Tuesday 12 November 2013

Last Wool and Testament

My first three books for the 2013 Southern Literature challenge, hosted by The Introverted Reader, were what you might call 'quite serious'. In some cases 'very' serious. So I thought for my final book of the challenge that I would lighten the mood a bit and go for something a bit less demanding. The book I chose was Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae.

Kath Rutledge is on her way to her grandmother, Ivy's, funeral, late and speeding, when she's stopped by the local deputy sheriff of Blue Plum, Tennessee. On hearing who she is he says a couple of things about Ivy that Kath finds disturbing and unpleasant. Something is clearly wrong.

Ivy owned The Weaver's Cat in Blue Plum, a shop selling wool, threads, knitting supplies etc. Still grieving, Kath discovers that Ivy may have been a suspect in a murder, the poisoning of one, Emmett Cobb. She then discovers that the house she thought she would inherit now belongs, not to her, but to Emmett's son, Max. All in all, it's a huge mystery. How did Emmett come to own Ivy's house? And who killed him and why?

Kath enlists help from her solicitor, Homer, and from the TGIF group... Thank God It's Fibre... that meet at the shop. And there's also help from an unlikely, supernatural, source - although whether it's help or hindrance, Kath can't quite decide. But this mystery must be solved and soon, before someone else dies...

The joy of this book is in the characters and the setting. The small Tennessee town of Blue Plum is delightful with its views of The Great Smoky Mountains and small-town closeness of the people. I liked Kath, and felt for her with the frustrations of her dire situation. The ladies of the TGIF group were great and I adored the shop; if it existed I'd be there like a shot on our next visit to the USA! Several people were irritating and annoying but you need that to add friction to a story. The seam of gentle humour that runs through the book is absolutely delightful and I laughed quite a lot. The author has a lovely droll way of putting things that I really enjoyed.

Mystery-wise the plot doesn't really get going properly until about 100 pages or more in. And I feel like there were a couple of plot holes which is something I don't usually notice, but now can't really remember so phooey to that...

Truthfully, I liked this book easily enough to buy book 2, Dyeing Wishes, for my Kindle. I'm not massively into cosy mysteries but make an exception for this one for capturing me with good characters and a nice sense of humour.

As well as being my last book for the Southern Lit. challenge this book is my first book for the state of Tennessee for my own personal USA one.



DesLily said...

so how many states have you read books from now?

I tossed aside mysteries to read "Jack" since the anniversary of Kennedy's death is coming up. Let me tell you...this book is eye opening. I knew a number of things but this book is chock full and I'm only 1/2 way thru the book! (not just about Jack but his family too)

GeraniumCat said...

If I were to class any kind of reading as a "guilty pleasure" (which I don't!) it would be "crafty" cosy mysteries. They really can be strangely amusing, and I learned a lot about scrap-booking from one - not a subject I was going to discover otherwise.

TracyK said...

Someday I may do a Southern Lit challenge, but I still have too much angst reading about the South, having grown up there. I do have a few to try. I am not much into cozies myself, but I do have a few of those to try too, and at least one is set in the south.

Cath said...

Pat: I think about 20 but for some states I've read 2 or 3. Plus, 4 or 5 books were multi-state reads. Eventually I'll do a post about my progress.

I'm hoping to get to 'Jack' early next year. Sounds like it might be rather a good book.

Geranium Cat: I agree about crafty cosies. There seem to be a lot and some of the extra info is really quite informative.

Tracy: I can well understand how growing up in the South might put you off reading some of the more intense books.