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Apron Shop #1

Hems and Homicide

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Welcome to the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine, where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder. . .

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to return to her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne--and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne's shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement.

Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop--this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades--she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it's up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.

264 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published December 31, 2019

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About the author

Elizabeth Penney

65 books338 followers
Elizabeth Penney lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where she pens novels and tries to grow things. Elements that often appear in her novels include vintage summer cottages, past/present mysteries, and the arts. After spending early years in England and France, she grew up in Maine, settings that are reflected in her books.

Elizabeth is the author of the Apron Shop Series and Cambridge Bookshop Series from St. Martin's as well as over twenty novels, short stories, and hundreds of business articles. A former consultant and nonprofit executive, she holds a BS and an MBA. She's also written screenplays with her musician husband.

She loves walking in the woods, kayaking on quiet ponds, trying new recipes, and feeding family and friends.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 170 reviews
Profile Image for PamG.
790 reviews460 followers
November 24, 2019
HEMS & HOMICIDE by Elizabeth Penney is a well-written cozy mystery. It is book one in the Apron Shop series.

This story takes place in and around Blueberry Cove, Maine. Iris Buckley moved back to her home town when her grandfather was ill. With his death, she decides to stay home and she and her grandmother Anne decide to open a local store Ruffles and Bows to complement Iris’ online retail endeavor. She sells hand-made aprons and they are adding hand-made and vintage linens to the inventory for the store. While starting the retail space renovation a skeleton is found in the basement. Anne recognizes a scarf on the skeleton that belonged to an old friend. When a second body shows up in the store, Anne becomes a prime suspect.

Iris and Anne are both likeable characters and the secondary characters enhance the story and add depth to the story. The author did a great job in depicting the small town atmosphere without making the situations feel contrived. There are plenty of red herrings in the story line along with a fast pace. It was certainly an entertaining read. This book contains plenty of themes ranging from murder, family relationships, romantic relationships, small towns, business start-ups, friendship, and much more.

I recommend this book to those that enjoy cozy mysteries with a hint of romance. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I also want to check out this author’s other series.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Elizabeth Penney for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Natalia  R.
280 reviews156 followers
November 28, 2019
After her grandfather's death, Iris Buckley moves back to the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine to help her widowed grandmother Anne. Iris has an online apron business and with her grandmother's support, decides to open a storefront. While renovations are going on, she finds the skeletal remains of her grandmother's friend Star who disappeared in the 70s. Then a few days later, a man is found dead in their store. There seems to be a connection between the two murders and Iris is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Hems and Homicide is an enjoyable new cozy mystery series. It has a delightful cast of characters, a charming, historic small-town setting, and two intriguing murder mysteries. The plot is complex, well-paced, and has plenty of suspects to keep you guessing. Iris and her grandmother were likable characters and I loved their strong bond with each other. If you like vintage clothing and history, then this is the perfect cozy for you. This is a promising start to a new series and I look forward to the second book.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mark Baker.
2,037 reviews148 followers
July 10, 2020
Iris Buckley is happy to be opening a new shop in her native Blueberry Cove, Maine. Partnering with her grandma, Anne, the shop will be a physical location for her internet business selling original apron designs and vintage linens. However, while starting the renovations, Iris discovers a skeleton in the basement. Anne immediately identifies the remains as belonging to her friend Star Moonshine. Anne always assumed that Star just drifted out of town back in the early 1970’s, but clearly something happened to her. Anne wants to make sure justice is served for her friend. Can Iris help her do that?

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book, and it is easy to see why. Author Elizabeth Penney has created a wonderful location. Blueberry Cove is the kind of town I’d love to visit. Iris leads a cast of charming characters that I can’t wait to get to know better as the series progresses. While the plot got out to a great start, I did feel it bogged down a bit early on in the book. But once it kicked into high gear, we got some great twists before everything was neatly tied up. Prepare to be charmed when you pick up this book.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Profile Image for Lisa Ks Book Reviews.
843 reviews105 followers
March 1, 2020
Love at first read, this first installment of the Apron Shop Mysteries, HEMS AND HOMICIDE, had me at page one.

Nothing is better than when I start a book and I just know I’m going to love it all the way through. It truly speaks volumes about an author’s writing ability when they can capture your attention after just a few sentences. Elizabeth Penny is such a writer.

Right off the bat with, HEMS AND HOMICIDE, I knew I liked protagonist Iris Buckley. I got this immediate feeling that she was someone I’d want to be friends with. The same is to be said about her friends and her Grammie. Such a wonderful group of characters.

I very much enjoyed being with Iris and Grammie as their store came together. I felt their excitement and anxiety. And I felt a little thrill when Iris turned the sign on the window to open.

Now for the mystery. HEMS AND HOMICIDE was extremely well plotted with more twists and turns than frills on any of Ruffles and Bows aprons. Between a past murder and a new murder my brain was working overtime. And each time I thought I knew the answers, something would spring up to put me back into sleuth mode. Try as I did, I never guessed the who or why of it all. So, when the reveal came, it caused me one of those slap-myself-on-the-forehead moments. Well played, Ms. Penny.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,379 reviews271 followers
January 19, 2020
Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a delightful read!

Iris Buckley and her grandmother Anne are excited to be opening their new shop in Blueberry Cove, Maine, selling their hand made aprons and other vintage items. Ruffles & Bows is supposed to open Memorial Day but the building they are renting needs a lot of work before they can open the doors to customers.

Ready to jump right into the renovations they meet with their contractor and Iris’ old crush, Ian Stewart on-site to go over the plans. A trip to the basement leads to a gruesome discovery. A skeleton complete with a very identifiable headscarf. Anne thinks she knows the deceased, a friend she last saw over 40 years ago.

The police are working the case when another dead body is found in the shop. Their landlord is the new victim and he and Anne have been fighting over a piece of property for years. With their history and the location of the body, she becomes the #1 suspect.

Not knowing if they will ever be able to open Ruffles & Bows Iris along with her friend Madison try to clear Anne’s name, no matter where the clues may lead. And they lead to some unusual places. . .


Reading this book and learning about Blueberry Cove and the future home of Ruffles & Bows reminded me so much of my hometown here in Wisconsin. Many years ago my parents had a dream to open their own business and from the hardwood floors, tin ceiling, plaster walls and old fixtures along with getting everything just right brought back many fond and humorous memories, complete with my own cobweb entanglement and fall, no skeleton for me though. Also before my accident, I loved to sew and I had a dream similar to Iris and Anne’s, to open a craft and fabric shop. Since that is no longer possible I read books like this one and revel in the characters’ success and adventures.

I really enjoyed meeting Anne (Grammie), Iris, Madison, Ian. They came across as very genuine. Anne is a new widow and has always been close to her granddaughter. It is such a wonderful thing that they are embarking on this new venture together. Madison and Iris are a great pair. They both push each other in different ways like true friends really do. Iris had a huge crush on Ian in high school and those feelings are still there. Madison also has someone interested in her. Miss Penney has created a terrific cast of core characters.

So with the skeleton and the dead landlord, there are two mysteries to solve. Are they connected? The author has plotted a very clever and complex plot full of twists including some scary and funny episodes that made this book absolutely impossible to put down. I really enjoyed learning about the 60’s history that Anne participated in. Pulling out her old journals and pictures brought reality to the story and fueled her memories. I was totally captivated.

Hems & Homicide was a story I hated to see end because I wasn’t ready to leave these characters behind. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.

A Perfect Escape for Cozy Lovers!
Profile Image for Peggy R.
1,012 reviews66 followers
November 25, 2019
This was a solid start to a new series by author Elizabeth Penny. I liked that the premise/theme was unique with the main characters opening a vintage linen shop in their hometown. I enjoyed the relationship between Iris and her grandmother and thought it was well crafted. Iris is also surrounded by three of her best girlfriends, with each one having a different personality the complements each other and completes the group. Where I wasn't wowed was with the mystery. I thought the author did a good job of crafting the mystery with a murder that happened in the past with many of the suspects still living in town. Throw in jealousy and some red herrings and it had promise. I was a bit thrown by how soon Iris began receiving threats when she hadn't even really begun any type of investigating at that point. I didn't feel like Iris did really any type of sleuthing that warranted the threats. Overall, the pace of the story moved along nicely, the characters were fun and engaging, and the mystery showed promise.

I voluntarily read a digital ARC provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley
Profile Image for Amy.
492 reviews4 followers
December 15, 2019
Iris Buckley returns to her hometown of Blueberry Cove, Maine after her grandfather's death. She and her beloved grandmother, Anne, decide to open a storefront apron and linen shop called Ruffles and Bows to add a more personal touch to Iris' online sales. But their plans are halted almost immediately when they find a skeleton at the bottom of the basement stairs. Anne believes it may be her long-lost friend who disappeared in the 1970's. Once the area is cleared to re-open, it seems their landlord will stop at nothing to prevent the store from opening. Iris is determined to see justice served by solving the mystery or her business will go out of business before opening day.
This was a very enjoyable debut for this new series. I admit, I wasn't sure how an apron and linen shop could carry the storyline but the characters were really the gems here. Iris is a very likeable character: she is determined, creative, loyal to her family and a smart businesswoman. She and her grandmother make an excellent team, along with her best friend Madison. The story was very well-paced and I read it in two sittings. I look forward to spending more time in Blueberry Cove again very soon!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's for a digital ARC. My review is voluntary.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,141 reviews68 followers
January 19, 2020
I can't believe I've never read anything by this author before, so I'm really glad I was able to read this book. When I looked at her bio page, I decided I'm going to have to check out some of the other cozies I saw there. This book was just awesome! The characters were a lot of fun, and I just loved Grammie, who was so young at heart that she liked hanging out with Iris and her friends. I don't think a girl could ask for better friends than Iris has. Madison was so funny and always up for adventure. Sophie and Bella were great too, both being business owners there in town. The girls' nights they had always sounded fun! Quincy was an awfully sweet cat--he seemed to love everyone and was there for comfort no matter who they were. Even the grumpiest person could find a little solace in good old Quince.

I loved that Iris refound her high school crush Ian, and it'll be sweet watching their relationship grow. The mystery was really good, a skeleton found in the basement where Iris and Grammie were opening an apron shop, and another current body. There were plenty of suspects and red herrings. I'd sort of guessed the killer but for the wrong person. The showdown was exciting, and I have to hand it to Iris for keeping her head during confrontations and thinking to phone police, do a recording or anything safe that sometimes other sleuths forget about.

It was great having a story wrapup too, all the pieces of the puzzle were explained and we even got more story too. I like when that happens and a story just doesn't end abruptly because the murder was explained. We got to finally see the shop's opening. And...there's even part of the first chapter of the next book which I can't wait for now that I've read the excerpt.
February 19, 2020
It always makes me happy when I discover a new cozy mystery series/author that I love from the beginning! Hems & Homicide, book 1 of Elizabeth Penney’s new Apron Shop series, is one such example.

For starters, the concept is so unique – Iris & Anne’s apron shop is exactly the type of vintage-y, etsy-ish shop I would buy from… despite the fact that I have never owned or worn an apron as a general rule lol! The initial murder Iris stumbles upon (quite literally) is decades old and has a personal connection to Iris’s grandparents, which adds multiple layers to the plot. Combined with the current murder – which also has a personal connection – there are plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings to keep you guessing.

Blueberry Cove is the typical cozy mystery town, and the author does a great job of introducing us to the town & its people … without seeming like we’re following her around with a map. It’s populated by an intriguing cast of quirky characters and a swoony handyman-type love interest (though the blossoming romance with Ian is kept to a mild level & doesn’t take over the story), and I especially fell in love with Iris, her friends, her cat Quincy and her grandmother Anne. And of course Ian.

Bottom Line: Well-written, charming, and layered, Hems & Homicide is the perfect start to this new cozy mystery series! The coastal New England small town setting is delightfully drawn, its characters drawing you in and ensuring you’ll be eagerly waiting for the next book so you can catch up with everyone. The murders that Iris stumbles into & her subsequent amateur sleuthing are well-plotted and keep you engaged from beginning to end. Can’t wait for Thread and Dead to release in August!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)

first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,060 reviews1 follower
November 14, 2019
Hems and Homicide by Elizabeth Penney is an entertaining new entry into the cozy mystery genre. Ms. Penney has developed a lovely small town setting in Blueberry Cove, Maine and a new venue by setting this mystery around a apron and vintage linens shop.

Iris Buckley and her grandmother, Anne Buckley, are very likable characters and I enjoyed getting to know them throughout the story. The secondary characters were also likable and helped to develop Iris more for the reader. The plot is quickly paced and well crafted as the clues and red herrings kept me on my toes trying to piece together if the two murders were connected. I was thrown off a couple of times while reading when there was a change of scene that was not clearly defined; but this could have been a formatting error. All in all this was a lovely afternoon read and I look forward to more in this series.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,391 reviews59 followers
January 10, 2020
Hems and Homicide by Elizabeth Penney is the premiere of An Apron Shop Series. Iris Buckley and her grandmother, Anne are opening Ribbons and Bows in Blueberry Cove, Maine. They are going over the property with Ian Stewart, the carpenter, when Iris stumbles down the basement stairs, knocks over shelves and a skull is exposed. Anne Buckley, Iris’s grandmother, recognizes the scarf around the skull as belonging to Star Moonshine who disappeared around July 4th in 1972. When their landlord, Elliot Parker end up dead in the storeroom with Iris’s favorite apron tied around his neck, Anne becomes the prime suspect. Iris with assistance from her best friend, Madison uses her knowledge gleamed from mystery novels to do a little sleuthing. I enjoyed reading Hems and Homicide. I love the concept of a shop featuring aprons (vintage and custom creations) along with vintage linens. They will also have a room for sewing classes and Iris’s cat, Quincy will be in residence during the day. The author took the time to establish the characters along with the setting. I like Iris and Anne Buckley along with Iris’s friends. There is a close bond between Iris and her grandmother that I thought was sweet. They are grieving the loss of Anne’s husband, Joe who died three months earlier. Iris wears vintage inspired clothing, loves to read, and finds petting her cat soothing. She is attracted to Ian Stewart, their carpenter. Iris and Ian grew up together and she had a crush on him in high school. It may be the timing is right for Iris and Ian. We shall have to wait and see. There are great descriptions of the town, the shops and the Buckley farm. I would like to move to Blueberry Cove with its historic buildings and friendly (most of them) residents. There are two mysteries in Hems and Homicide. There is the cold case of Star Moonshine and the current death of Elliot Parker. I thought the mysteries were clever and intriguing. I enjoyed following the clues and solving the crimes. I thought the one manner of death to be unique. I am eager for the next book in An Apron Shop Series. If you like vintage clothing, charming towns, friendly character and crafty whodunits, then you will enjoy reading Hems and Homicide. Hems and Homicide has a cold case, antique aprons, a big pig, a poisonous plant, and a gritty granddaughter.
Profile Image for Yvonne.
1,090 reviews246 followers
January 19, 2020
After the death of her grandfather, Iris Buckley and her grandmother, Anne, decide to open an apron shop in the small town of Blueberry Cove, Maine called Ruffles & Bows. Iris already has an online apron design company and the shop will add even more business for them. As they work to set up their shop, they are more than a little stunned to discover a skeleton in their basement. They are even more stunned when Anne realizes it’s a friend from her past. When a second body turns up murdered in their new shop, Anne is the prime suspect, especially since she recently fought with the second victim.

The police close off access to the shop until the investigation is completed. With the cops looking to arrest her grandmother, Iris is intent to give them a few more suspects to divert their attention and let them get back to opening their new store. With the help of her best friend, Iris digs into the murders and realizes it goes much deeper than she expected.

This is the first book in the Apron Shop series and it’s off to a terrific start. The author gives us a wonderful cast of quirky and fun characters. I adored Iris, her grandmother and her friends right from the start. The rapport they all have with each other fits together perfectly. There’s even a hint of romance in the air to add to the mystery. This story has all the ingredients I love about the cozy mystery genre - well-written cast, small town setting, mystery and just a touch of romance.

The plot itself is well written and well thought out. It is one big jigsaw puzzle. I fit it together all wrong…well, partially, but mostly wrong. LOL. It kept me on my toes until the end. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series and another visit to Blueberry Cove, Maine.

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Chris Conley.
903 reviews11 followers
January 13, 2020
Really entertaining first book in this series. The mysteries were well done and the characters are quirky. Looking forward to more of Iris’s adventures.
Profile Image for Kelcy.
199 reviews11 followers
December 2, 2019
I found this cozy absolutely delightful!
With a genre that is quickly gaining popularity - with new releases around every corner - it is easy to forget some titles.

Not the case with this one! This cozy had a strong main character, Iris, FUN supporting characters (BFF Madison, Grammie etc), a swoony love interest ( Ian), and a puzzling mystery. The mystery was well done, although it spanned years and years - making some of the "clues" a stretch - it was still executed well. A lot of suspects, not sure who to trust. Multiple people with believable motives.

The writing itself was entertaining. Great flow, and FUNNY. There were some witty lines in there - always fun to read. Good character development. Will definitely be checking out the next one.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher/author for affording me the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
10 reviews
November 17, 2020
I absolutely loved this first in a hopefully long series! All the perfect elements of what a cozy should be. Interesting but not stereotyped characters who were not perfect, yet someone you'd like to know. I also enjoyed that they were not portrayed as a thorn in the side of the law - working with the department while still "investigating" in their own way. Red herrings were explained and tidied up, and even the villains weren't over the top escapees from the asylum. And the backstory of the vintage linen business was a draw for me personally.
Profile Image for Fred.
943 reviews38 followers
January 3, 2020
Hems And Homicide is the first book in the Apron Shop series.

Iris Buckley has returned to Blueberry Cove, Maine to help her Grandma Anne settle her grandfather’s estate. Iris decides to take her online business of hand made aprons and open a shop, along with Grandma Anne, selling aprons and the latest and vintage linens. They have rented a storefront from Elliot Parker, who has been badgering the family for years about purchasing some of their property.

The store needs some renovations before opening and Ian Stewart, a flame from Iris’s high school days, has agreed to help get the shop into shape. As Iris is going down the stairs to the basement she falls and dislodges some shelves along a basement wall. The wall behind the shelved crumbles, revealing a skull, further looking discovers the rest of the body. When Grandma Anne comes to see what happened, she identifies the remains as those Star Moonshine, who disappeared some 43 years ago, by the scarf that is with the body. Since Anne was acquainted with Star before she disappeared, Anne will become a suspect, along with four or five of her other friends. When Parker is found murdered Anne becomes the prime suspect.
Iris will call on her BFF, Madison, and Ian to help her find the killer.

This is an exciting new and exciting series with a cast of believable and enjoyable characters. Looking forward to future books to learn more about Blueberry Cove and its residents.
Profile Image for Moondance.
1,015 reviews49 followers
April 16, 2022
Bells jingled as I entered the Belgian Bean, a warm and cozy café filled with chatter and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

Iris has returned to Blueberry Cove, Maine to help her grandmother after the death of her grandfather. She and her grandmother are opening an apron and vintage shop in the downtown area. in the midst of renovations, a skeleton is found in the basement. Grandma Anne recognizes items that belonged to her friend Star who went missing in the 70s.

I really enjoyed this first book in the series. The characters are well thought out. The mystery had plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. I have a huge fondness for aprons so I really enjoyed the descriptions of the ones that Iris makes.

I love Quincy the cat! Of course I tend to be a bit partial to cats. Lol!

There are so many different stories about Star that it is difficult to pin point the killer until close to the reveal. it made me sad that this vibrant young woman lost her life before she really had a chance to live.

There is a bit of a secondary mystery that revolves around Iris' grandfather that is resolved as well.

All in all, this was a delightful book and i look forward to reading more.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Tam Sesto.
378 reviews7 followers
June 14, 2021
Annie and her Grammie are opening up a sewing studio that focuses on vintage fashion, and much to their surprise, a skeleton is found in the basement of their future shop. This is Hems & Homicide (Apron Shop #1) by Elizabeth Penney.

Being a sewer/quilter myself, I was hooked on this book from the moment I started it. I love the relationship between Annie and her Grammie, and between Annie and Madison, her best friend. The supporting characters were all interesting with great chemistry among them. The plot was engaging, and I had a hard time putting the book down. I loved how the author doled out a clue here and there, and still managed to keep you guessing until the end. The ending wrapped up some of the supporting characters plots as well as the who-dun-it; very satisfying.

My review is voluntary and all comments and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jessica Robbins.
2,593 reviews41 followers
January 26, 2020
*I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for.

We catch up with Iris just as she has found a building for her new shop. Excited to get started she makes an appointment for her old crush to check it out for a work estimate. The power goes out just as they get started making a trip to the basement necessary. Then she falls down the stairs slamming into a wall which opens up showing a skull inside. Talk about a doozy of mystery this one is old and brings up all kinds of old secrets. Makes for a fun read I must say. Perfect for cozy mystery fans. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
Profile Image for Andrew Shaffer.
Author 41 books1,338 followers
October 3, 2021
Before you lease a retail space, do a walkthrough for skeletons first.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,553 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2019
Hems and Homicide by Elizabeth Penney is the first book in the Apron Shop mystery series, and my first book by this author. I was not sure if I would like this book, because sewing and aprons are not my thing, but I really enjoyed it. Not only is this book an enjoyable cozy mystery, the characters and plot is very well written. I am looking forward to reading the next adventure of Iris and her grandmother, Anne. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery.
I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press. Thank you.
Profile Image for Linda.
Author 11 books656 followers
February 2, 2020
One of the best "first in a series" I've ever had the pleasure to read -- a delight from start to finish!
Profile Image for Carole Jarvis.
794 reviews41 followers
January 14, 2020
Reviewed at The Power of Words: https://bit.ly/3a8rnkP

I enjoyed Hems & Homicide so much and am glad to start on the ground floor of what promises to be a highly entertaining new series. The illness of her grandfather brings Iris back to her hometown of Blueberry Cove, Maine, and she stays on after his death to open a shop with her grandmother, Anne. Hems & Homicide has that perfect blend of appealing setting, vocational theme, engaging characters, and well-crafted storyline. From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to future releases in the series.

Iris and Anne are easily relatable characters and I love the close relationship between these two. I’m always drawn to books with New England settings and relished the vividly conveyed images of the coastal town of Blueberry Cove and its quaint stores. A shop featuring Iris’s homemade apron and other linen designs is refreshing and stands out in the field of cozy mysteries. I loved how the close-knit community and the Ruffles & Bows shop are woven throughout the story.

The mystery itself is well developed and complex. And there’s two mystery themes actually– a cold case from 1972 of Annie’s friend, Star Moonshine, and the present-day murder of their landlord, Elliot Parker. But are they connected? Of course, they are, and discovering how steadily propels the action. Star’s skeleton is uncovered as the clean up and remodeling begins in the new shop, and a scarf triggers Anne’s recognition of Anne. An old photo is later found, one that features Star, Anne, and others still living in the community. This story especially resonated with me because the hippie movement was a big part of the culture that I experienced as a young adult.

I especially appreciated that Hems & Homicide is completely clean, no profanity or graphic scenes. A great read for all who enjoy cozy mysteries. Recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
December 29, 2019
My Review: I am in love with this series already. Grammie and Iris make a great team. Add the adorable cat, Quincy and we have a winner.

The author has done an excellent job of keeping the reader involved with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. There is a hint of romance but it doesn't overtake the story at all. Plus, big bonus, no love triangle.

Aside from murder (after all it is a cozy mystery), a clean read that can be enjoyed by many.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin's Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Welcome to the first in the Apron Shop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, set in the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder. . .

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to stay in her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne—and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne’s shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement

Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop—this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades—she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it’s up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.
Profile Image for Robin Leslie Coxon.
171 reviews32 followers
November 14, 2019
Hems and Homicide is a well developed story. Elizabeth Penney provides her readers with a book including support of family and friends and a mystery too. The plot is fast-paced and will keep your attention. Iris Buckley and her grandmother, Anne Buckley, have a bond that we all would love to have with our grandmother. This bond is even stronger since the death of Anne's husband and Iris's grandfather. Iris has returned to Blueberry Cove to help her grand mother. She has a business established on-line selling vintage linens and with support of her Grandmother, plans to open a store front, Hems and Bows, that will also sell vintage linens. While refurbishing the store-front the electric goes out requiring a trip to the basement to check out the fuse box. Iris walks into a spider web causing her to fall the rest of the way down the steps. A skull. is found buried behind the wall. You will feel the small town appeal and also family and friend relationship with a touch of budding romances.
Profile Image for Nicole.
197 reviews13 followers
November 21, 2020
Absolutely loved this book! I had no idea who the killer was and I loved how the whole storyline worked out. A fantastic cozy mystery, well written with loads of likeable characters! I can’t wait to read the next installment. I am a fan of the series already with this first book.
Profile Image for Kay Garrett.
381 reviews54 followers
September 21, 2020
HEMS AND HOMICIDE by Elizabeth Penney is the first book in the Apron Shop series. It takes place in Blueberry Cove, Maine just as Iris Buckley and her Grandmother, Anne Buckley, are trying to open Ruffles & Bows, a new business on Main Street to showcase new and vintage linen fashions an include a studio for sewing groups and classes.

Iris had moved back to her hometown when her grandfather passed. Having lost her parents when she was very young and being raised by her grandparent’s made his death very hard on both woman. Finding comfort from each other and their love for sewing as well as Iris’ love for the vintage, they decided to widen Iris’ online business and open up a store in town together with financial backing from Anne. They found the perfect location, but it’s going to take a lot of planning, renovation, elbow grease and the right merchandise plus being able to open before the busy season to make it a success.

It is during the first walk through for estimates that Ian Stewart, local contractor and a classmate of Iris’ - who she’s always carried a torch for, that had them heading to the basement to find the fuse box when the lights went out. What they find is a human skull!

Police Chief Anton Ball is summoned which leads to the renovations being shut down for further investigation. Anne is able to give them a lead when she recognizes the headscarf found with the skull as belonging to a young woman they called Star Moonshine back in the 70’s. In a time of free spirits and communes, she had assumed she had just left town.

Iris and her grandmother feel that Star deserved justice by finding out what happened to her, the guilty party made to pay for their deed and for her family to finally know what had happened to her. But how could they go about that when they had no idea of her true identity and so much time had passed, clues gone and people’s memories faded?

The start up on the renovations after the police released the property were short lived when the second dead body was found in their storefront building. This murder however was a current event and this murder had someone trying to point the finger at Anne. Iris begins to think she should put the Anton on speed dial because she’s more determined than ever now to find the right answers and get her grandmother OFF the list of suspects.

When Iris turns over evidence that might involve Ian’s relative, will it put a squash on any feelings developing? Will they find a key to open Papa’s desk and if so what will it hold? Was the trespasser in the barn connected to the murder? Can they find out who Star really was? If they do, will that help find more clues or run into a dead end? Will they be able to open Ruffles & Bows on time? Are the two murders connected? Will the find the murderer before they strike again?

What an exciting way to start a new series! Elizabeth Penney sure keeps you turning pages and making you feel as if you are a local resident in Blueberry Cove with a vested interest is seeing justice done. Loved the main characters and I can see where the friends of Iris and other local townsfolk could branch out to have important roles in future books. I’ll be excited to see how the romance hopefully blooms between Iris and Ian.

HEMS & HOMICIDE is a wonderful book that any cozy lover is going to want to devour. If given a chance, it will turn many into loving cozies. Highly recommend this book for a fun read that will have you putting this author on your need to watched list. I, for one, will be anxiously awaiting the release of book number two in The Apron Shop Series!
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