|Crafting Deception / Barbara Emodi
Concord, CA: C&T Publishing, c2023.
Delighted to be sharing book 2 in the Gasper's Cove series by sewing writer Barbara Emodi. I read book one, Crafting for Murder, late last year and have been lookig forward to its follow-up.
In this story, Valerie Rankin finds herself investigating a murder on behalf of Duck, the ex-con handyman at her craft collective. Duck has been arrested, and she doesn't feel like anyone is making any effort to clear him, even though he is obviously innocent. So she gets involved, rushing around following leads and tenuous connections, coming up with likely theories.
Tied in to all this is a mystery from the past. There's a WWII era ship that sunk off the coast of Nova Scotia, and it seems like it's cargo might be reappearing. Valerie comes across a parachute that is tangled up in all this mystery -- and through this, the history of WWII parachute packers is shared with the reader as well. The fascinating history of women's work in WWII (including parachute packing) colours the story and also turns out to be important in the contemporary side of the mystery.
I found this volume to be a little quicker moving than the first one, now that all the scene setting and character building from the first is complete. This mystery was also really tricky, with potential solutions that seemed to make perfect sense popping up in Valerie's theories -- although she had to alter her scenarios often. The characters are developed further, more relationships are fleshed out, and we get to see our favourites from the first book reappearing. And there is also a new cat to add to the friendly old dog in Valerie's life. Bits of sewing and textile talk pepper the book, as usual, with Valerie finding relief and distraction in her sewing classroom.
If you're a cozy mystery fan, and you like your stories to include real sewing you will enjoy this series. This one was the perfect blend for me, even if Valerie tends to act before she thinks...which keeps the story rolling! I also enjoyed the historical elements, and ended up looking up the blog post on parachute packers that the author referred to in the notes (which incidentally was written by another Canadian author!). So interesting! This is an enjoyable Canadian series that I'd suggest to any crafty cozy reader.