Saturday, February 26, 2022

By Hook or By Crook – Book Review



A ball of yarn and a crochet hook
*Created with Pixabay & Fotojet


I love books and am a big fan of mysteries. I also love to crochet. So finding a mystery book that is a crochet mystery was a delight. And discovering that the author, Betty Hechtman, has written a whole series of these cozy mysteries starring a crochet group was even more fun.

Today's review is on By Hook or By Crook by Betty Hechtman.

Story Characters

The characters in this story are known as the Tarzana Hookers ~ that's hookers as in crochet!

They are a group of ladies (and even one man) who crochet and meet regularly in a small book store in Tarzana, California (thus the name). The crochet group's main focus is to crochet for charities. The group is headed by Molly Pink (main character), a widow with two grown sons who works as the event planner at this book store. Somehow, Molly keeps finding herself involved in mysteries she becomes determined to solve. And, of course, various members of the crochet group get involved.

Synopsis of By Hook or By Crook

'By Hook or By Crook' book cover
Available on Amazon

“Nobody noticed the bag at first”

The story begins as the group is packing up their table at a charity fund-raiser they had been involved in for a local state park. After the leftover crochet blankets, scarves and teddy bears from the sale had been put away, they noticed a plain brown grocery bag sitting on the end of the table. With nobody claiming the bag, naturally they had to look inside. 

The bag contained some curious items ~ an unfinished note that spoke of remorse, ending in Please....., a single-page diary entry written 20 years ago, and a piece of filet crochet with a group of complicated pictures that don't, at first, make any sense. The pictures on the panel of filet crochet include a building, a house, a couple of cats, what looks like a guy with a bow and arrow, and a vase of flowers.  What could it mean and who crocheted this piece?

As time goes on, Molly discovers that the aqua thread used in part of the filet crochet piece is a specialty thread and she tracks it down to the local yarn store which carries it. The shop owner keeps good records, so Molly is able to learn who bought this particular thread. When she goes to return the bag, she discovers that the crocheter it belonged to has been murdered.

Since the note in the bag began - "I did something a long time ago that I now regret and would like to make right.....” Molly decides she has to discover what that is and help make it right. She thinks the pictures in the crochet piece could be clues to solve this mystery and, with the help of fellow crocheters in her group, she sets out to learn what it is all about. Her discoveries take her to Catalina Island where things get very strange. Her life is also complicated by her parents suddenly deciding to visit and taking over her house, her two dogs, only one of which is hers, the bookstore demanding her attention, especially because a TV program is being scheduled to film an episode there, distractions caused by the lives of her crochet group members, and just life in general. 

Defining a Cozy Mystery

Loosely defined, a Cozy Mystery is a gentle subset of the genre of crime writing.  It's a comfort read that leaves you satisfied, rather than scared to sleep alone with the lights out....

These mysteries are enjoyable, most often starring a female amateur detective, and with the crime and detection taking place in a small community. They are a comfortable and quick read.

Author Betty Hechtman

Author Betty Hechtman
Betty Hechtman

Betty Hechtman has (to date) written 14 books in her 'crochet mystery' series. Betty loves mysteries, which began with reading Nancy Drew. She has also been doing handicrafts since she was a child. She states it was like a dream come true to be able to mix mystery and yarn craft in her books. 


By Hook or By Crook meets the requirements of a cozy mystery and the series of 'crochet mysteries' this book belongs to is particularly interesting to not only lovers of mysteries, but also anyone who enjoys crochet.

Although the series appears to be a continuing one with the same characters, I don't believe they need to be read in any particular order. I began with this book, which is #3 in the series, and had no trouble figuring out who everyone was and what roles they played in the story. I now look forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about Molly and the other members of the Tarzana Hookers. They sound like a group I'd love to belong to. 


*By Hook or By Crook Book Review Written by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. The Tarzana Hookers would indeed be the perfect group for you Elf! I can easily envision you sitting in a circle of friends, crocheting and playing detective all at the same time. I know this was a fun book for you to read and one I would enjoy as well. Gotta love a wonderful cozy mystery that allows me to sleep.

    1. I would LOVE to belong to a crochet group. Besides enjoying the camaraderie of fellow 'hookers' :), it would be fun to crochet in a group for specific charities. In this particular story, besides participating in a craft fair for the benefit of a local park, the group crochets blankets and teddy bears for the Police Dept. to give to traumatized kids.

  2. this sounds like a mystery series I could really enjoy. And how perfect for you Elf!! Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Yes, Mary Beth, it turned out to be the 'perfect' book for this crochet crafter and mystery lover. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Now, what you need is a mystery series starring a photographer! LOL.

  3. Oh Pat, I can see how this would have captured your interest in more ways than one. I too love to crochet and this sounds like a nice little read to have going on the side. So thank you for pointing me in this direction and I will certainly give this book a go!

    1. I'm sure you will enjoy this book -- and perhaps the whole series like I'm looking forward to reading. Happy reading and crocheting, Olivia.

  4. I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries (especially since I listen to audiobooks as “bedtime stories”) and love crafting, so this series sounds right up my alley. A writer who names a group that crochets to benefit charities the Tarzana Hookers sounds like my kind of author. I do love witty, tongue-in-cheek writing as well as engaging characters and a good story, and this series seems to check all those boxes. Thanks for a great recommendation!

    1. This series DOES check all the boxes, Margaret. Thanks for your visit.

  5. This sounds so interesting! I'm not one for mysteries, but honestly I know I would enjoy this very different approach to a story. So original!

  6. This one sounds interesting Pat. I do love a good mystery and this seems to be something that I would like. I can envision this being a Hallmark Series!! Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Good idea to use this series as the basis for a Hallmark movie series, Sam. I can just picture it. Thanks for your visit.


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