Book Review: Pinned for Murder

Pinned for Murder: A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery
Author: Elizabeth Lynn Casey
ISBN: 978-0-425-23789-2
Published: October 2010
Available at Half-Price Books and online retailers.

This is the third installment in Casey’s Southern Sewing Circle Mystery lineup (Sew Deadly and Death Threads precede it).

A storm has torn through Sweet Briar, leaving many homes and businesses in need of repair. The storms have also brought outside handymen and day laborers seeking opportunity, and many locals have already put them to work. Yet in the midst of rebuilding and cleanup efforts, a dead body is found and a large sum of money has disappeared.

Martha Jane Barker, Sweet Briar’s “richest and meanest” old woman, was¬†liked by none and loved even less. But all eyes have turned to Kenny Murdock as the likeliest suspect after the two had a heated argument.

Tori’s friend Rose knows Kenny couldn’t have done it, and is distraught that her former student is being blamed. To help Rose, Tori dives into unraveling the mystery of Martha’s murder. Yet with few clues and fewer suspects, Tori knows she’ll have her work cut out for her to find the truth.

The Good:

  • The characters are delightfully distinctive. Each has their own idiosyncrasies and way of talking and doing things. They’re each relatable in their own way, so you feel more connected to them and the story.
  • The plot and the actions taken by characters are believable. At no point did a character do something where you think, “Oh, come on! Where did they learn to do that all of a sudden?!” Everything that was said or done seemed totally reasonable for the life that person leads.
  • The dialogue was easy to understand and follow. There were no noticeable spelling or grammar mistakes to jar you out of the story.

The Bad:

  • The killer is predictable. If you give it a little thought after all the characters are introduced, you can peg the bad guy from the get-go without any more clues.
  • Tori takes a long time to realize things that should be obvious. *SPOILERS* There is a section where she is detailing to a certain person the things she wants to buy for the children’s section of the library (where she is the head librarian). She notes the¬†approximate amount of money she’ll need to make those purchases. When she gets that money mysteriously sent to her the next day, she doesn’t put two and two together until many days later. That was annoying.
  • Tori meets her boyfriend’s mother and an overflow of syrupy sweetness ensues. I think it is wonderful that many of us can get along well with our in-laws (though clearly many don’t), but Tori and her boyfriend’s mom were hugging and crying together from the outset as if they were long-lost relatives. I just wasn’t buying how close they became after two short encounters.

Overall:

It’s worth getting on sale for a weekend read. Pinned for Murder is an easily digestible book with many fun characters. Casey has created a welcoming world that makes you forgive the little foibles in the story.