Crewel and Unusual

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

I really wanted to love this book. As a knitter I love reading Fibre related stories. Crewel and Unusual did not hit the spot for me. Story was very slow paced.
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Crewel and Unusual by Molly MacRae is a Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery and yes, there is a ghost, Geneva, who enjoyed scones and snark, and rarely, if ever, left the shop. There was also a cat, Argyle, who had come to the shop after a devil-may-care existence elsewhere, but loved it here now and was loved in return by the employees and customers, usually. Kath had inherited the Weaver's Cat from her grandmother who had started it years before with Kath's grandfather. They are part of a small town, Blue Plum, inhabited by relatives and friends alike, as well as some who could hardly be called friends and thankfully were not relatives. On the horizon was the opening of an art barn: The Blue Plum Valut, run by the Arts Council and full of booths of artisans of different types and styles. There is a murder and then connections arise between it and the death of Granny's friend, Gar, who had been found dead in his truck, odd at the time. 

This is an ensemble book with Kath as the leader, mostly.  There are a lot of characters and one would have to read all the books (this is the sixth) in the series to really put them in place. They have strengths and weaknesses as do all humans but they work together well. This is a decent mystery and solving it takes all the personalities. There is a lot of detail in the book about the town and the Blue Plum Vault and the people. It is enjoyable and fun to read. I recommend it. 

I received a free ARC of Crewel and Unusual in exchange for a fair and honest review. #netgalley   #crewelandunusual
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Crewel and Unusual is part of a series that I haven't read before.  Thankfully, I was able to jump into this book and be quickly pulled into the story regardless.  The main character, Kath, can see ghosts which was actually really cool and not scary at all.  I would say this kind of supernatural relationship is unusual and I appreciated the rarity.  Kath owns a yarn shop which is also something I have NEVER read from a story before.  It was refreshing and I appreciated the passion that she has for her trade.  I adore that she's a young person in what is considered an "old persons" hobby.  The description of the textiles she worked with were as rich as the fabric.  It made it easy to envision what she was seeing and feeling.  Kudos the the author, Molly MacRae, for those beautiful details!  I was able to listen to this story and stay focused as the story progressed.  The book was well-written and entertaining, but it didn't have me sitting on the edge of my seat like some mysteries.  I was able to listen to the entire thing while doing housework - it was never so intriguing that I felt the need to pick up the book and read as fast as possible to find out what happens.
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Another first in an established series for me, and this one features yarn shop owner Kath Rutledge and her live-in ghost, Geneva. A local bank is being transformed into a gallery for artists and small shop owners, and the murder of one of the shop owners draws Kath and her boyfriend Joe into solving the murder. I freely admit that I went in to the book with two chips on my reader's shoulder: I'm not fond of paranormal mysteries (and I didn't realize this was a paranormal until after I'd started it), and I really dislike it when the amateur detectives think they are smarter than the pros. In Chapter 9, Kath actually says "But I'd be willing to bet Coleridge smelled a rat. And if he plans to hunt it down, then we'll see if we can't catch it first, even if we ruffle a few feathers." Murder isn't a game, and when it's treated as such I tend to get my reading hackles up. But I did like Joe; in fact, I'd really like to have seen more of him and less of Geneva. Like the previous title, it's not a bad book, it's just not a good book. The plot is a little weak, the ghost aspect not appealing to all readers (and she's a bit of an annoying ghost to boot), but some of the secondary characters interesting.
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This was a quick, fun enough read, but slow paced at the beginning, and a bit convoluted at times. There's so much set-up that the murder doesn't happen until about halfway through the book. Now, this is the sixth in a series, and I haven't read the rest, so I'm sure I would have enjoyed all the set-up more had I read the other books, but without the back stories, I don't think I cared about the characters as much. There were so many red herrings it was hard to keep track of them all, even with the amateur sleuth group's notes. I really wanted to like this book more, but it just didn't do a lot for me. I did connect with Kath, the main character, over her love of textiles- the way the author wrote the feelings of wonder, awe, yearning for the objects of one's desire, was so real and touching, and I totally understand those feels!
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he sixth in an established series and although I haven't read a previous installment, I was drawn into this story quite easily. The characters were (mostly) well done - the TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Fibre) group were a bit light and I didn't get a really good feel for them as individuals, but they obviously have a solid friendship with Kath and it appears this isn't the first murder investigation for them.

The opening of the Blue Plum Vault artist co-op is highly anticipated in the town, as it will allow local artisans to showcase their works and visitors to interact - albeit it on an irregular schedule - with the artists. Kath, a textile restorationist, is pointed towards a tablecloth by the Spivey twins, and heads directly to the Vault to see the collecter, Belinda, and the item itself. It's even better than she can imagine, and she's devasted when, the day before the grand opening of the Vault, the tablecloth is found destroyed in Belinda's 'shop'. Belinda believes a woman called Nervie is responsible and makes no secret about it.

While the grand opening is a success, it is disturbed by the discovery of Belinda's body in a storage closet. Kath, apparently a chronic 'nosy Nancy' can't stay out of the investigation, especially as she more or less discovered the body, thanks to Geneva the ghost.

I enjoyed this despite coming into the series at the latest book. I liked the relationships between the characters, although I'm not sure if Kath and Joe are a 'thing' or a 'Thing' or where that's headed, really, as they don't seem to spend much time together despite obviously liking each other.

I'd definitely continue the series and am interested enough to go back and start at the beginning to see how Kath arrives in Blue Plum.
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Crewel and Unusual is a cozy mystery fans will enjoy. It's got fun engaging characters. The story is lively and twisty enough to keep you reading from beginning to end. It's an overall charming story. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Interesting but not compelling. I liked that the heroine was a refugee from the Illinois State Museum because I was very sad when it closed and stopped publishing its excellent magazine. I was also interested in the textiles. The ghost didn't add anything at all.
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Crewel and Unusual by Molly MacRae is the sixth A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery.  Kath Rutledge owns the Weaver’s Cat in Blue Plum, Tennessee.  Kath shares her office with Argyle, the shop cat and Geneva, a temperamental ghost.  The town is looking forward to the opening of the Blue Plum Vault which is housed in the old bank and houses small co-op shops.  The recently deceased Garland Brown spearheaded the project.  The Spivey twins stop by to tell Kath the rumors circulating around town that Nervie Bates embroidery patterns were not created by her.  They also suggest that Kath stop by the Vault to check out the vintage linens being sold by Belinda Moyer.  Kath visits Belinda’s shop, Belle’s Vintage & Antique Linens and falls in love with an Arts & Crafts tablecloth done with silk embroidery thread.  She is surprised by the animosity between Belinda and Nervie.  The next day, Kath is shocked when she gets a call from Joe that the beautiful tablecloth has been found in shreds.  Before Deputy Cole Dunbar can arrive, the shreds disappear.  All of Blue Plum turns out for the grand opening including Geneva.  Kath hears Geneva singing a dirge in a storage closet.  When the door is opened, they find Belinda face down with a pair of scissors in her back.  Geneva says she saw the killer, but her recollections leave a lot to be desired.  Kath and TGIF members along with Geneva establish their murder board and set out to unravel this perplexing mystery.  

Crewel and Unusual is the sixth delightful installment in the unique A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series.  If you have not read the previous books in the series, you will not be lost.  Everything a new reader needs to know is included.  Blue Plum is a cozy small town with charming shops and friendly residents.  Kath is slowly discovering her special gifts and how they work.  Geneva is a humorous addition to the story.  She is dramatic, moody and observant.  I especially enjoyed the interactions between Kath and Geneva.  I am glad that Ardis can now see Geneva as well.  I found Crewel and Unusual to be a slow starter as the author introduces the characters, town, shops, etc.  There are many descriptive details that help bring the story alive (visually).  The mystery has multiple suspects and misdirection to keep readers off the trail of the real killer.  If you pay careful attention, you will find the clues that will lead you to the guilty party.  It is a complicated mystery, and I appreciated how everything tied together in the end.  I am giving Crewel and Unusual 4 out of 5 stars.  I wish the pace had been peppier and that there had been a smoother flow.  I was happy to return to Blue Plum in Crewel and Unusual.  I look forward to further adventures with Kath and Geneva in A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series.
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie Dannheim

Molly MacRae is a gifted storyteller, successfully weaving an indoor and outdoor setting in picturesque Tennessee, a group of quirky crafters, and an intriguing, complex mystery. Kath, Geneva, and the gang at The Weaver’s Cat are back, better than ever! Sixth in the series, it can be read as a standalone, but many readers might decide to go back and read the rest of the series after enjoying this delightful, intriguing mystery. I for one will go back to the ones I haven’t read yet as they simply aren’t worth missing. Many of the fiber arts crafters consider themselves part of Kath’s Posse since helping her find a killer when she first arrives for Granny Ivy McClellan’s funeral several months prior. They are also part of the Thank Goodness it’s Fiber subgroup, Fast & Furious Friday, that makes caps for newborns at the local hospital.

It has been two weeks since Gar Brown was found murdered at a trailhead parking area, thought to be a victim of the smash and grab thieves vandalizing vehicles at hiking trailhead lots. Gar’s favorite project, the Blue Plum Vault, is about to open. Formerly the bank where he had started as a teller many years ago and eventually retired from, it has been repurposed as a craft co-op from where local artisans, crafters, and collectors sell their wares. Even Joe, brother of Deputy Cole Dunbar (aka “Clod”), is selling postcard-size watercolor paintings and hand-tied flies. Joe and Kath are seeing each other but have not yet given a name to what they might have.

Geneva, the despondent ghost is still at the Cat. Thankfully Ardis, the full-time manager of the shop, can now see and hear Geneva; they discovered a special link between the two. Geneva is an enthusiastic member of the posse. While she can’t go out and question people, she is great at listening in on conversations without being caught and has a “PhD” in the TV cop series from Andy Griffith to Law and Order and everything in between.

Before the grand opening, Granny’s cousins, the Spivey twins, stop to tell Kath about a fabulous, silk-embroidered antique table runner that Belinda Moyer is selling at the Vault. They claim to have told Belinda that with Kath’s training and experience (she is a highly-trained textile preservation specialist), she might be able to authenticate it. Kath went to see Belinda’s shop and was captivated by the table runner. Even more so was she taken with a gorgeous embroidered tablecloth that is museum quality. Nervie, another vendor, accused Belinda of selling cheap knockoffs made in other countries and, in the case of the tablecloth, claimed it was stolen. Whew!

The next day, Joe texted Kath that there was vandalism at the vault. Kath went to see Belinda and the beautiful, museum quality tablecloth that had been murdered, painstakingly and thoroughly cut up and shredded. Edges of some pieces were singed. Belinda accused Nervie of destroying it. Then on the day of the grand opening, it gets much, much worse. Geneva discovered Belinda, murdered in a storage room. The posse is back in business!

I really enjoy the characters, each of whom is drawn with insight and a touch of whimsy. These are folks who can laugh at themselves (and sometimes each other), are willing to help others when needed, and have unique talents used for the good of the community. Kath is supposed to have inherited Ivy’s ability to work magic through the special dye recipe journals she kept hidden. It’s fun to see how Geneva changes from one mystery to the next.

There is always something new to learn in one of Ms. MacRae’s mysteries. Other than crocheting, I am not familiar with the many fiber crafts, and I wasn’t aware there were many kinds of embroidery, including one with silk threads that looks like a painting. Who killed the tablecloth? It is a running theme since the shredded piece of art was discovered until its owner was murdered. Even the means of death was surprising, adding another twist to this multi-tiered novel. There are plot twists throughout, and the end brought multiple surprises, from the real bad guy (not someone I had considered) and various motives (could never have guessed them) to what really happened to the tablecloth. This intriguing, suspenseful, and witty mystery will delight readers who are new to the series and those returning to Blue Plum, Tennessee and I highly recommend it.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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This is the 6th book in the series, I hadn't read the others but it wasn't a problem.

There is a shop ghost so you do need to be on board with that but the characters are fun and the plot moves along nicely. There's humour in the book too. A good read and i'll be looking out for the previous books.
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Crewel And Unusual is the sixth book in the A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series.  I was very excited to hear that this interesting series a new publisher.

The residents of Blue Plum are excited that the Blue Plum Vault, formerly the town’s bank building will be having its Grand Opening soon.  The Blue Plum Arts Council has taken over the old bank building and has divided it up into sales space for art-related shops.  The shop owners are busy setting up spaces when an argument breaks out between two of the artists.  Nervie Bales accuses Belinda Moyer of having stolen items on display and likewise, Belinda alleges that Nervie has been stealing her embroidery designs.  Kath, a textile restorer and owner of The Weaver’s Cat visited The Vault and was see and touch the runner that Nervie thought was stolen.  Later in the day, Belinda has found the runner had been cut into strips.  But before Sheriff Dunbar can get and begin an investigation, the strips have disappeared.

The next day is to be a happy and filled day for the Grand Opening of The Vault, but it quickly turns to sad when Kath is walking by a storeroom and hears Geneva, her resident at The Weaver’s Cat sadly signing.  Kath quickly finds her beau, Joe Dunbar and uses his key for the storeroom.  Inside she finds Geneva huddled next to the lifeless body of Belinda.  Someone has stabbed her in the back with a pair of scissors that had apparently come from The Weaver’s Cat.

Kath, along with Geneva and the members of TGIF(Thank Goodness It’s Fiber), a knitting group at The Weaver’s Cat. Set off once again to learn who the killer is.

Another wonderfully written and well-plotted in this enjoyable series.  Most all the characters from previous books are back.  The Spivey sisters are back to pester Kath, they once again provide some good clues, but Kath still needs to take them with a grain of salt.  It’s also nice to have Geneva back being her humorous self.

An embroidered hankie pattern is also included with the book.

One doesn’t need to know embroidery or knitting to enjoy this series.

I will be watching for the next book in the series.
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I love books that have a craft element, as a craft blogger as well as a fiction reader this was right up my alley.

A haunted yarn shop and women fighting over embroidery patterns was so much fun.

I loved it.  Dead bodies and a beautiful tablecloth added to the drama.  These novels are a rare delight. I would love to this as a TV series I even have my own cast of people to play the characters. 

Superbly told, far fetched but absolutely wonderful I can highly recommend these reads and so often do.
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This review will be posted on my blog Foxes and Fairytales ( on Dec 30 2019.

I was devastated when I reached the fifth and final book in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series. It's one of my all-time top (and absolute favourite mystery) series and the perfect cozy read.

However, great news! After a change of publisher, the series is back!

The sixth book Crewel and Unusual is another great instalment. It's a perfect place to start the series if you haven't read it before as MacRae make sure to catch you up with all the relevant details as we go. At the same time, for returning readers, it doesn't feel like a huge infodump and smoothly continues the series along from the last book.

I loved the addition of the Vault arts-and-craft space to the little town of Blue Plum. It lets us meet a whole new set of town residents and sets the perfect scene for murder with plenty of suspects and motives.

As always with these books, I live for the characters.

Kath, Ardis and the whole crew of TGIF knitting sleuths are back and as charming as ever. I love the subtle romance between Kath and Joe, the comfortable, old-friends dynamic amongst the team and their animosity-turned-grudging-respect with Deputy Dunbar. I also really liked how crucial the shop's resident ghost--Geneva--was to the plot this time around.

I absolutely loved Crewel and Unusual and it lived up to all my expectations.  This is a brilliant series to try if you like cozy mysteries and amateur sleuths --combining baking, crafts and just a touch of paranormal--and this instalment would be a good place for new readers to start.

I love this book, and the whole series. I really hope MacRae is able to carry on writing it for a very long time and I highly recommend picking it up.
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I didn’t realize how long it’s been since the last Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery was released, it was nice to revisit Weaver’s Cat and the TGIF group. This time resident ghost Geneva finds a dead body at the Blue Plum Vault - a co-op of small shops. Kath and the TGIF gang are determined to figure out who did it, even if “Clod” doesn’t want them to help. Fun read and I hope there are more in the series in the future!

This review is based on an ARC from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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This is the 6th book in the beloved "Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery" series by Molly MacRae.  i have read the entire series and find it very endearing .  Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my personal review. 

In this 6th installment our protagonist  Kath Rutledge is looking forward to the opening of a small group of shops in town. Much excitement is generated by the locals and by her knitting group (TGIF) Thank Goodness Its Fiber group that meets at her shop.    Kath soon is involved in a murder at one of the shops and begins to investigate.  Geneva the ghost that lives in Kath's shop tells Kath she has witnessed the murder.  Kath cannot share this information because as a ghost Geneva is a unreliable witness.  Kath must go to great lengths to prove who the murdered is and soon she has put herself at risk .  Soon Kath ask the TGIF knitting ladies to help her investigate and put the clues together when she is in over her head. As the suspects and clues come together the ladies and Kath find murder is never easy to solve. 
I like the well crafted sleuth and the likable charcters of this series. Returning to the TGIF ladies is always a delightful read. The author has a pleasing writing style that keeps you reading and unable to guess the ending. This is a very enjoyable cozy series and i look forward to the next in series.  The knitting group are people you would want to be friends with and very supportive of each other and of Kath. i enjoy reading about their escapes solving murders together in each and every installment. The ghost is the perfect accompaniment to the series and adds humor and a bit of the paranormal in a most pleasing way.    A very well done enjoyable cozy read indeed.
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I enjoyed this book ,but not having read any of Molly MacRae previous book of this series I found I couldn’t keep up with who’s who, I do need to start at the beginning to relate to the characters in this book, but that is my choice and no fault 
 of this book
Overall I really like the theme of the story especially having a ghost called Geneva involved .
Looking forward in reading more of this series.
Many thanks for giving me a chance to read and review this book .
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Kath Rutledge owns a yarn shop, the Weaver’s Cat that she inherited from her grandmother. Before becoming a shop owner, Kath worked restoring vintage tapestries, etc. for a museum. There’s a new business in town, the Blue Plum Vault, that houses a co-op of small shops, two of which will be competitors of the Weaver’s Cat. Before the Vault can open, however, someone cuts an antique tablecloth that Kath has lusted after into shreds. Belinda, who owned the tablecloth, accuses fellow Vault shopkeeper Nervie of destroying the tablecloth. Nervie, however, has an airtight alibi – she was teaching a class at the Weaver’s Cat. When Kath studies the tablecloth she notices singe marks. The local sheriff is out of his league in this investigation and does not consider asking Kath for her expert opinion. Of course, Kath feels obligated to investigate. During the grand opening of the Vault, a murder takes place using scissors from Kath’s shop. 

This is a well written fun cozy that includes a cast of interesting characters, including Geneva a ghost who is depressed, but may be a witness to the murder. McCrae moves the story along at a sprightly pace that doesn’t get bogged down. This the latest book in a series featuring Kath and Geneva, but you do not need to have read the others in the series to thoroughly enjoy this entry.

If you like your cozy mysteries with an unique setting and a ghost as a character, this is the book for you.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  The Blue Plum Vault sounds like a fabulous place to visit with all sorts of artisans and one of a kind shops.  Sadly its grand opening is darkened by the murder of one of its members.  She has had some rip-roaring altercations with a number of locals but is that any reason to kill her?  Kath is involved because the victim has a very rare and special tablecloth that has Kath drooling.  Then it is Kath who finds the body hidden in a locked storage room.
Kath finds the body when the ghost who haunts her is wailing behind the closed door.  The ghost, Geneva, has become obsessed with tv cop shows and thinks she and Kath need to find the killer.  There are a lot of moving parts in this story, perhaps a tad too many for me.  There were times when I had to backtrack or forge ahead to keep the story straight.  It is a shame because I liked the basic story and I like the interaction between Kath and Geneva.  Once all the loose pieces were tied up it was a satisfying read but the confusion in the middle makes me give it a bit lower rating than I might have done on the pure story alone.
I give it four purrs and one paw up.
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I started this book but I just could not get into it.. it is slow paced and its not what I thought that it would be. not saying that I might not finish it but as of today I am going to put it to the side for now. I have read this author before with no issues but this one just wasn't for me.
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