Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig is the first book in the new “Southern Quilting” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, June 2012

Retired folk art curator Beatrice Coleman knows everything there is to know about quilts, except how to make them. But with her recent move to Dappled Hills, North Carolina, she’s learning all sorts of new things—including how to solve a murder.

As the newest member of the Village Quilters guild, Beatrice has a lot of gossip to catch up on—especially with the Patchwork Cottage quilt shop about to close. It seems that Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate, wants to raise the rent, despite being a quilter herself.

But when Judith is found dead, the harmless gossip becomes an intricate patchwork of mischievous motives. And it’s up to Beatrice’s expert eye to decipher the pattern and catch the killer, before her life gets sewn up for good.

A move to a small town greets Beatrice, a recent retiree, with a highly-spirited neighbor who quickly kidnaps takes her to the local quilter’s meeting where it ends on a bad note for one of the members. When that member is found dead, Beatrice begins an investigation to save the new town she now calls home.

I adore this book. This was a good mystery that had me following the clues along with Beatrice in this fast-moving whodunit. The author did a good job in delivering a well-designed mystery filled with plenty of suspects that quickly became a page turner as I had to know who did what to whom. With an intriguing storyline, likeable characters and entertaining dialogue, this is a great beginning to a wonderfully crafted series and I can’t wait for the next book. A bonus of quilting tips, one of which I didn’t know about, and recipes are also included.

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