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Blackwork (A Needlecraft Mystery #13)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  726 ratings  ·  74 reviews
As full-time owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, Betsy Devonshire has unraveled more than a few lies. There's a witch in the town of Excelsior, Minnesota, and her brew is . . . beer. Actually Leona Cunningham, co-owner of The Barleywine, is a practitioner of Wicca. But when a local alcohol aficionado accuses her of being a real witch and ends up ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 325 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Thorndike Press (first published September 3rd 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,236)
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Kathleen Hagen
Blackwork, by Monica Ferris, B-plus, Narrated by Susan Boyce, produced by Audiotogo, downloaded from

I like these cozy mysteries about Betsy Devonshire, the owner of Crewel World, a needlecraft store in a Minneapolis suburb. I love the recurring characters, including her gay assistant manager. But you have to take these stories with a large letting go of reality. That a local police force, even one as small as the one in this town, would let an amateur busybody woman collect evidence
It may be time to wind up this series, as Ferris is turning a slightly worse mystery in every time now. The characters are now glossed over, the mystery isn't great, the reader figures out the murder method 60 pages before anyone else. And what's more, egregious copy errors. The story is about a woman who owns a shop that sells yarn, people. Therefore, they shoudl get it sorrect - fingering is a weight of yarn, FINGERLING is a potato!
Once again I've jumped around in a series instead of reading through as written. I started with book 2 last year and have gone straight to book 13. One of the reasons I like listening to this series is that it doesn't take much concentration and I can easily continue doing other things without being distracted. These books are light and easy, nothing gory happens , the bad guys are caught and punished the good guys live to fight another day. I like the narrators voice, it suits the story very we ...more
Dharia Scarab
This was the last book from this author that was sitting on my shelf, so I gave it a read.

Definitely better than the other two books I read from this author. The murderer wasn't nearly as obvious this time, but I still won't be reading anymore from this series.

Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the
Being a dedicated Wiccan in small-town Minnesota is no picnic, as local restauranteur and beer brewer Leona learns when someone who threatens her turns up dead, with no discernable cause. Leona asks Betsy Devonshire, owner of the local needlepoint shop and long-time amateur detective, to solve the murder before Leona's business goes bust. Meanwhile, Betsy is trying to run her shop, help out with the local Halloween parade (a major production for a small parade), and keep up with her friends and ...more
Another light, fun, 'cozie' that I polished off in a couple of days. This one was stronger than the previous installment, with a bit more character development and background building. It moves along quickly, with all of the series favorite characters making at least one appearance and introducing a couple new faces.

I liked how this one played around Halloween, incorporating a bit of Wiccanism, a fair amount of brewing information, and a Halloween parade. Now that is kinda cool!

My main complai
I loved Monica Ferris' Blackwork. I picked it to read because of its Halloween theme. As I rely on giveaways for cozies I very rarely get to read one that comes after a previous one that I have read. This time I was already familiar with Betsy Devonshire and Godwin her store assistant. I loved getting back with old friends. Godwin has a new boyfriend so he wants Betsy’s opinion of him. Betsy has her hands full with her store and the annual Fall Festival with a Halloween theme.

There is a murder
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It's Halloween-and Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, is haunted by murder...

In the town of Excelsior, Minnesota, Leona Cunningham, owner of a popular microbrewery, is a practitioner of Wicca, the nature-based religion often mistaken for black magic. But that doesn't bother the thirsty crowds. Then, after one too many pints, a local blames Leona for the series of "accidents" that have happened throughout town. When he ends up dead without a mark on
This is another installment in the series featuring Betsy Devonshire, the owner of Crewel World, a needlework store in Excelsior, Minnesota, and local amateur sleuth. In this story, a local resident who has always been a mean drunk is found dead in his rented room, shortly after accusing a local resident, who is a follower of the Wiccan religion, of casting a spell on him to harm him.

As usual, Betsy uncovers some suspicious things about various residents of the small town, and tries her best to
Scarlett Sims
This is a light-hearted, somewhat formulaic cozy mystery set in a needlework shop. I've read all of the books in this series at this point and one of the things I like about them is that they make me kind of excited about getting back into some of my craft projects. I kinda wish I had a needlework store where I could just hang out and work on projects, or at least one that offered interesting classes (read: NOT KNITTING!!!). I guessed who the killer was pretty early on, but the way s(he) did it ...more
Elizabeth Kennedy
This is the Halloween edition of the stitching shop series. It is a cute, light mystery with all of our favorite characters. Loved the Halloween parade and learning what black work actually is!
Heather Wilmoth
This Halloween, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, is haunted by murder. After one too many pints, a local blames bar owner and Wicca practitioner Leona Cunningham for a series of "accidents" that have happened throughout town. When he ends up dead without a mark on his body, Leona's the main suspect. But Betsy being on the case spells trouble for the killer.
This is such a good book I love myst
Almost 4 stars. This is vintage Betsy Devonshire. You have to go back more than 5 books to find one as strong and together as this one. Blackwork works. Plot wise, character wise (Betsy is the lead character again finally), Goodwin is there in support and the colourful friends of the needle shop are all there in character and not chewing scenery. Most of all, the needlework is an integral part of the mystery/story. It's not used as infodump section. It's fun, it's interesting and it's smart. Thi ...more
Betsy Devonshire owns the needlework shop Crewel World. When Ryan McMurphy is found dead in a lock room, Betsy is asked to investigate. Everyone is pretty sure the town Wiccan Leona Cunningham owner of The Barleywine home brew pub is the killer. The reader it right there as Betsy interviews the suspects and gathers information. It will have you going "of course" when the murder is solved. The center of the story is the needlecraft shop and clientele. The end of the book features a pattern I know ...more
This was a good story. It kept me guessing who done it, until the very end. I thought it was pretty east to figure out the method of the murder. Too many hints were dropped. But I didn't figure out who the murderer was.

There was a little too much talk of planning the Halloween parade throughout the book. Not enough needlework for my fast. I wanted to know more about blackwork, since I had never heard of it before. A possible love interest for Betsy is introduced at the end of the book. It will b
Good one, beer and witchcraft. Halloween parade.
Eh, meh. Not bad, not great. Picked it up from a cruise ship library to read on the last when I finshed the books I brought early. It fit the bill of being a quick, relatively mindless read. Don't expect high suspense or intricate plot points. Plus, there seems to be plenty of extraneous filler. Maybe if I was following the series I'd be interested in the character development that doesn't relate to the mystery, but as is, I found it distracting. The solution was moderately interesting, although ...more
Monica Ferris is always good for a light read. I did figure out how the murder was committed by page 100, but I didn't guess whodunnit -- partly because the guilty party's motive seemed ... out of date.
However, I did really enjoy that the book featured a Wiccan, faced up to the prejudices that abound, and pointed out the ways in which those prejudices are generally unfounded. It's good to see a Wiccan who is neither the heroine nor the villain -- but just a person in the story.
A man mysteriously dies without a mark on him and Leona Cunningham, a local brewmeister and practicing Wiccan, is the gossip's front-runner for a murderer. But Betsy Devonshire knows that Wicca is a form of worship, not a black arts, voodoo-y sort of deal. She's determined to find out not only who is spreading the rumors (even before Ryan McMurphy is declared to be a victim of murder) but who actually killed Ryan. All this while planning the parade for the fall festival.
This was an enjoyable cozy mystery with a fun theme. I am a needle-worker so I enjoyed reading about a needlework shop owner. The mystery was okay. I thought the motive was rather dumb, but I guess there isn't any really good motive for murder if you think about it. The methodology was interesting and I enjoyed reading about the cast of characters. I will definitely continue the series, or in my case, go back and read book one.
Interesting, as usual. There were several things that made me go "hmmm, what?" such as renting an apartment in her building without knowing more about the prospective tenant. And the fall festival planning seemed as though it were shoehorned into the plot just to provide local color (and a few minor clue opportunities). I still enjoy the town and its people, and I enjoy learning about needlework of all kinds.
Judy Gehman
A bit of fluff. Fun read. Thirteen in Ferris' needlecraft mysteries. A cozy mystery. The death in this story is a young man, beloved by all when sober, but obnoxious when drunk. The autopsy shows that he died of natural causes. But....amateur sleuth Betsy Devonshire suspects otherwise. As a stitcher, this series is fun for me to read. Thai Die was the best so far, I think
A mysterious death in a locked room turns out to be murder--and everyone suspects the local practitioner of Wicca, Leona, who had crossed swords with the murdered man. Betsy Devonshire, who hears most of the gossip at her needlework shop, is sure that the town of Excelsior is too modern to believe in witchcraft--but a lot of her neighbors aren't so sure.
One of the great things about cozies is character development. I don't feel like I'm getting to know Betsy any better in the last few mysteries. I did enjoy the details about Wicca and thought it was a great premise but it was hard to really care about what was happening because of the lack of empathy with the characters.
I want to give this an additional star because the book includes an actual needlework pattern in it. But I just can't bring myself to do it.

It's cute, and I like it because it centers around a needlework shop, but the only reason I finished it is because it's a mystery, and I wanted to find out whodunit.
Started: April 3, 2010
Finished: April 4, 2010

Book #21 for the 2010 52 Books in 52 Week Ravelry Challenge.

This was a nice quick read after reading 'Skin Trade' by Laurell K. Hamilton. I enjoy reading Monica Ferris' books. I consider them a light read after reading something that is very intense.
This was better than the last book in the series although it was difficult to follow just where the mystery was headed. The "murder" weapon was very ingenious though the clues were really obvious after the murderer was revealed. Tantalizing new character for the next book appeared.
Taking place in October, Betsy and her pals from Crewel World are busy planning a Halloween parade when a "locked room" mystery straight out of Encylopedia Brown takes place. This 13th outing seemed a little stale, but as always, the local setting made up for a sub par plot.
A delightful Crewel World book. I was leery of the Halloween theme; but I shouldn't have worried. Monica Ferris would be heavy handed like Janet Evanovich was. Witchcraft, blackwork needlework and a new tenant at Betsy's made the sleuthing even more interesting.
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Has published as
Mary Monica Pulver (real name)
Mary Kuhfeld
Margaret Frazer (with Gail Frazer)

[from the author's own website)

Mary Monica Pulver (her maiden name) is an incidental Hoosier — Terre Haute, Indiana, had the hospital closest to her parents’ home in Marshall, Illinois. She spent the later part of her childhood and early adult life in Wisconsin, graduating from high school in Milwaukee.

More about Monica Ferris...
Crewel World (A Needlecraft Mystery, #1) A Stitch in Time (A Needlecraft Mystery, #3) Framed in Lace (A Needlecraft Mystery, #2) Sins and Needles (A Needlecraft Mystery, #10) Unraveled Sleeve (A Needlecraft Mystery, #4)

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