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Crewel World: 08/29/07
Crewel World is the first in the Needlecraft Mystery series and probably the last one I'll read. It's supposedly a cozy mystery but I found it one of the most depressing books I've read this year. Usually in a cozy the death of a character isn't the focus of the book except to provide impetus for the main character to solve the crime. Here, though, the tragedy of the death was the central focus for a large chunk of the novel.
Roughly speaking, Crewel World is divided into thirds. The first third introduces the characters, especially the sisters: Margot and Betsy and the town of Excelsior, Minnesota. The second and most depressing third focuses on Margot's death (not a spoiler as it's mentioned on the back of the book) and the harsh reality of the clean-up from a violent death.
In the final third, Crewel World finally falls into being a cozy mystery. While trying to figure out what to do with the store and her life, Betsy begins to realize that something isn't right with how the murder is being investigated. In learning how to run her sister's store, she sees what the police are missing.
My favorite pieces of the book were the beginning and the ending thirds. Betsy's depression after her sister's death is so well written that I was on the verge of tears while reading through the planning of the funeral. I just don't know if I want to grow that emotional roller coaster on future books in this series.