At age 55, Betsy Devonshire is at a crossroads. Her second marriage has failed, and she no longer has a career. It is truly a blessing that her sister Margot, living in a small town in Minnesota, and the owner of a needlework shop, invites her to visit.

Betsy finds her sister welcoming, Excelsior, Minnesota charming, and the needlework shop a delight, but she wonders how long Margot can afford to keep her as a guest. Still, she begins to settle back and enjoy small town life.

Then the unthinkable happens: the shop is trashed and Margot is murdered. The police feel it is simply a burglary gone wrong, but Betsy isnt so sure. Vowing that she cant move on with her own life until Margots killer is uncovered, she begins to make a list of suspects and soon realizes that even a small town as calm as Excelsior has its own undercurrents of turmoil.

Although adding an additional suspect or two would have heightened the suspense, CREWEL WORLD is a fine first mystery. The picture of small town life rings true and the characters are memorable. There are fascinating details about all sorts of needle arts, and, as a bonus, a needlepoint pattern is included! (Mar., 256 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg