Saturday, September 19, 2015

Deftly Stitched Mystery: GONE BUT KNOT FORGOTTEN, Mary Marks

Stepping way beyond what its cover promises, GONE BUT KNOT FORGOTTEN is a well-plotted traditional mystery with clever twists and a smart amateur sleuth. This third in the "Quilting Mysteries" by Mary Marks is part of Kensington's spread of cozy themed investigations. And Martha Rose -- that is, Martha Rivka Rose, a form she never uses but that arrives on a legal envelope in the morning mail -- is a midlife Californian with fibromyalgia (she treats it with yoga) and an important circle of eccentric but devoted friends.

That legal envelope holds the unexpected announcement that Martha's been named executor of an estate. It belongs to her best friend from high school, Harriet, someone she reconnected with at their tenth reunion -- but now, they've been long out of touch. What tragedy resulted in Harriet's death at age 59? And why on earth would she name such a distant friend as Martha to deal with her estate?

And it's only getting worse by the minute, on the phone with the lawyer, who says, "There's no delicate way to say this, Ms. Rose. We discovered Mrs. Oliver's body in her home about three weeks ago. The coroner estimated she'd been dead for at least ten months."

Of course, Martha's motivated to get to the bottom of all this, especially as she begins to suspect her friend's death wasn't an accident. A valuable historic quilt, one maybe even involving stitches by Betsy Ross -- famous flag-maker of the American Revolution -- is missing, along with other treasures from the curiously sad home and collections that Martha's got to have appraised and sell for charity. Martha and her quilting pals Lucy and Birdie grasp the importance of the fabric item right away.

Luckily, Birdie and Lucy insist on being Martha's backup, because a killer who's already done away with one woman won't stop at the next -- and Martha's curiosity and persistence put her into the path of potential murder.
Author Mary Marks

The cute ideas behind the book become unusual details for a neatly paced and plotted, satisfying traditional "amateur sleuth" mystery. Good pacing and neatly placed clues bind all the pieces together. A perfect mystery for relaxing, unwinding, and taking some time off, without having to check the locks on the doors!

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