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Authors: Janet Bolin

Threaded for Trouble

BOOK: Threaded for Trouble
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PRAISE FOR

Dire Threads

“Newcomer Janet Bolin embroiders a lovely tale of Willow Vanderling, her pooches, and her shop, In Stitches, in charming Elderberry Bay, Pennsylvania.
Dire Threads
will have you saying Tally-Ho and Sally-Forth as you venture back to Threadville again and again.”

—Lorna Barrett,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries

“A wonderful debut, embroidered seamlessly with clues, red herrings, and rich detail. And though the mystery will keep you guessing until it’s sewn up, Willow and her friends will leave you in stitches.”

—Avery Aames, author of the Cheese Shop Mysteries

“A deftly woven tale embroidered with crafty characters who will leave you in stitches!”

—Krista Davis, author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries

“What a great start to a new series. Janet Bolin has stitched together a colorful cast of characters and wound them up in a murder. The cop car alone is worth the read. Lots of fun and machine embroidery, too.”

—Betty Hechtman, national bestselling author of the Crochet Mysteries

“Quirky characters, charming town, and appealing sleuth are all beautifully stitched together in this entertaining first mystery.”

—Mary Jane Maffini, author of the Charlotte Adams Mysteries

Berkley Prime Crime titles by Janet Bolin

DIRE THREADS

THREADED FOR TROUBLE

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

THREADED FOR TROUBLE

A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / June 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Janet Bolin.

Cover illustration by Robin Moline.

Cover design by Annette Fiore Defex.

Interior text design by Tiffany Estreicher.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58095-0

BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

To volunteer firefighters—past, present, and future

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Welcome to Threadville!

And thanks to Lorna Barrett, who coined the slogan.

Thanks also to mystery aficionados Jan and Bill Mustard, who served the meal and the wine that night (and others) and also helped brainstorm the original proposal. And Bill suggested a “killer” sewing machine…

As always, my incredible critique partners, Krista Davis and Avery Aames, helped hone and tweak this manuscript. What’s it been now, eleven years that we’ve critiqued each other? You two deserve special badges for putting up with me this long! In addition, Avery got me thinking about the embroidery project at the back of the book.

My editor, Faith Black, amazes me with the magical way she knows what needs to be fixed and turns a manuscript into a book.

And my agent, Jessica Faust of BookEnds, is always there for me.

A lot of credit goes to my cover artist, Robin Moline, for painting scenes that make me want to walk into them. In her case, a picture is worth eighty thousand words. Thanks to Annette Fiore Defex, who is responsible for the great
cover design, and Tiffany Estreicher, who designed the interior text.

Thanks to Joyce of Joyce’s Sewing Shop in Wortley Village, Ontario, for the first tip at the end of the book.

I appreciate the camaraderie of the Sisters in Crime, especially the Guppies and Toronto chapters. And thank you to Crime Writers of Canada—more camaraderie from very helpful people.

As always, my family and friends have cheered me on.

Last but not least, thanks to everyone who read
Dire Threads
and is returning to see what Willow and her friends are up to now. And to new readers, too.

Welcome to Threadville!

Table of Contents

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1

F
IRST, FELICITY BANISHED MY DOGS.

Naturally, I objected. “When In Stitches is open, Sally-Forth and Tally-Ho always stay in their pen.” They could wag their plumelike tails at shoppers or trot downstairs to the apartment whenever they wanted a nap, snack, or drink.

Felicity glanced at my name tag, embroidered in willowy green script on white. “Willow—” She scrunched up her nose as if my name smelled. “Our guests may have allergies.”

Most of
our
guests would be
my
usual customers, ladies who came on the Threadville tour bus four days a week to shop and take classes in all of the crafty stores. Threadville tourists loved my dogs and had never complained about allergies.

However, Felicity was my guest—sort of—and I would have to put up with her only during the first part of the morning. Hiding my annoyance, I gave in and herded my two active dogs, a brother and sister, one of whose parents must have been a border collie, into the stairway to the apartment and closed the door.

That’s when the real reason for their banishment became clear. Felicity informed me that their vacant pen would be a perfect stage for our speeches.

Speeches? True, I had memorized a short one about how happy I was that someone from this corner of Pennsylvania—not that I’d ever met her—had won a top-of-the-line sewing and embroidery machine in a national contest. I supposed Felicity might want to say a few words as she presented the carton to the winner.

But no. Felicity was not handing over a
carton
. “Why is our Chandler Champion not yet unpacked?” she demanded. “Did you not test it as instructed?”

I attempted a smile, but my teeth clenched together, which could not have looked either friendly or professional. “We checked it thoroughly. It works well. It’s a great machine. I got up early and packed it—”

“No, no, no, no, no!” Felicity didn’t really need to say no that many times. I caught the gist before the second one. “It must be seen and admired. We do want to sell more of them, don’t we.” It was a command, not a question.

I gestured to the row of sewing machines behind me, which included a Chandler Champion exactly like the one in the carton, and two other, more modest Chandler models.

Felicity gasped. Actually, it was more like a shriek. “We must, simply must, hide all of your machines except the Chandlers.
Before
our audience arrives. We wouldn’t want them looking at Chandler’s competitors, would we.” Another command.

But not one I was about to take. “They’ll want to compare,” I pointed out, “feature for feature.”

She folded her arms and tapped the toe of one scuffed brown shoe against my shop’s beautiful walnut floor. “And price for price. Okay, they can stay. Our business plan at Chandler is to make the best machines for the best price.” Yes, it was also their motto, printed in huge red letters on the white plastic banner she’d had me string above my display of natural fabrics. Call me snooty, but if I had been in
charge of making that banner, I would have used my machines to embroider it. On canvas or ripstop nylon.

She marched toward the front of the store. “Let’s bring that small table…” She shoved aside my two cute bistro chairs, then lugged my round metal table, complete with the tablecloth I’d embroidered, toward the back of the store. She was careful not to clank against the Chandlers, but I had to steer the table’s legs past the other sewing machines and racks of dazzling embroidery threads.

She banged the table down in the middle of the dog pen, wadded up my tablecloth, and thrust it in my direction. “Get rid of that. Those aren’t Chandler motifs.”

I had designed those autumn leaves myself, using photos I’d taken and software from another manufacturer, one of my favorites. “Is Chandler planning to produce digitizing software?” Best software at the best price? That would be good.

BOOK: Threaded for Trouble
6.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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