Wait's new series, the "Mainely Needlepoint Mysteries," leaps into fresh terrain with Angela Curtis, Angie to her friends, "Angel" to her grandmother. An experienced assistant in private investigation from her work out West (it takes a lot of energy to leave Maine behind, but Angie's got it!), she's back in Maine at "Harbor Haven" because her mother's been found.
If only that were good news ... Throughout her teen years and then her work life out in Arizona, Angie's believed her mother walked out of single parenting, abandoning the role for something more romantic somewhere else. But the quickly revealed truth is, her mom's been dead all this time, and the body is still in Haven Harbor.
With her camera and interview and analysis skills, Angie might find threads unraveling that lead her to what happened to her mother, and why. But the distractions around her include threats to her grandmother's needlepoint business and co-workers and friends, plus possible fraud, and even more personal risk than Angie's ever handled.
Still, Gram has handled a lot, some of it while Angie was still too young to pay attention, and her advice boosts Angie along in Down East Maine style:
For the first time in my life, I saw the wisdom in Gram's insisting I wear a hat.From the lively dialogue to the quick twists and suspense, and to Angie's own skills in pulling apart the pattern of the crime(s), this is fresh exciting writing. I think Lea Wait's taken the "amateur sleuth" aspect right to the edge, using Angie's training as a boost into more aggressive pursuit than most cozies can boast. And the pace and vividness show that this Maine author had come into her own, with a series that promises excitement, adventure -- and some insight into the heart of a very smart and savvy young woman.
"Don't look 'em in the eye," she was advising. "Walk fast, keep walking 'til you get in the car. Don't look out the car window. Scrunch down. Me, they've already seen, but you're a novelty around these parts. Pete Lambert from the police department is out there. He'll make sure we get out the drive."
I looked at her with increasing respect. "You've done this before."
"First time was when your mother disappeared. But it wasn't as bad in those days, and I managed to keep you away from most of it. But ever since Lauren found that body, those TV folks have been all over the place. They want us to be crying or screaming or doin' something else dramatic for them." She shook her head. "Harrumph. We're civilized folks. We're not putting on that kind of show here in Haven Harbor."
Way to go, Lea! And a tip of the hat to publisher Kensington Books for bringing out this fresh and intriguing series.