Wicked Weaves: 03/24/21
Wicked Weaves by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene is the first book in the Renaissance Faire mystery series. Jessie Morton spends her summers working at Renaissance theme park in Myrtle Beach. This summer she's apprenticed to Mary Shift, a Gullah-Geechee basket weaver. When a man ends up dead, Mary is top of a short list of suspects.
Mary and her circle of acquaintances and family outside of work are the weakest link this disappointing mystery. She comes off as a token character and not as a well rounded, believable person with agency. Frankly none of the characters do, but calling out her heritage and her artisan skills and then to make her (and her extended circle) the only Black person in this book shows that the authors have put her in book one to get a cookie and nothing more.
The remaining characters are completely forgettable. They each have a job at the park, some skilled, some not. All of them seem to be interchangeable horny teenagers regardless of how long it might take a person to learn their craft. The park itself seems to be one or two violations away from closure and yet seems able to keep running.
In the midst of this incomprehensible setting, there's a murder mystery. As I could barely make heads or tails of the cast of characters, I had barely any investment in the murdered person or in discovering who committed the crime, beyond wanting it to not be Mary.
The next book is Ghastly Glass (2009).