Molly MacRae brings back textile historian Kath Rutledge, her "posse" of knitters, and Geneva, a ghost, in an intriguing mystery that combines family, history, and a cold case. Plagued by Quilt takes readers to a historic farm in Blue Plum, Tennessee, where murder and death is part of the history.
Kath and her needlework group, TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Fiber), agreed to teach a workshop at the Holston Homeplace Living History Farm. But, their crazy quilt can't compete with Phillip Bell, the dramatic assistant director. And, even he can't compete when one of the students finds bones. Kath's thoughts immediately turn to Geneva, the ghost who lives with her, but doesn't remember much about her past. Thoughts of a cold case excite the members of TGIF. And, then someone kills a member of the staff at the farm.
While Kath is convinced the primary suspect didn't kill anyone, she's more interested in the cold case and a possible connection to Geneva. But, she's also worried about Ardis, the store manager of The Weaver's Cat. Ardis, a member of the posse, seems to have some unusual reactions when Geneva is around. Kath worries that all of her projects might unravel at the same moment.
Molly MacRae's latest mystery is filled with humor, often at the expense of a local deputy, Cole Dunbar. While Kath dates his brother, Joe, she is easily riled when it comes to dealing with Cole. But, the mystery is filled with heart as well as humor. Kath's actions are often driven by her concern for Geneva. And, all of Kath's friends are people with lives that do not always permit them to slip off to play amateur sleuth. In other words, they seem to be real people who have to take care of elderly fathers or work.
Kath Rutledge is my kind of amateur sleuth. She only hides things from the police because Cole Dunbar won't listen to her, and sometimes mocks her ideas, pushing her out of the way. And, when she sets a trap for a killer, she calls on her friends, and doesn't try to do it alone. But, she does believe in unraveling the stories that will lead to the truth. "Give me a puzzle and eccentric bits and pieces of information, and I want to make a pattern - a pattern that solves the puzzle."
Plagued by Quilt offers a few puzzles for Kath and the reader. There are secrets to discover about the bodies, the current murder victim, and Geneva's past. And, Kath is still learning about her inherited talents, including the ability to "brush up against someone's emotional state by brushing against a fabric they wore". It's a story offering family secrets, historical ones, ghosts and murder. In other words, Molly MacRae offers readers the chance to make a pattern from the puzzle and "eccentric bits and pieces of information" that she provides. Plagued by Quilt is a crazy quilt puzzle with heart.
Molly MacRae's website is www.mollymacrae.com
Plagued by Quilt by Molly MacRae. Obsidian. 2014. ISBN 9780451471307 (paperback), 342p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.