Running the James & Co. Antique Emporium is a full-time job. Restocking inventory, giving appraisals, bookkeeping, and banking keep me more than busy. I have help, of course. But my right-hand gal, Lindy, drives me crazy with her pink hair (this week), vintage outfits (borrowed right off the racks) and weird-words-of-the-day. I think people drop by just to study her, even with all manner of ancient treasure peeking out from glass cases and stuffed onto shelves. Old stuff gives me a thrill.
Which reminds me, I’m supposed to look after Gram this afternoon. My little British War Bride grandma is something of a bumbling joy, with her big hats worn in deference to the Queen Mother. Oh, dear. I’ll probably have to take her with me. You see, I’ve just been hired (without pay) to do a little detecting for the town’s matriarch, Mary-Alice Wentworth. Not that I’m a real detective, but Mary-Alice thinks I might be able to identify who knocked her out last night – in her own home!
Am I jumping ahead? Here’s what happened: as the co-chair for our town’s first annual quilt show, I organized a kick-off soirée at Mary-Alice’s stately Wentworth mansion. But before we even got into the program, there came a scream from upstairs. I rushed to her bedroom and found our dear hostess out cold, bopped on the head by person unknown. My party scene became a crime scene all tied up with yellow caution tape. And the added entertainment? Police interviews all around.
As usual, I got myself into trouble by evading Officer Brewster’s questions. He unnerves me with his penetrating blue eyes. I cannot look away. Or be cool. Though I do try.
So now, the quilt show week has started off badly and my dear friend, Mary-Alice, is in the hospital, counting on me to find her attacker. This needs to be solved right away before the out-of-town newspapers pick up the story. Who will travel to our charming, historic, bitty city for the quilt show if little old ladies are getting knocked out for no reason? The town council has put a great deal of money and man-power (mostly woman-power) into a successful event to rev up our economy and make Larkindale a tourist stop all year around.
I’m flattered that Mary-Alice has confidence in me, but I really don’t have the time. Our Quilt-Without-Guilt-Guild is in disarray as the big day approaches. Some of the pressing problems could be passed to my quilting co-chair, Prudy. But these days, she seems to be a no-show for the quilt show. Plus, my best friend, Renée, back from her long European honeymoon, treats me like an annoyance in every way. When I try to be extra sweet, she’s extra snarky. What’s going on? I’ve always counted on Renée. We’re a team. Or we were a team.
Do I sound bitter? If so, pardon me. I’m just rushed. After all, the quilt show is looming. And Mary-Alice could still be in danger. I better grab Gram and get busy. Maybe she can help me solve this mystery. (Kidding.) I hope she wears a small hat for once so she fits into my Jeep.
Wait. I think Gram told me she’d assembled a cracking, new spy kit for us to use. Oh, no.
Read more about Thea James in A Stitch in Crime, released in January 2015, a Quilts of Love book published by Abingdon Press.
ABOUT A Stitch in Crime
Thea James thought working as co-chair for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza would be a natural extension of her antique business. But while organizing the busy week’s premiere events would make anyone frayed, she doesn’t expect a complete unraveling!
At the opening soirée, local matriarch Mary-Alice Wentworth is knocked unconscious and robbed of her diamond brooch. Soon a rare quilt—the main attraction and a rumored key to great riches—goes missing. Those who signed up to help Thea are strangely no help at all. What more could possibly happen?
Amid a cast of colorful characters and a tight schedule of garden galas, tea parties, and televised socials, everything is falling apart at the seams – and nothing is quite what it seems. Can Thea sew everything back together?
“…Fans of inspirational fiction will enjoy the funny, feel-good whodunit.”
Publishers Weekly Review – November 7, 2014
“…There is mystery and laughter, and Elliott’s characters are strong, confident and determined to make their mark….Fans will want to add this gem to their keeper shelf.” RT 4-Star Review November 12, 2014
# # # # # # # # # # #
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 27 for your chance to win a print copy of A STITCH IN CRIME. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!
Meet the author
Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer in northern California whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from quilting and antique collecting to playing her fiddle with friends. She also leads music at church and cherishes time with her grandgems. Cathy’s other plot-twisting works include Medals in the Attic and A Vase of Mistaken Identity.