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.
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
|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
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
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