Hermit Jesse Lockhart lives alone on King’s Island, three miles east of Haven Harbor, Maine, where he’s created a private sanctuary for the endangered Great Cormorants. But when a wealthy family wants to buy the island and Jesse’s cousin Simon petitions for power of attorney to force him to sell, Jesse is the one who becomes endangered.
Mainely Needlepointer Dave Perry, who befriended Jesse in the VA hospital, rallies the group to his defense. Angie Curtis and the ravelers stitch “Save the King’s Island Cormorants” pillows and sell T-shirts to pay for Jesse’s legal counsel. But tragically, on a visit to the island, Angie finds Jesse dead. Now the search is on for a common thread that can tie the murdered man to his killer . . .
“Offers a wonderful sense of place and characters right from the very beginning. Highly recommended.” —Suspense Magazine on Threads of Evidence
About the Author
Christina Delaine is an accomplished stage and voice actor, as well as an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator. Her theater credits include Jewtopia, the longest-running comedy in Off-Broadway history, and the title role in Antigone at both Portland Center Stage and Kentucky Repertory Theatre.
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Dangling by a Thread
By Lea Wait
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Lea Wait
All rights reserved.
"Time has wings and swiftly flies
Youth and Beauty Fade away
Virtue is the only Prize
Whose Joys never will decay."
— Sampler stitched by Chloe Trask in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, about 1800. Originally dated with four digits, in later years someone (probably Chloe herself) removed the stitching on the final two numbers to conceal her age.
The August fog felt damp and soft on my face as I sat on a bench on Wharf Street, sipped my coffee, and watched anchored boats in Haven Harbor appear and disappear. The early morning fog hid the Three Sisters, the islands that protect our small Maine harbor from the ocean's strength.
In the distance I heard the motor of a lobster boat making early morning stops to check traps.
A figure in a small gray skiff, almost seeming part of the fog, was rowing smoothly toward shore, out of the mists. Whoever he was, he knew the waters. I watched as he tied his skiff to the town pier and pulled himself onto the dock. That's when I noticed he was limping.
I knew Haven Harbor's boats and their owners. I didn't remember ever seeing that skiff or its occupant.
I'd been back in Haven Harbor over three months now and was beginning to feel comfortable again in the house that had seen the joys and pains of my growing up. I'd agreed to stay six months: settle in, manage Mainely Needlepoint, the business Gram had started, and come to terms with the past.
The house seemed empty since Gram had married and moved out. I didn't blame the house. I'd been lonely before, in other times, other places.
I'd battle through it. I was already thinking six months in Haven Harbor wasn't long enough. I might stay longer.
Still, some mornings, like today, I was restless, and nothing but the sights and sounds of the sea would soothe me. Those ten years I'd spent in Arizona, far from the consistent tides I'd depended on to bring order to my life, had left a hole only closeness to the ocean could fill.
Too often in the past weeks, like today, I'd woken early to the motors of lobster boats leaving the docks and the screeching of the gulls following them.
I'd filled a travel mug with coffee and headed for the wharves, where I'd be close to the sea and smell the salt air and dried rockweed and mudflats. Where I could forget Mama and my past. Forget what brought me back to Haven Harbor.
The man on the dock was tall and thin, his skin almost the color of his straggly gray beard. He might have been forty, or sixty. His faded flannel shirt hung on him as though intended for someone heavier, someone stronger. His jeans were belted with rope.
He picked up two canvas bags from inside the skiff and walked up the ramp, limping, but not hesitating, toward where I was sitting. He didn't look at me or at Arvin Fraser, who'd finished hoisting his bait barrels on board the Little Lady and was preparing to leave for the day's work with Rob Trask, his sternman.
Whoever the strange man was, he was focused on whatever had brought him to Haven Harbor. He didn't look around, greet anyone, or seem to notice one of his worn sneakers was untied.
Curious, I watched him head south on Wharf Street until he was lost in the fog.
I walked down the ramp to where Arvin and Rob were about to cast off.
"Morning, Angie," said Rob. "You're out early again."
"Who was that man?" I asked. I pointed to his skiff, gray as the morning. "The man who rowed in."
Arvin grinned. "Guess you ain't never seen him before. He's a character, but he don't bother no one. Lives out on one of the islands beyond the Three Sisters."
"I didn't know anyone lived out there," I said. "Those islands are just outcroppings of ledges with a few trees on them. No houses that I remember. No water, no electricity. Just birds."
"Right," said Rob. "He don't seem to mind, though. Been out there a couple of years now."
"What's his name?" I asked.
Arvin and Rob looked at each other. Arvin shrugged. "Don't rightly know. Never asked. Folks in town call him The Solitary."CHAPTER 2
"Let spotlefs innocence and truth
My ev'ry action guide
And guard my inexperienc'd youth
My vanity and pride."
— From sampler stitched by Dorothy Lancaster (1781 – 1806) near Portland, Maine, in 1785. Dorothy used the old f form for one s in her verse, perhaps copying it from an old book. By the beginning of the nineteenth century most printers had dropped this letter form.
I shivered in the damp fog. The Solitary.
Solitary. Alone. That's the way I felt this morning. It wasn't a good feeling.
Who was he? How would it feel to live by yourself on an island? Islands beyond the Three Sisters were three or four miles offshore. Far enough out so waters could be dangerously rough, especially in winter. Too far out, in choppy deep waters, for a comfortable or safe row to the mainland.
I looked down Wharf Street after the strange man. Where was he heading on this early morning?
For no reason other than curiosity, I followed him.
My years working for a private investigator in Arizona automatically kicked in. I stayed far enough behind him so the fog enveloped both of us.
He walked easily, his slight limp almost unnoticeable. Too able for any crippling disease I could think of. Maybe he'd slipped getting into his skiff and badly bruised his leg, or cut his foot on barnacle-covered rocks.
I invented stories as I walked, following the uneven sound of his sneakers hitting the pavement, knowing I should turn around and mind my own business.
The Solitary didn't notice he had company. At the end of Wharf Street he turned inland, up the hill toward the west side of town.
I followed, staying close to the storefronts. The fog here, away from the harbor, wasn't as dense. If he turned around, he'd see me: a stranger who, like him, was wandering the streets of Haven Harbor just after dawn.
I could smell fresh bread baking at the Thibodeaus' patisserie two blocks away. I should end my foolishness, leave the mysterious man alone, buy a scone or croissant, and head for home.
But as he walked farther, my curiosity grew.
He turned right, past the hardware store. I paused, letting him get far enough away so he wouldn't see me. The sun was rapidly burning the fog off. A truck turned into the parking lot in back of the hardware store. Gulls cried over the harbor.
During most August days these streets were busy. This early in the morning they were eerily still. I stood, listening. A door slammed. A car engine started. A crow in the distance called and was answered by a crow closer by.
I walked to the corner.
The Solitary was sitting on the steps of the post office. I glanced at my phone to check the time. Pax Henry, the postmaster, wouldn't open for another hour.
The man stretched his legs, rubbing the one that bothered him and noticing his errant shoelace. He tied it, as the door of the post office opened. Pax stood in the doorway, his bushy red hair and beard shining in the sun. He gestured, and the man waiting outside followed him in.
I checked my phone again. No, the post office shouldn't open for another hour.
But this morning it had.
I'd spent too much time working for a private investigator. I had too many dark fantasies.
There were no secrets here. The mysterious man was in town to pick up his mail.
What was strange about that? What was strange was my stalking him.
I changed direction and headed for the patisserie. Henri and Nicole always unlocked their door as soon as their first baked goods of the day were out of the oven. It was time for breakfast.CHAPTER 3
"O resignation heavenly power
Our warmest thoughts engage
Thou art the safest guide of youth
The sole support of age.
Teach of the hand of love divine
In evils to discern
'Tis the first lesson which we need
The latest which we learn."
— Stitched by Eliza Tukey in Portland, Maine, 1817. Eliza was the sixth of nine children born to George and Betsey Snow Tukey. The sampler lists the genealogy of her family, and Eliza's birthdate as September 2, 1803. Two of her sisters, Sophia and Margaret Ann, died as infants.
The bell on the patisserie door sounded loud in the morning quiet, but the warm smells and footsteps coming from the kitchen said the Thibodeaus had already been at work for hours.
Nicole came to the counter, wiping her hands on her full apron. "Morning, Angie! Out early today."
"And couldn't resist the smells."
"Nothing smells better than bread baking," Nicole agreed. "It's almost as good an advertisement as how it tastes. What can I get for you?"
I'd planned to visit Dave Percy, one of the Mainely Needlepointers, this morning. "Who can resist your croissants? Four, please."
She selected the pastries and put them in a white bakery box. "They're still warm. Couldn't be fresher."
I handed her money. "You know everyone in town."
"If they eat bread or sweet things, I do," Nicole agreed, handing me the bakery box and my change.
"Do you know a tall, thin man with a gray beard? He might walk with a limp."
She hesitated. "A few of those around. Does the man you're asking about dress a bit oddly?"
"That'd be him," I agreed. "Arvin said he lived out on one of the islands."
"I've seen him walking past our windows in the early morning. Never in the light of day. I don't know what he does for money, but he doesn't spend any here, I can tell you." She shivered. "Strange fellow. Keeps to himself. I've heard folks say he's a little not right in the head, you know. Never bothered me, I'll say. But you never know."
I nodded. "True enough. I just wondered about him. Saw him at the wharf this morning."
"Chances are he'll keep his distance. That's his way."
"How's Henri's mom?"
"About the same. She's still getting used to living with us here instead of in her home in Quebec. Luckily we've found a lovely French-speaking home health aide to be with her when we're not home. But transitions are hard for her. Alzheimer's is hard on all of us."
"Transitions aren't easy," I agreed. Even if you don't have Alzheimer's.
It was still too early to stop at Dave's house, so I headed up the hill toward the white house that had been home to my family for generations. A little of the cheese Gram had brought back from her honeymoon was still in the refrigerator. Cheese and a croissant would make an excellent breakfast.
Gram had married Reverend McCully and moved to the rectory six weeks ago. She was only two blocks away, and I should have gotten used to living alone by now. After all, I'd lived alone, most of the time anyway, for ten years in Arizona. But there I'd lived in small apartments, cozy and temporary.
This house was large, permanent, and held indelible memories.
Sometimes I looked at the porch and saw myself jumping rope there, twenty years ago. "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." Gram had left the door to Mama's room closed for years, part of her hoping Mama might come home. I'd emptied Mama's closet and bureau in May. It was time to accept the past.
But in my heart that room at the top of the stairs would always be Mama's, and Gram's now-deserted room would be Gram's. I missed them both, more than I'd expected to, or would admit to anyone.
Gram had left most of her furniture and kitchen necessities for me; Reverend Tom's rectory was already furnished. Without what she'd left, the house would be empty. But along with her clothes she'd taken her favorite paintings and china and photographs.
Wallpaper had faded around the bright spots where pictures had hung, and now there were empty spaces on shelves in the living and dining rooms instead of the Victorian glass she'd inherited and the plaster of Paris handprint I'd given her when I was in kindergarten.
I was twenty-seven, old enough to take home ownership seriously. But my bedroom was still decorated with ocean-smoothed stones and sea glass I'd found on Pocket Cove beach in my teens. Shelves there mocked me, too. I'd never been a reader. The only books in my room were the Bible I'd been given when I was confirmed, worn paperbacks of Peyton Place and The Hobbit, and a few old Nancy Drews. To make my bedroom more welcoming, two weeks ago I'd moved a shelf of books on the history of needlepoint from the bookcases in the living room, which now doubled as the office of Mainely Needlepoint, to my room. I still had a lot to learn about embroidery.
I'd only brought home two souvenirs from my years in Arizona: my Glock, which I left in the sideboard in our front hall where I could get it quickly when I left the house, and a painting of a desert sunset. After Gram had taken her pictures, I'd hung the Arizona painting over the living-room fireplace.
I loved that painting. Maine sunsets were explosions of red and orange and purple, too, but they weren't as showy.
New England constraint, no doubt.
My painting didn't quite fit in Haven Harbor.
Of course I did. This was my family home.
I'd let my mind get lost in the morning fog again.
I poured another cup of coffee and settled myself at the computer. I had bills to send to gift shops closing after the tourist season, and I needed to check on the progress of the needlework projects I'd assigned to the five Mainely Needlepointers.
I was most worried about Dave Percy. He'd taken on a large project — two seat covers and a matching wall hanging — for a woman from Iowa who wanted to take the work home with her at the beginning of September.
Labor Day was only three weeks away.
An hour later I stood and stretched.
It was a beautiful day, as beautiful as I remembered August days had always been in Maine.
I picked up the box holding the (now two) croissants and headed for Dave's house.
Then I detoured to the post office.
"Morning, Angie." Pax Henry was tall and thin, and had been the Haven Harbor postmaster since before his red beard was tinged with white. "What can I do for you this morning?"
"One book of stamps, please," I said, taking money out of my pocket.
"I've got birds or flags today," said Pax, showing me. "You like birds, as I recall."
"I do," I agreed. I slid the book into my pocket. "Say, Pax, I was by here early this morning and saw a man waiting for you to open."
"Ayah," he answered. "That'd be Jesse Lockhart, I imagine."
"He the one who lives out on one of the islands?" I asked. The Solitary had a name.
"Does. King's Island. Don't have a post office out there, so he picks his mail up here."
"Get much mail?"
"Now, you know mail's private, Angie. Between the US government and the one getting it." He leaned forward. "Gets the usual junk mail and what look like government checks, regular. Guess they're disability, 'cause of his leg, you know. And letters from a Chicago bank, sometimes. That's about it." Pax shook his head. "Fellow don't talk much. Stops in every week or ten days or such to get his mail. I hold it for him. That's all I know."
"He ever send any mail?"
Pax shook his head slowly. "Not that I remember. 'Course, he could be like you, buying stamps and mailing from anywhere."
"Not from an island," I pointed out.
"True enough," agreed Pax. "I don't know what he might send out. I only take care of what's coming in."
"Thanks, Pax," I said, heading for the door. "I was just being nosy."
"You and all of Haven Harbor," Pax said. "You ain't the first to be asking."
"Morning, Angie. You're out and about today." Jed Fitch, a heavyset man who'd been a football star at Haven Harbor High years before, passed me on his way in to see Pax. "Say — I've been trying to reach Reverend Tom. If you see him or your grandmother, tell them Carole and I'll be happy to be greeters at the church next Sunday. Tom doesn't need to call me back. He can count on us."
"I'll tell her," I said. In a small town, people knew each other. Jed and his wife had grown up in town, married, had kids, and he was now a part-time Realtor and part-time handy man. Two of the windows in my house were cracked. Maybe Jed could fix them. I turned to ask him, but he'd disappeared inside the post office.
My windows weren't an emergency. Winter winds wouldn't hit for three months or so. I'd see Jed again before then.
I headed for Dave's house. Checking on the needlepoint Dave had committed to was partially an excuse to get out of the house, I admitted to myself, but I hadn't seen him recently, and talking to Pax hadn't filled my need for friendship. Dave was usually glad to see me.
Excerpted from Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait. Copyright © 2016 Lea Wait. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Angie Curtis has been back in town nearly four months now, returning to stay with her now newly married grandmother who raised her as a child after her mother’s disappearance. She’s settling in a bit, having made some friends and taken on the management of Mainely Needlepoint, a small collective that creates hand-stitched decorative items with needlepoint and other embroidery techniques. Early one morning, Angie spots a man in ragged clothes rowing to shore and darting off into the fog. Following him, her curiosity piqued, she’s determined to discover more about the man the locals have dubbed The Solitary. One of Angie’s friends Dave, a needlepointer in his own right, is friends with this man: they met in a VA hospital as they recovered from injuries during service. Jesse Lockhart headed to Dave’s house when released, an easy jaunt to King’s Island, one that he owns with his cousin. Jesse has taken full-time residence on the island to protect the nesting sites of the Great Cormorants, a mission dear to his heart. When a wealthy uncle of Angie’s current crush Patrick appears with a trophy wife and a giant yacht, he has decided King’s is the island he MUST have for his new vacation home. Birds and other obstacles be damned. When Angie discovers that a plan to have Jesse declared incompetent and start construction is under way, she and Dave boat out to the island to warn Jesse. From here a bow and arrow nearly kill Dave, and Jesse is the main suspect. But when he’s found dead, and Angie’s determination and curiosity (if not a bit of meddling) start to increase the twists and turns as the police (and Angie in many ways) search for the killer. With three kittens in need of relocation, some wonderful cookies, a bit of small town politics and pressure to open up employment as well as the end of the tourist season and the story mixes atmosphere, clues, mysteries and wonderful insets describing samplers and their creators from the 16th and 17th centuries and the story is rich. Easily read without previous exposure to the other books in the series, this will entertain readers through a cool fall evening, and fuel interest in the earlier titles from this author. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions and expectations are my own responsibility.
I loved this addition, loved that the town mustered to help save the cormorants.
“‘Can human nature not survive Without a listener?’” In this, the fourth in the Mainely Needlepointers series, Angie Curtis has begun to feel more at home living by herself in her Grandmother’s, now her home. She’s moved Mainely Needlepointers into the living room/office and begun to change things a bit to better suit her. Her Grandmother is settling into her own new life as Rev.Tom’s new spouse and feels like Angie may decide to stay longer as her Needlepointers have begun to be more focused on custom work and their online business is expanding. Through Dave Percy, Angie meets Jesse: a semi-hermit living alone on King’s Island, a cormorant nesting area that he and his cousin Simon inherited from their grandfather, but that Jesse has maintained for years. When someone shows great interest in buying the Island for development and Jesse accidentally shoots Dave with a compound bow, things begin to happen that find Jesse dead and everyone invloved suspect. As Dave recovers in hospital, Angie sets out to try to find just what happened and the results are not quite what everyone expects. I love Lea Waite’s cosy mysteries. I learn so much about Maine and many other things, and can hardly wait to see the next thing she writes. Highly recommended 5/5 [This was my library system’s ecopy I chose to review]
Love all her books
Kings Island, just east of Haven Harbor Maine is where Jesse Lockhart lives alone. A big money family wants Jesse’s island and his cousin, Simon is pushing to make Jesse sell. Jesse is found dead and a group of “Mainely” needle pointers who were helping Jesse to save his island are going to have to find out who killed him. A new series for me, but enjoyed it so much I will read more!
Lea Wait's Dangling by a Thread Angie Curtis has moved back to Haven Harbor, Maine. Angie is living alone now that Gram has gotten married and moved In with her husband and her cat, Juno. Angie has taken over the Mainely Needlepoint business that her Gram had run. Angie is doing well with the business and looking to expand with internet offerings. She is making new friends and getting reacquainted with former friends. Angie meets Jesse Lockhart, known as " The Solitary " as he lives on King's Island which is three miles across the water from Haven Harbor. The island is a sanctuary for the Great Commorants that Jesse protects. A very wealthy newcomer to the area wants to buy the island to build a residence. This would destroy the bird sanctuary. This man is flying in Jesse's cousin to help get Jesse to sell. The claim will be that Jesse is incompetent to live out on the island by himself. Dave Perry (Jesse friend) who needlepoints with Angie takes her and they boat out to the island to talk to Jesse. Dave gets shot by an arrow that Jessie shoots at him. While Dave is in the hospital, Jesse is found murdered. Will the sale go through now with ease without Jessie blocking it?? An interesting cast of lively, colorful, diverse and very realistic characters. This is a town divided between those who want to bring new growth in the economy versus those who want to save and protect the bird's nesting island. Who killed Jesse? What will happen to the island and the birds? Dave had three kittens in his barn when he went into the hospital. Angie adopts Beatrice nicknamed Trixie. Patrick adopts Bette, the tuxedo cat and Gram cares for Snowy until Dave is home. Each chapter starts with a verse , description of a sampler from the 1800 era plus a brief history of the stitcher or a quote from a stitchery publication. This is book # 4 in the Mainely Needlepoint series. It can be read as a stand alone. I volunteered to read this eBook. Thanks to Kensington Books via NetGallery for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
Jesse Lockhart lives on one of the tiny islands several miles off the shore of Haven Harbor. He lies there alone protecting endangered the Great Cormorants. He becomes upset when his island is threatened which causes him to defend the island which causes the physical harm to his best friend and Mainly Needlepointer, Dave. Angie and the Mainly Needlepointers work to create a way to help Jesse by selling items to raise money. Unfortunately, not in time to save Jesse's life. Now Angie and her friends must figure out who wanted Jesse dead before another person becomes a victim.
Title: Dangling by a Thread - Mainely Needlepoint Mystery Book 4 Author: Lea Wait Published: 10-25-2016 Publisher: Kensington Books Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Crafts and Hobbies; ISBN: 13-978-1496706263 ASIN: B01BAYWZHU Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley My Rating: 4.5 Stars I received a copy of Dangling by a Thread from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. . Description From The Pubisher: The Mainely Needlepointers are about to learn that no man is an island—especially when greedy developers want his land . . . Hermit Jesse Lockhart lives alone on King's Island, three miles east of Haven Harbor, Maine, where he's created a private sanctuary for the endangered Great Cormorants. But when a wealthy family wants to buy the island and Jesse's cousin Simon petitions for power of attorney to force him to sell, Jesse is the one who becomes endangered. Mainely Needlepointer Dave Perry, who befriended Jesse in the VA hospital, rallies the group to his defense. Angie Curtis and the ravelers stitch “Save the King's Island Cormorants” pillows and sell T-shirts to pay for Jesse's legal counsel. But tragically, on a visit to the island, Angie finds Jesse dead. Now the search is on for a common thread that can tie the murdered man to his killer . . . The characters as always are diverse and interesting. I did notice a softening of Angie brisk manor, I did like Jesse Lockhart, a bit dour and very solitary he has dedicated himself to preserving the rare Cormorants. Unfortunately greed abounds in today's society as well and is blended well into the story line. Ms. Wait has managed to deliver a gripping story told with flair. The reader will find strong characters, colorful descriptions of places and events and a mystery the will keep you guessing. My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
A very good mystery that also manages to highlight the challenge of endangered birds and real estate development. Yes, the development could bring jobs and wealthy people to spend money locally. But there are only certain places the cormorants can nest. The bird concerns weave into the story well without overshadowing the mystery.
Book 4 is not leaving me dangling by a thread--I am sold on this series. Combining war veterans, cormorants, needlework, orphaned kittens, and a mystery made for a very good read despite some very sad people. One of the features I really am appreciating in this series are the chapter introductions. Instead of only quotes, Lea Wait adds little vignettes about each needlework sampler. The samplers are quite interesting but not uplifting. They do not make me wish I lived then!
Dollycas’s Thoughts grco_nigelvoadenterathopiusI am always excited when Lea Wait has a new book released. This time we are drawn right into the story as we travel to King’s Island, one of the many islands off the coast of Maine. This one is a nesting ground for some Great Cormorants and it is inhabited by just one person, Jesse Lockhart. He travels across the water 3 miles to Haven Harbor for his mail and supplies. He leads a solitary life and will do anything to protect “his” birds. When a well to do visitor to Haven Harbor decides he wants to purchase the island and build an enormous house, Jesse refuses to sell. But Jesse owns the island jointly with his cousin and the man is not giving up. Jesse asks his friend Dave Perry for help in halting the sale. Dave, one of Angie’s needlepointers asks her for her assistance but before they can even get a plan together Jesse, not his birds become the hunted. Now they need to find a way to save Jesse’s birds and find his killer. I became invested in Jesse and his cause right away. I was sad that he became the victim. I love bird watching and even with all the great descriptions and information the author provided about Great Cormorants I wanted to know more. She also includes sampler sayings and information at the beginning of each chapter. Angie is a wonderful main character. Her relationship with her grandmother always touches my heart. Dave Perry plays a major role in this story. Through him we also meet 3 new furry baby characters. Patrick and his mother have returned to town but he is still recovering from his injuries. There was also a real sense of community in all of Haven Harbor about the island and the birds. The author’s writing style starts slow and builds so we get a chance to engage with the characters before they become a victim or a suspect. The needlepointing took a bit of a backseat to the mystery but the Mainely Needlepointers were helpful as Angie tried to eliminate suspects. Her friends make great sounding boards, but Angie’s best friend, Sarah Byrne, is involved in a new relationship that has her a little distracted. About half way through the book the pace picks up and the book becomes very hard to put down. Lea Wait definitely brings Maine and her characters to life in each and every one of these stories. To fully enjoy them and realize the way the characters evolve I encourage you to read them all and in order. Each contains a wonderful mystery too!
DANGLING BY A THREAD is Lea Wait’s fourth entry in her ‘A Mainely Needlepoint’ series. Ms. Wait is a local Maine author and is popular for her adult ‘cozy mysteries’ and her young adult historical fiction titles. I like this particular series - especially the colorful book covers, the clever book titles, and the chapter headings. There is an interesting theme to the series - the Mainely Needlepointers group. The characters are interesting and evolve with each title. The descriptions of the small Maine coastal community, Haven Harbor, are realistic. The plot has tension and brings in aspects of small-town, coastal Maine life. In this title, there is the ‘save the Cormorant’ angle; the sale, development and privatization of coastal islands and habitat; the ever present tension between the super rich and average working class people; and the gulf and tensions between local vs. from-away inhabitants. My only negative comment is about the abruptness of the ending. I don’t have enough of a ‘tying everything together’ feeling. One minute (or page) you are reading about who did what to whom and the next page, it’s ‘the end’. I need/want a bit more detail.
Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait is the fourth book in A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series. Angie Curtis has been back in Haven Harbor, Maine for three months. She is the manager of her grandmother’s business, Mainely Needlepoint. Angie is out early one morning, and she notices a stranger docking a skiff. Angie has not seen this man before and follows him as he goes about his duties (does anyone else find this odd). After some inquiries, Angie finds out that he is called The Solitary. He lives on King’s Island and only comes to Haven Harbor every couple of months for supplies. His real name is Jesse Lockhart, an Iraq veteran who was injured in Afghanistan. Jesse is friends with Mainely Needlepointer, Dave Percy (met in rehab). Jesse needs the quiet of the island, and he feels he is protecting the Great Cormorants that nest on King’s Island. The Great Cormorants are a threatened species (just before extinct). They need a certain type of environment to thrive, and King’s Island is perfect for them. A big yacht has docked in Haven Harbor. It belongs to Gerry and June Bentley. They have decided that King’s Island is perfect for a vacation home. Jesse does not wish to sell the island. Unfortunately, he jointly owns the island with his cousin, Simon. Gerry Bentley flies in Simon to woo him into selling. They want to have Jesse declared incompetent so Simon can sell the island to Gerry. When the hear what Gerry and Simon are up to, they head out to King’s Island to warn Jesse. Jesse is on high alert and shoots an arrow at Dave (into his leg). The police go out the next day with Angie and find Jesse dead. Jesse did not deserve to die in this manner. He was a quiet man who was just trying to protect some birds. Angie is determined to find Jesse’s killer. Dave, Angie and friends are also working to protect the island from being developed. Will they succeed in their endeavors? Dangling by a Thread can be read alone. Lea Wait updates the readers on what happened in the previous novels. I must admit that this was not my favorite book in the series. I thought too many pages were devoted to Angie’s thinking and contemplating about life, living alone, the antics of her new kitten, and Patrick West (the man she would like to date). I thought the concept for Dangling by a Thread was a bit weak. Angie had just met Jesse, but she dives in to save his island and solve his murder. A majority of the book is devoted to friendship, family, and Angie’s interest in Patrick West. I give Dangling by a Thread 3 out of 5 stars (I am being a little generous). The murderer was obvious. One little statement gives away the identity of the killer. Some information is repeated a few times (and it was not necessary). I really got tired of hearing about Dave’s poison garden (and it was not used in the murder). The chapters are very short and choppy (it was annoying). I hope the next book in A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series is better.
Haunting, well-written mystery! Dangling by a Thread, Lea Wait’s fourth Mainely Needlepoint Mystery is the best yet in this series. Wait’s character Jesse Lockhart, whom locals called The Solitary, is haunting. Sleuth Angie first spots him stepping ashore in Haven Harbor and follows him, intrigued, through the morning fog. I was hooked! Deftly, the author reveals his lifestyle, his backstory, and his cause so that I’m committed, not only to bringing Jesse’s killer to justice, but also to saving the threatened birds Jesse protects on his island. This is a meaningful slice of life in Maine, wrapped up in a clever mystery, not to be missed!
To begin this review let me say, Haven Harbor, typical small town USA, has all the nosiness and caring of any quaint small town. Everybody knows everyone and their business. Invariably. secrets are not secrets very long in a small town. Secondly, I loved the needlepoint verses and history of the verses which appear before each chapter. Also, the cookie recipe found in the back of the book will be my next recipe to bake. Author Lea Wait crafted several characters worthy of the term villain in Dangling By A Thread. Development of these characters emphasized the length humans will go to achieve their ends. Ms. Wait had many thread to bring together to create a solid story which she did skillfully. The pace of story never slowed as Ms. Wait penned a nonstop mystery. I found author Lea Wait kept the suspense and intrigue at high peak throughout the story-line and did not reveal the culprit until the end of the book. Surprised by the identify of the killer, my mouth hung open. In concluding this review, I found Dangling By A Thread, a solid well-written cozy mystery which will entertain for hours. Furthermore, the writing was clean, clear, and easy to read and the story-line intriguing. I enjoy books which have continuing characters from book to book. As you read the books, you find yourself knowing the characters and their personalities. Ms. Wait crafts characters which seem real and small towns which could be any small town in America. RECOMMENDATION DANGLING BY A THREAD: STARS 4 I found Dangling By A Thread an enjoyable well-written book. Ms. Wait's writing was clean, clear, and easy to read. I would not hesitate to buy this book for myself or a friend. Finally, I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest book review. Books reviews of any novel are dependent on the book review author’s opinion. Consequently, book reviews on line under my name are my opinion.
Dangling By A Thread is the fourth book in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series. I always enjoy stopping by Haven Harbor, Maine to visit with the interesting residents of this quaint little seaside village. One morning as Angie is enjoying a morning cup of coffee and the solace only a visit to the docks of Haven Harbor can provide for her, she spots a man rowing in from King’s Island. She does not recognize him and proceeds to ask some of the locals who he is. Dave, a member of the Maine Needlepointers, tells her that his name is Jesse and that he lives alone on King’s Island where his main goal is to protect the nesting area of the Great Cormorants. As Angie and Dave are about to land on the island to visit with Jesse about an attempt that is being made to purchase the island, Jesse shoots Dave in the leg with an arrow. The injury is not life-threatening but will lay Dave up for a bit. It is soon learned that Gerry Bentley, an uncle of Patrick West, is the person that is interested in purchasing the island so that he may build a MacMansion there. Patrick is back in Haven Harbor, recuperating from burns received from a fire at his mother’s, Skye, home. When Angie and police return to King’s Island to discuss the assault on Dave, the find the dead body of Jesse. Angie and the Mainely Needlepointers take up the cause to keep King’s Island as a sanctuary for the birds. Angie in the meantime hopes to get Patrick on her side and to convince his uncle to abandon the plan to purchase the island. Wait does an excellent job of making the reader feel “at home” in all of her books by providing a realistic description oof the community and providing a cast of interesting characters. As with the other books in the series, this has interesting descriptions of embroidery work from the 1700’s. Also, a recipe is included. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Angie Curtis has been running her needlepoint business in Haven Harbor, Maine. One misty morning, she sees Jesse Lockhart. He’s a hermit who lives alone on King’s Island, three miles east of town. His island is a sanctuary for endangered Great Cormorant seabirds. But, when a wealthy family wants to buy the island, Jesse’s life is also endangered. When Angie finds Jesse’s body, can she help Jesse’s friend Dave find the culprit before the island is sold and the Great Cormorants disappear? This was a wonderful mystery with many interesting characters and a puzzling plot. I love how Ms. Wait describes Maine. She makes the scenes more vivid, more real. Each character had their own idiosyncrasies, which made it intriguing to figure out the culprit. I felt the ending was a little bittersweet. I wanted to totally dislike the “bad guy,” but I felt sorry that these events took place. I love Ms. Wait’s writing, and look forward to the next installment. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait is the fourth book in the Mainely Needlepoint series. Although I had only read the first book in the series, I didn't get lost or confused. This book could be read as a standalone. I liked Angie much better in this story than in first book that I read. She seems to be softer now, not so prickly with a chip on her shoulder toward the town. I really liked how she worked with the police to solve the murder. She did ask questions of people but not in a confrontational way. The story line was smooth and steady; and there were the usual red herrings to keep me guessing until the reveal. All in all a good way to spend a couple of afternoons. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Dangling by a Thread, written by Lea Wait is a surefire page turner! In this book, Angie meets Jesse Lockhart, a local hermit who prefers to live a solitary life on King;s Island, where his one passion is taking care of the Great Cormorants, a "threatened" bird species. Local needle pointer Dave Perry is a friend of Jesse's, and when word spreads that a wealthy couple want to purchase King's Island as a vacation spot for a million dollar home to be built on, Dave tries to warn his friend. Before Dave can actually warn his friend, he becomes the victim of a senseless accident that leaves him hospitalized. Angie and her needle point family do all they can to help Jesse, but they might to be too late. In the last review I wrote for this series, I expressed concern for Angie and her drinking. I was stunned to see that the drinking was curbed in this book, it was a very pleasant surprise. While Angie is still trying to come to terms with her past, she is making some dear friends and seems to be finding her way in the quaint town of Haven Harbor, Maine. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was an exciting read and I felt I could relate better to Angie in this story. I am glad I decided to read this book, the changes in Angie were noticeable and the author really wove a wonderful tale that was hard to put down. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.