02 February 2016

Today's Read & Giveaway: Darned If You Do by Monica Ferris

Darned If You Do by Monica FerrisHave you ever experienced a major storm? Unlike the big snows of last week, the residents of Excelsior, Minnesota, woke up to major damage caused by heavy rains and strong winds. Little did they know, however, that murder would follow on the coattails of Mother Nature.

Then an ancient elm, its inside long rotted and its roots' grip weakened by rain, groaned under the wind's blast, twisted, and fell. It had given welcome shade to Riordan's house for many summers, but now it slammed into the roof, breaking through the shingles to thrust sopping leaves and wet and broken limbs into Riordan's bedroom, waking him up at last.
Darned If You Do by Monica Ferris (Berkley Prime Crime, 2016, pp. 1-2)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Excelsior, Minnesota, modern times
  • Circumstances: When Tom Riordan, a known hoarder, is in the hospital recovering from being pinned to his bed by a fallen tree, his cousin Valentina comes to town to oversee the repairs to his house. While sorting through the mess, she is surprised to discover a number of valuable antiques. Unfortunately, Valentina is no stranger to the police, so when a murder occurs, she is tagged as suspect number one. Local shop owner Betsy Devonshire thinks the authorities have it wrong and agrees to help prove Valentina's innocence.
  • Genre: cozy mystery with a needlework theme
  • Characters: Betsy, owner of needlework shop; Connor, her boyfriend; her group of close friends dubbed "the Monday Bunch"; Tom, a hoarder; Valentina, Tom's out-of-town cousin; various police and townsfolk
  • The series: I read the first five or six books in Ferris's Needlecraft Mysteries, and enjoyed getting to know Betsy and her friends. I always liked the way they look out for each other and share their passion for their hobbies, including knitting, crocheting, embroidery, counted cross-stitch, and even bobbin lacemaking.
  • This installment: I liked revisiting Betsy and the gang, and didn't feel lost, even though this is the eighteenth book in the series. The murder itself was slow to come, but once it happened, the action moved away from Tom's house and his hoarding to solving the crime. I didn't think the mystery was all that difficult to figure out, but the characters and the town itself kept my interest. Plus, I'm a needlework enthusiast and like reading about characters' ongoing projects.
  • Recommendations: If you have a needlework hobby and/or enjoy light cozy mysteries, then don't hesitate to pick up Darned If You Do. Don't worry if you're new to the series, I think you'll be able to start right here, without feeling like you missed too much of the background.
  • Things to know: The paperback edition is being released this month; the hardcover was published last year. For all you crafty types, there is a crocheted lace pattern included at the end of the book.
The Giveaway

Thanks to the nice people at Penguin Random House, I'm happy to be able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a copy of Monica Ferris's Darned If You Do. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner, via a random number generator, on February 12. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the name and address along to the publisher, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!


collettakay 2/2/16, 8:13 AM  

I love cozy mysteries! Thanks for the chance to win the book and thanks for stopping by my blog :)


Unknown 2/2/16, 8:22 AM  

I'm a lover of cozies and this sounds like a good mystery. I also love stories that have the elements as an added issue to the story.

Thanks for the giveaway. crossing fingers and toes:)

My TT - http://fuonlyknew.com/2016/02/02/teaser-tuesdays-145-burning-heat/

JoAnn 2/2/16, 8:30 AM  

Sounds like fun! I'm about ready to read another cozy.

Karen B 2/2/16, 8:50 AM  

I love books with MN settings and yet I've missed this series that's almost in my backyard! Time to catch up.

bermudaonion 2/2/16, 9:09 AM  

That's the kind of storms we get. The book sounds really good.

Katherine P 2/2/16, 9:10 AM  

This is a series I've really been wanting to read. I love the premise of this and living in tornado country I can definitely understand having a tree fall through your roof!

Kathy Martin 2/2/16, 10:13 AM  

Sounds good but I'd be wary of starting with the 18th book in a series. My teaser this week comes from The Fine Art of Murder by Emily Barnes. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/2/16, 11:58 AM  

I do enjoy cozy mysteries, and love the sound of this one. I also like stories with hoarders in them...lol. Not because I am one, but with some of my collections, well...it could happen.

Thanks for sharing, and I want to read more.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

rhonda 2/2/16, 12:24 PM  

I enjoy relaxing with a cozy,

Nise' 2/2/16, 1:46 PM  

I like the premise of the cozy. Thanks for the giveaway.

Margot 2/2/16, 1:49 PM  

Great first paragraph. It's kind of hard not to want to keep reading. I sure want or know what happens to Riordan and then there's the murder thing. Sounds like a good mystery.

Anonymous,  2/2/16, 3:00 PM  

Mysteries are one of my favoriites, thanks! for sharing.

Cleopatra Loves Books 2/2/16, 4:20 PM  

That weather sounds like an excellent backdrop to a nice cosy mystery!

Sandra Nachlinger 2/2/16, 4:28 PM  

Thanks for the chance to read this book. It sounds like one I'd enjoy, especially because I like quilting, sewing, and crewel embroidery.
My Tuesday post features GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE.

Jessica @ a GREAT read 2/2/16, 4:36 PM  

Ooh nice teaser! I enjoy a good cozy mystery too! Though mine are usually of the paranormal variety!

Thanks for visiting my post!

Kay 2/2/16, 4:45 PM  

Wow, what a beginning! And I've been in some storms like that, though not in a house that a tree fell through. I want to say that I might have read a book or two in this series, but just can't remember. I do like the sound of this one though.

Anonymous,  2/2/16, 5:41 PM  

We've been getting hit with strong winds and rain at the moment so seems very appropriate.

Anonymous,  2/2/16, 10:42 PM  

He was sleeping through that? Wow! Sounds like an interesting story. Here's mine: http://wp.me/p4DMf0-19D

nishitak 2/2/16, 10:54 PM  

I am one of those people who can sleep soundly through all storms. LOL! Thank goodness nothing smashed through my roof

karen 2/3/16, 12:46 AM  

It definitely sounds like a cute cozy! Thanks for sharing!

The Candid Cover 2/5/16, 11:31 AM  

Oh!!! I love the sound of this one! Very intriguing and mysterious!

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