Let It Sew: A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery
Author: Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Published: November 2012
Available at Half-Price Books and online book retailers.
Let It Sew
This is the seventh entry in Casey’s Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series. After her friend’s removal as head of the Sweet Briar Christmas Decorating Committee, Tori Sinclair is drafted as a member to keep an eye on the usurper, a woman with less Christmas cheer than the Grinch. More sadness comes in the form of a death of a former sewing circle member- Charlotte Devereaux. When her husband ran out on her five years prior, she was the object of pity. Yet a sketch Charlotte drew days before her death tells a different story. Following the clues on the sketch, Tori uncovers the body of Charlotte’s husband. Everyone is ready to pin the blame on the now-deceased Charlotte, but Tori isn’t convinced. As she digs deeper, she finds more secrets and lies surrounding the Devereaux family. Tori must work quickly to wrap up the case before Christmas and avoid being added to the death count.
Tori Sinclair is a lovely woman. She’s kind, generous, and ready to help at a moment’s notice. She’s also incapable of saying “no,” has a sweet tooth that will fund a dentist’s retirement, and doesn’t have the most sensible head on her shoulders. As Sweet Briar’s head librarian, her devotion to and love of books is obvious throughout the story. She doesn’t take many stupid risks, and that is refreshing in this genre.
Side characters are also fleshed out well without threat of taking over the story. Casey depicts Margaret Louise and her twin Leona so well it’d be easy to tell them apart in real life. The other sewing circle members have distinct quirks and personalities as well. Dialogue and interactions are realistic and customized to the character speaking. The children featured share a sense of innocence and Christmas wonder. It’s a touching reminder of the importance of merriment during the holidays.
Casey kept me in the dark about who committed the murder until the very end. Following Tori’s journey toward the solution, you understand her misconceptions about the suspects. The misdirection and dead ends don’t feel that way at the time. It all feels like the normal reasoning process a person undergoes while trying to solve a puzzle. The sub-plots, i.e. the Christmas decorating committee work, helping her friends with their problems, etc. are wrapped up by the end as well.
While Pinned for Murder was fine, Let It Sew is a vast improvement in plot development, characterization, and pacing. The holiday element was a good reprieve from the heaviness around the murder mystery. It was easy to root for Tori, and while there were suspenseful moments, it wasn’t in response to poor decision making on her part. Casey has created a cozy, small-town vibe in her books, filled with a ragtag group of ladies you’ll want to visit repeatedly. Check your library, online, or a bookstore to find a copy. This book deserves to be read.