does a Good Deed Ever Go Unpunished in Lea Wait’s Newest Mystery?

Thread on Arrival

Thread_On_ArrivalBook 8 in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series
Author Lea Wait
Narrated by Christina Delaine
Publication date Apr 30, 2019
Running time 8 hrs 10 min

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

In this coastal New England town, folks take care of the needy—but someone is killing without kindness . . .

Ike Hamilton is a part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he’s fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles. Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.

But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who’s new in town. Angie’s convinced that young Leo is innocent—but if he didn’t do it, who did? Turns out Ike may have appeared simple-minded, but he knew a few secrets that someone might have murdered him to keep quiet. Angie sets out to trace Ike’s bottle-collecting route to find out what he witnessed—and for this killer, there may be no redemption . .


My Take Oblong Shaped


I love cozy mystery series — not all of them of course — something has t o click. Cozies tend to be female centric and the mysteries provide a foil the kinds of issues women faced in their time, status, or whatever.  For “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline WInspear it was a matter of station, a woman in a man’s world and WWI.  For the “Country Club Murders” by Julia Mulhern, it was being a Midwestern society woman in the 1970s looking for something besides dances at the club, in the 1970s — a period of great change for women and hence for society. For Angie, in Lea Wait’s “Mainely Needlepoint Series” it’s coming home to a town in Maine where she was apart because of her mother’s reputation and disappearance.  Angie lit out after graduation as far as one could drive in the US – Arizona – and ended up working as an assistant to a private detective.  When she returns to see her grandmother she ends up being involved on solving an apparent crime wave. 

That brings up a curious feature in cozies (not Maisie Dobbs who runs an investigation firm), the women seem to attract murder.  Even if they are not culpable, the bodies piling up around them will eventually leave a dearth of society with whom they will be able to engage.  In the “Country Club Murders.” Ellison’s mother begs her to stop finding bodies (as if she is trying to find bodies).  Authors have devices to counter the issue of so many bodies and murderers.  Some are outsiders – just coming for a visit, sometimes the victims and/or the killers are people from outside the community, or people who were killed long ago, or people on the fringe. 

This is one of the great ways Lea solves the issue, Haven Harbor is a small town and  the series has occurred in a very compressed time period: Some of the murders occurred long ago, others on the fringes of society  or higher up in society such that they don’t mix much with the others in the community.    In this book the victim is on the fringes of society, but knows everyone. 

As per usual, when the sleuth is an amateur the police constantly warn Angie to leave the investigation to them.  But it’s a rare thing that the police are on  the  right track and they are often in danger of convicting the wrong person.  Often in a cozy, there is an aspect of setting another life straight in the process of finding the murderer.  In this case the victim has taken a troubled young man into his home and of course his actions are questioned and the young man is a suspect when he seeks help for his friend covered in blood.

Another great thing in Lea’s books is the amount of history she inserts into the story and the needlework tidbits are always great.  I confess, I have only listened to the series and have not read a print version.  So,  for me Christina Delaine is Angie.  Her husky voice is sexy and deliberate — she lends gravity to Angie’s character. I live in coastal Maine, not too far from  Lea, and I have never heard anyone as camp-ishly New England as she portrays Angie’s grandmother.  But, she hits the teenaged boy in this one spot-on! 

I like this series so much that I got my sister into them and she is as huge a fan as me.  So, it’s a good series to share with your family. And, if you like cozies and happen to be heading to New England – you should definitely read Lea Wait!




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