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Murder by Artifact: The Murder Quilt
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Murder by Artifact: The Murder Quilt

5.0 2
by Barbara Graham

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A sweltering heat wave strieks the Smoky Mountains and combines with cold cases of murder, producing work Sheriff Tony Abernathy doesn't want. He discovers evil in his little county. No one is safe. As he and his tiny force dig into the facts, the pieces don't fit.

Lawn ornaments vanish each night.

An anonymous person mails Tony notes and newspaper


A sweltering heat wave strieks the Smoky Mountains and combines with cold cases of murder, producing work Sheriff Tony Abernathy doesn't want. He discovers evil in his little county. No one is safe. As he and his tiny force dig into the facts, the pieces don't fit.

Lawn ornaments vanish each night.

An anonymous person mails Tony notes and newspaper clippings about people who disappeared twenty years ago. Baffled, Tony finds himself pulled in many directions, including Ohio, searching for answers.

His wife Theo takes time from designing a new mystery quilt to examine the "murder quilt," an antique donated to the new folk museum.

Following the tangled threads of cold cases and new ones, Tony learns the power of history. A single quilt has links to tow murdered women. Tony finds more questions than answers. Why was Queen Doreen, the mayor's unpopular wife, at the museum after closing? Who used an antique flax hackle to killer her?

Juggling diverse cases while dealing with the crotchety, cantankerous, adoring and dangerous residents of his small county sends Tony in search of antacides and leaves him little time to watch his children play baseball. Just when it looks like he has things under control, they get worse.

Murder by Artifact is an entetaining small town mystery�pieced together with oddball characters.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Graham's quirky second quilting mystery to feature Sheriff Marc Antony “Tony” Abernathy (after 2007's Murder by Serpents), what appears to be the stabbed corpse of Queen Doreen, the despised wife of the mayor of Silersville, Tenn., turns up under a “murder quilt” (an antique quilt with bloodstains). When Doreen appears at her own funeral, folks realize the victim is actually Doreen's look-alike half-sister. Meanwhile, Tony's wife, Theo, who owns Theo's Quilt Shop, has found skeletal remains behind her best friend's house, and a dying tipster has informed Tony that a female serial killer is on the county tax rolls. In addition, a rash of garden gnome thefts has the down-home locals in a tizzy. Cozy fans with a taste for tongue-in-cheek humor will enjoy the wacky crime solving. Quilters will welcome the pattern of “a mystery quilt” attributed to Theo, “Night on the Mountain.” (Nov.)
Library Journal
The murder of the mayor's wife in the artifact museum owned by Sheriff Tony Abernathy's mother and aunt throws the town of Silersville, TN, for a loop. VERDICT This blend of quilting clues and down-home humor is for those who like Bill Crider, Monica Ferris, and other writers of small-town cozies.
Kirkus Reviews
Small-town sheriff Tony Abernathy deals with murder, robbery and a kidnapping a lot closer to home than he'd like. The theft of lawn ornaments isn't a high-priority crime until one of the suspects, the mayor's unpopular wife Queen Doreen, is found murdered at the work site of the new local history museum founded by Tony's mother and aunt. Now Tony has a full plate: the thefts, a murder and a batch of anonymous letters and old newspaper clippings he's received about a series of alleged murders stretching back 20 years. Eventually the sender meets him at a baseball park and reveals who killed these victims and where he can find the bodies. Unfortunately, Tony can't get a search warrant on hearsay evidence. When Queen Doreen turns up alive and furious at her own funeral, Tony discovers that her wealthy father engendered an illegitimate daughter who was murdered instead of the mayor's wife. Tony's wife Theo, already busy with her family, her quilt shop and her occasional sleuthing, is getting strange visits from Vicky Parker, a high-school classmate nobody remembers with fondness. When Theo is kidnapped, Tony has to rescue his wife from a deranged killer, in addition to figuring out who killed Doreen's double and stole those ornaments. The most baffling puzzle Graham (Murder by Serpents, 2007) poses here is what the mystery quilt (instructions included) will look like. But her tale is peopled with amusing characters.

Product Details

Gale, Cengage Learning
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

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Murder by Artifact: The Murder Quilt 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Jani8 10 months ago
This is the first book I read in Barbara Graham’s mystery series, although it is the second in the series. I was so intrigued by the name, I thought I’d give it a try. I fell hopelessly in love with book. I have now read all seven – twice! The major characters are Tony and Theo Abernathy. He is the Sheriff for a tiny county in Tennessee backed up to the Great Smoky Mountains. She owns her own quilt shop and designs quilts and has published books about them. It is a typical small town, full of quirky characters and a lot of the minutiae of everyday life. In this particular book, a murder is committed by a flax hackle, an instrument that has a lot of spikes coming out of the back. It is used similar to an instrument that you would card wool and cotton on. It was found in the storage area for the new folk museum, hence the name of artifact. I love the way Ms. Graham weaves the tales of the various people in Park County into a cohesive story. They are an engaging bunch for the most part along with some really evil ones. For example, I like Marmot the Varmint, the man who loves trash. He runs the local dump and stinks worse than it does. And then there is Blossom Flowers, the obese woman that bakes pies that are fit for heaven and has a huge crush on Tony. There is also Wade, his deputy, who throws up automatically whenever he sees a dead body. Then he is okay to take pictures, dust for fingerprints, whatever. He’s also drop dead gorgeous which can create all sorts of problems. There are dozens more characters, each unique. They evolve like real people do over the series. Not all the story lines get cleaned up by the end of the book. There are usually ones that get solved in the next book, or maybe the one after. That seems natural to me. There is also a mystery quilt pattern for the brave. It all boils down to the fact that I love this book as well as the six others! I highly recommend it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Park County Sheriff Marc Antony Abernathy investigates the apparent stabbing death of unpopular "Queen" Doreen, wife of the Silersville, Tennessee Mayor Calvin Cashdollar. Her corpse was placed under a bloodstained "murder quilt". He also struggles with letters from places like Cincinnati that contain notes and newspaper accounts of vanishings two decades ago; Tony has no idea why he is receiving them. However to the shock of everyone who attends Queen's funeral, Doreen arrives with a smile and a so what attitude. The victim is her "twin" half sister. Meanwhile, Tony's wife Theo, owner of Theo's Quilt Shop, finds skeletal remains behind the house of her best friend. Tony receives a tip from a dying man who swears on his death bed that there is a female serial killer who is on the county tax rolls. As he works a homicide and potentially several other murders, the biggest complaints coming into the Sheriff's Office are the thefts of garden gnomes. This is a super Smoky Mountains cozy that uses quilts and Quilters to solve the crimes. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as a bewildered Tony leans one thing leads to another; just not what he expected. Fans will enjoy this entertaining mystery and Theo's quilt Night on the Mountain while also seeking out the previous case (see Murder by Serpents). Harriet Klausner