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Maggie Bruce (Editor): Murder Most Crafty

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Berkley Prime Crime (Hardcover), ISBN 0-425-20206-2

Sixteen authors, including Susan Wittig Albert, Jan Burke and Monica Ferris, contribute short stories to Murder Most Crafty, which combines foul play with crafty impulses. Cramming that many stories into a mere 330 pages leaves the tales pretty short on character development and action. Nonetheless, the stories make for entertaining bite-sized reads.

Book: Maggie Bruce (Editor): Murder Most Crafty
A few tales turn out as true mysteries, with a character doing a little sleuthing and solving, but some stories merely tell the tale of an unanticipated death at the hand of someone else. A few seem very out of place as they don't involve murder -- one story focuses on a streak of burglaries, while another features a potential teenage drug dealer.

Crafts feature prominently in all of the tales. Predictably, common crafts like knitting, sewing, basketweaving and candlemaking make their appearance. But some of the stories feature more unusual hobbies, such as gourd decorating, making paper by hand, fly-tying -- even kid stuff like lanyards and macaroni art. Each story begins with a brief background on the craft and wraps up with directions for doing the craft (though illustrations seem necessary for a few of the more difficult crafts).

A few tales ended with a twist and not terribly good ones, either. One apparently calculated murder turns out to be something else entirely. Unfortunately, the mystery's final revelation, obscure as it is, proves less compelling than the red herring.

Jen Foote

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