Monday, October 02, 2023

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Hanging by a Thread (Sewing Studio Mystery, #2) by Dorothy Howell


Hanging by a Thread
A Sewing Studio Mystery
Dorothy Howell

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Fictional Town of Hideaway Grove
Publisher: Kensington Cozies
Publication Date: September 26, 2023
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496740424 / ISBN-13: 978-1496740427
Digital ASIN: B0BRF14464 




The latest novel in a new crafting cozy series in the genre-leading Kensington Cozy Mystery program focusing on the members of a Sewing Studio.

Some of the independent shops in this sleepy town are barely hanging on financially—and that includes Sarah’s Sweets, Abbey’s aunt’s bakery. The shop’s advantage—aside from the deliciousness of its products—is the fact that it’s the only bakery in the area. But it looks like that’s about to change. The second wife of a wealthy businessman wants her own bakery—and money is no object.

When murder unravels the plans for the competing shop, Aunt Sarah is an immediate suspect—and Hideaway Grove’s merchants are on pins and needles about a big upcoming women’s conference, fearing the organization will cancel their booking because of the crime. Abbey’s doing her best to stay optimistic and stitch some custom tote bags for the attendees, but she’s also concerned with patching up Aunt Sarah’s good reputation. And when it comes to sorting through the possible motives of the victim’s family members and associates, she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve . . .


5 stars!

A baffling murder, multiple storylines, and engaging characters make this second in the series a winner! 

Hanging By a Thread is the second book in author Dorothy Howell's cozy series, the Sewing Studio Mysteries, and along with the murder of an abhorred local golddigger, there are multiple subplots of interest to unwind. This robust story caught my attention from the start, and I was quickly drawn into the community life of Hideaway Grove. 

The main character, Abbey Chandler, a recent arrival to town after her high-pressure life in LA imploded, is good-hearted and willing to help her friends and business acquaintances out any way she can. She is swamped with work, mostly favors for others, including Janine, the town's flighty tourism manager, in preparation for an important upcoming women's conference. All the while, Abbey is trying to establish her fledgling tote bag business and juggling volunteers for her charitable project making pillowcase dresses for young girls in Africa. It was exhausting considering what she had on her plate, but I could relate to her load as will many other readers who have pitched in to make things happen. 

The murder sets off the small town gossip mill, and along with the fear of a killer on the loose, local business owners are scrambling, worried the failure of the sheriff to solve the case will impact the lifeblood of the tourist-dependent economy. Abbey's friend and local business owner, Anna, was most often the herald of imminent doom, spreading any and all rumors, no matter how outlandish. It got to the point that Abbey had to talk to her about her gossip's impact, but someone needed to have an honest "Come to Jesus" with the woman. 

The murder victim is a perfect target, almost universally disliked for her well-discussed and dissected shady past behavior. Not a soul sheds a tear on her behalf, and the sheriff appeared to drag his feet on the investigation. Even with Aunt Sarah directly in his sites, he makes zero effort to drag her in for questioning. However, Abbey, believing she needs to solve the crime herself to save Aunt Sarah, puts off talking to her aunt for far too long. However, I loved where the story goes regarding the resolution of the murder, though. 

Other intriguing subplots were winners with me and will have me anxiously awaiting future books in the series. Abbey and Zack's relationship teeters between romantic and antagonistic. Props to Abbey for refusing the flowers; she was way more understanding of how Zack spoke to her than I would have been. Caitlin's personal saga will be one to watch, too, with her perceived future and past dreams so at odds and the presence of a third party in the wings with his own unrequited hopes for a future with her. The baffling mystery at the toy shop was also a great side story, especially with the lovely reputation and personality of the suspect. Also, tidbits detailing Abbey's projects and business are sprinkled throughout for the craft-minded among us to enjoy. 

With multiple storylines and an engaging array of characters, I recommend HANGING BY A THREAD to cozy mystery readers, especially fans of the previous book and those who enjoy craft-themed stories or tales featuring small businesses.


USA Today Bestselling author Dorothy Howell is the author of 49 novels. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and sold worldwide. She writes the Sewing Studio mystery series, the Haley Randolph mystery series, and the Hollis Brannigan and Dana Mackenzie mystery series. Dorothy also writes historical romance novels under the pen name Judith Stacy. Dorothy lives in Los Angeles.


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