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Blackwork (A Needlecraft Mystery #13)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,042 Ratings  ·  99 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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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
Oct 22, 2009 Zoe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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!
Joy Gerbode
Sep 26, 2016 Joy Gerbode rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this needlecraft mystery because I identified with several of the characters. I did not, however, know anything about blackwork, a particular type of needlework. I did enjoy the interaction of the characters in this book, and appreciated that the protagonist did not actually put herself in specific danger to help solve this mystery.
Jan 29, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
This is the 13th book in the Needlecraft mystery series. In this Halloween themed book, Betsy is on the committee for the fall festival. At one of the interminable planning meetings at a local restaurant/bar, there is an altercation between Ryan and one of the bar owners, Leona, who happens to be a Wiccan. Ryan has been staying as a guest of Betsy’s employee Shelly and Shelly’s boyfriend in her stitching studio. When Ryan turns up dead in a locked room scenario, Leona asks Betsy to find out the ...more
Gail Richmond
Oct 23, 2016 Gail Richmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Monica Ferris' protagonist Betsy Devonshire is drawn into a murder investigation because of her success in other inquiries of a similar nature. This particular tale focuses heavily on Betsy's sleuthing and much less on the needlecraft world than earlier books in the series. Several unattached story threads are introduced--- Godwin's new romance and Betsy's new tenant are two--so these will provide an entree into new plot lines in future books in the series.

Quick, enjoyable cozy mystery read.
Oct 15, 2016 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
When there is a murder in the small town of Excelsior, Minnesota during the Halloween season, the local residents rush to blame their local Wiccan and microbrewery owner, Leona Cunningham. However, needwork store owner, Betsy Devonshire, is convinced that her friend is innocent. As the suspicions against Leona escalate, Betsy rushes to discover the identity of the true culprit.

When I began this book, I didn't really know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised. I really liked the story.
Not her best work. Weak plot and motive.
Sep 21, 2016 M.l.d. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good mystery. Kudos to having a gay supporting character, but I have to chuckle at how the character doesn't have a "boyfriend" or a "romance" or a "crush". Instead, he has "dear friends".
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, reading-2016
This is about the quickest that I've read one of this series for quite a while. The story just pulled me along and I found myself wondering when Betsy would finally find the clue that would allow her to solve the murder.

Things I loved about this book: Jill was back among the cast! She is probably my favorite character in the series, so any time she puts in an appearance, I'm happy. This time, she was actually almost her old helpful self, rather than simply showing up to be the mother of a cute c
Sep 14, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book involves both needlework, Wiccans and beer making. Fascinating.
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
Nov 13, 2013 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Sep 29, 2013 Kristin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Mar 24, 2010 Bridget rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
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
Feb 12, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, hardback
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
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
Jun 30, 2015 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started listening to this series via audiobook because I like cross stitching and knitting. Every time I listen to a new book , I claim it will be the last yet I keep coming back. Why does everybody just assume that Betsy will go "sleuthing" and are upset when she doesn't solve the murder quickly or wants to give up? Ten books so far and it is all so predictable. I do enjoy the characters and maybe I should just read the books if I continue . At least I might get some sort of needlework patter ...more
Dec 19, 2013 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 23, 2015 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seasonal-reads
I found this book pretty slow, but I read it. I do like that the author is very descriptive so you can really picture the characters, clothes and their hobbies. The story centers on the death of a local drunk and Betsey the owner of Crewel World stitchery shop is the town's amateur sleuth. At first all fingers are pointed at the local witch who runs a micro-brew called Barleywine. At the Halloween parade it all gets solved. The murder method was not the usual shooting or stabbing - though that w ...more
Heather Wilmoth
Jun 09, 2012 Heather Wilmoth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2011 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
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
Dec 07, 2011 Homes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Linda Lou
Halloween has it's fun and fantasy. For the young one it is candy and running with friends, watching for ghosts in the dark. And being scared is just a thrill brought on by the bigger kids in costume. But for the older Halloween watcher, witches and goblins bring on a different kind of scare. Witches are the brew makers that seem so suspicious. And all the bumps in the night can't be coincidences. So when Leona has been blamed for the death of her accuser, it sends everyone reeling. It takes som ...more
Nov 11, 2010 Lindig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
Claudia Cheyne
Feb 21, 2016 Claudia Cheyne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After taking a little break from reading this series, I picked up where I left off. Monica Ferris has come up with another original plot and murder for Betsy Devonshire to solve. It is nearing Halloween. A big festival is being planned for Excelsior, MN. Local beer brewer Leona Cunningham also practices Wicca. When Ryan McMurphy is found dead without a mark on his body people point fingers at Leona because they had a history of bad blood.
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.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #87 - Blackwork 1 2 May 20, 2015 07:50AM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

A Needlecraft Mystery (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Crewel World (A Needlecraft Mystery, #1)
  • Framed in Lace (A Needlecraft Mystery, #2)
  • A Stitch in Time (A Needlecraft Mystery, #3)
  • Unraveled Sleeve (A Needlecraft Mystery, #4)
  • A Murderous Yarn (A Needlecraft Mystery, #5)
  • Hanging by a Thread (A Needlecraft Mystery, #6)
  • Cutwork (A Needlecraft Mystery, #7)
  • Crewel Yule (A Needlecraft Mystery, #8)
  • Embroidered Truths (A Needlecraft Mystery, #9)
  • Sins and Needles (A Needlecraft Mystery, #10)

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