Death Among the Doilies (Cora Crafts Mystery Series #1)

Death Among the Doilies (Cora Crafts Mystery Series #1)

by Mollie Cox Bryan

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Overview

“The perfect weekend getaway: crafting, food, and a murder or two!”—New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon

For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . .

Praise for Mollie Cox Bryan’s Cumberland Creek Mysteries:

“Scrapbookers and hobby cozy fans will enjoy this delightful holiday escape.” —Library Journal on A Crafty Christmas

“A satisfying and surprising read.”—Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author on Scrapped

“Though-provoking and well-paced . . . A great story, well told!”—Juliet Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author on Scrapped

“A font of ingenuity . . . superb entertainment.”—Mystery Scene magazine on Scrapbook of Secrets
 
Includes crafting tips!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496704641
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/30/2016
Series: Cora Crafts Mystery Series , #1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 443,241
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

MOLLIE COX BRYAN, author of the Cora Crafts Mysteries and the Agatha Award-nominated Cumberland Creek mystery series, is also an award-winning journalist and poet.  She currently writes and crafts in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Please visit her at molliecoxbryan.com, where you can sign up for her exclusive newsletter. For scrapbooking, recipes, and other crafty-freebies, join her on Pinterest at pinterest.com/molliecoxbryan.

Read an Excerpt

Death Among the Doilies


By Mollie Cox Bryan

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2016 Mollie Cox Bryan
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0464-1


CHAPTER 1

Did Jane just say "police station?"

"What did you say?" Cora Chevalier said, then typed on her laptop: Every detail — from the mundane cleaning of the chestnut floors and ordering of broom straw and beeswax, to crafting centerpieces and designing class curriculums — has been attended to.

No wait — attended to? Was that right?

"Cora!" Jane said, bringing her attention back to the voice on the phone.

"I'm sorry, Jane," Cora said, turning away from her computer. "Writing about our first craft retreat takes more focus than blogging about crafting paper lanterns or making bird feeders out of old teacups and saucers. I'm in the zone. But you have my full attention now. Did you say you're at the police station?"

"Yes. Please pick up London from school. We'll talk about this later," Jane said, with exasperation in her voice. Cora's best friend throughout childhood, and now her partner in a new business, Jane and her daughter lived in the carriage house on the property.

"But wait —" Cora said, but Jane was already gone. Cora pictured her sophisticated-looking, long-legged friend sitting at the police station, surrounded by Barney Fife types. A totally unfounded image, of course; she'd never even seen a police officer in her new hometown. They now lived in North Carolina, which was also where the fictional Mayberry was located, but Indigo Gap was no Mayberry.

Why was Jane at the police station? What was going on? It was odd that she couldn't get away to pick up her daughter from school. Why wouldn't the police allow her to pick up London?

Cora pressed SAVE on her blog post, glanced at the clock on her computer, and realized she'd need to hurry if she was going to fetch London. She dreaded going inside the school. Because she wasn't an actual parent, she wasn't allowed to collect her from the car. For being in such a small town, the school was extremely concerned about security. Maybe it had something to do with the recent suspicious death of the school librarian.

Cora left her attic apartment, which also housed her makeshift office, and walked down the narrow half flight of stairs to the third story. The door opened to a wide hallway. Four bedrooms, already prepared for the guests, were located here. The lemon scent of polish tickled Cora's nose as she took in the gleaming chestnut floors before descending the next flight to the second floor, also shiny and smelling clean and fresh. She moseyed down the half flight to the landing before the main story, where she always paused to take in the stained-glass window, its colors vibrant or soft depending on the time of day. Crimson, gold, and shades of blue glass pieces formed an image of Brigid, goddess or saint.

After moving into her new home, Cora had done some research on both the history of the house and St. Brigid and discovered that Brigid was a goddess in ancient Ireland. She was the goddess of poetry, fire, the hearth, and crafts, an appropriate deity for a craft retreat. Through the centuries in Ireland, the myth later became tangled with stories of the abbess and much later, the saint. These stories became so enmeshed that it was difficult to tell the Brigids apart.

Cora loved to muse about Brigid and thought of her as her patron goddess. The original owners of the house must also have had a strong connection to Brigid, as they had immigrated from Kildare, Ireland, where St. Brigid's Cathedral still sat.

Cora ambled down the rest of the stairs to face a mess in the foyer. She was knee-deep in a shipment of broom straw, which she navigated her way around. Their first guest teacher, Jude Sawyer, an award-winning broom maker, hand selected and ordered the straw for the upcoming weekend retreat.

Now, where had she left her purse? Cora worked her way around the boxes and moved toward the kitchen, which was in the back of the house and where she usually left her purse.

Ah-ha! She spotted it on the kitchen counter. She grabbed her crocheted bag and turned to leave, running smack into Ruby, the woman who came with the house. Literally. She was grandfathered into the mortgage. She'd lived in the gardener's cottage for years and wanted to stay. Luckily for Cora and Jane, she was a gifted herbalist and fit right in with their plans for the old place.

"Oops!" Cora said, dropping her purse and bending over to get it.

"Where are you off to in such a hurry?" Ruby said, sounding accusatory.

"I'm off to pick up London. Something's come up with Jane." Cora was again thinking of Jane at the police station — she wanted to laugh the image off, but ominous feelings tugged at her.

What the heck was Jane doing there? Where was the police station, anyway? Cora had witnessed much of Jane's troubled past and hoped this incident was not a harbinger of more trouble heading her way.

"Okay. I need to talk with you," Ruby said, following Cora to the door.

"Sure," Cora said. "But can it wait until I get back?"

"I suppose. It's about the beeswax shipment. They sent me the wrong stuff."

"Great." Cora sighed as she slid in her car. "Just what we need. We'll take care of it later."

Ruby stood with hands on her hips, shaking her head as she watched Cora drive off.

"Take a deep breath, girl," Cora told herself. She'd smooth things over with Ruby after she picked up London. Ruby, a slightly stooped white-haired woman of a certain age, used specific suppliers for her herbal crafts. But if Cora was going to pay for them, she thought she should get a say in it. Simply one of the little hiccups in establishing a new business, Cora told herself. There had been plenty — and she expected more.

Getting the place in shape and up to code had been a challenge, but things were finally coming together. The paper-craft room was almost finished. The fiber-arts room still needed a lot more work. And her first three-day retreat was scheduled to start Thursday night with a welcome reception. Classes were to be led by Cora herself, a guest teacher, and Ruby. Nine women registered to stay, plus three locals signed up for the classes. Cora couldn't have been more pleased with the number. Oh sure, they could take more crafters, but for their first retreat, nine was manageable.

Cora parked the car in the school lot, and noted the snaking line of cars full of harried parents. She was impressed with herself, as she'd reached the school a few minutes early. Cora had been to the school before and knew the earlier she arrived, the better. She walked into the office and was met by a well-coiffed receptionist. "Can I help you?" the woman asked.

"I'm here to pick up London Starr."

"Are you on her approved list?" She gazed at Cora over the top of her glasses.

"I think so," Cora said. Something about the woman's tone made her self-conscious. Her perfectly made-up face and hot-pink nails tapping impatiently on the desk didn't help matters.

Cora tried to remember if she'd even brushed her hair today. At least she had gotten dressed earlier than usual because of the expected deliveries. She wore her favorite 1970s vintage blue baby-doll dress with leggings and red tennis shoes. Nothing wrong with what she was wearing, yet this woman spewed bad vibes. Was it Cora's unruly red hair? She ran her fingers through her bangs and tucked a few strands behind her ear.

"Name?" said the receptionist.

"Cora Chevalier."

"Yes, Ms. Chevalier. You are on the list," the receptionist said, after checking her computer files.

Cora stood a little straighter, now that she'd met with official approval.

"Ms. Teal?" the receptionist said into the phone. "Please send London Starr to the front office. She'll be right down," she said to Cora and went back to her work on the computer.

Cora shifted her weight, looked at the clock, and folded her hands together in front of her. The office behind the receptionist buzzed with end-of-school-day activity. Phones were blaring, backpacks were handed over, and weary office workers glanced at the clock.

Soon the door flung open and there stood London, holding Ms. Teal's hand. When she spotted Cora, the girl ran toward her.

"Cora!" she said and hugged her, but then immediately asked, "Where's Mommy?"

Cora was just about to blurt out the news when she realized that everybody in the little school office was within hearing range. Best not to say, Your mom's at the police station.

She reached for London's hand. "Let's go, sweetie. We'll talk in the car."

CHAPTER 2

Indigo Gap was exactly the kind of small town Cora dreamed about moving to when she envisioned a major change in her life. Time had almost forgotten Indigo Gap. Located in the mountains of western North Carolina, it had been bypassed by major transportation systems — like railways, highways, and so on. While the town had moved forward with some things — like electricity and plumbing, thank goodness — many of the original streets and much architecture from its founding days in the early 1800s still existed. Even a few of the stone streets had been left alone — now closed off to cars, but not to pedestrians. As Cora drove toward her new home on the other side of town from the school, she reminded herself that though this place was perfect for her new life, it was a small town and she certainly didn't want the rumor mill cranking about Jane being at the police station. That's all she needed.

One bad incident could mean disaster for her new business — and for those who took a chance with her.

London had forgotten her earlier question about her mother and did nothing but sing to the Stevie Nicks track playing in the car. Cora smiled, approving of the child's good taste in music. Cora adored London's singing — the unbridled, off-key gusto that only a five-year-old offered.

Jane was still not home when Cora and London arrived. London hopped out of the car with her Frozen backpack sliding off her shoulders, the blue of the bag almost matching the girl's eyes.

"Why don't we go into the kitchen and get you a snack?" Cora said.

"Do you have any of those peanut butter cookies?" London glanced at Cora, and then she twirled down the back sidewalk.

The cookies London wanted were not cookies at all but rather Cora's special peanut butter-oatmeal protein balls. The protein balls offered no added sugar and were full of vitamins and protein. What London didn't know wouldn't hurt her, Cora mused. The two of them walked around to the back of the large Victorian home. Cora pushed open the iron gate, which was original to the property, and sauntered down the flagstone sidewalk and up the stairs to the back door of the screened-in porch. London led the way — or rather skipped and danced the way, singing her own tune.

"What did you learn in school today?" Cora said, opening the back door.

"I met the new librarian. The old one died, you know, so we had to get a new one," London said, flinging her backpack onto a kitchen chair.

"What's the new one like?" Cora asked, reaching into the fridge to get the "cookies."

London started to reply, but was interrupted by the doorbell.

"I'll be back," Cora said. Was she expecting another delivery? She didn't remember. She thought she had everything she needed by this point.

She headed down the chestnut-floored hallway to the front door. The floors alone had almost convinced her to buy the house when she had first toured the place. The inspector said that because of all the chestnut used in the house, it would be the last place standing in town if a disaster ever occurred.

She opened the door to find the caterer for the retreat. Uh-oh. She had forgotten about their meeting. "Hi, Ms. Day, come in. Please excuse the boxes. I just got in a shipment of broom straw."

"No problem, Cora. It won't take long to go over and finalize these menus," Darla Day said. She was a young woman with a crisp and clean look, with a personality to suit. She wore a light blue oxford shirt, tiny pearl earrings, and a gold chain with a heart-shaped locket.

"I was hoping Jane would be here, but I'm afraid she's indisposed," Cora said. At the police station. "In fact, her five-year-old is in the kitchen. I need to check in on her and I'll be right with you. Please take a seat in the sitting room," she said, gesturing to the room she had taken such pride in furnishing with overstuffed chairs and couches, big pillows on the floor and around the fireplace, and the arts and crafts made by herself or other generous crafters. The Moroccan-tiled mosaic table was a gift from one of the women in the shelter. A lush chocolate- colored macramé wall hanging hung over the fireplace. Hand- loomed earth-toned rugs were scattered through the room. When Cora mentioned her dream of opening a craft retreat, crafters donated their work — she never asked. Somehow, the room came together as a sort of upscale shabby-chic space that beckoned with warmth and cozy ambience.

"London?" Cora called as she entered the kitchen.

London peeked up over her picture book. "It's a good story, Cora." The child didn't want to be bothered.

"I'll read it later but now I have a meeting in the sitting room. Do you want to come in there with me?"

London's eyebrows lifted as if to say, "I'm reading, why don't you leave me alone?" This was a child who had never been treated like a child. As much as Cora loved Jane, she felt Jane had always expected a bit too much from her daughter.

"Or will you be okay here?" Cora asked.

"I'm good," London said, and popped another protein ball into her mouth.

Well, okay, then.

Cora left her alone, went into the other room, and sat down next to the caterer on the big velvet sofa. "Now, what do you have for me to review?"

"Local wine and cheese for the opening reception," Darla said, and presented her with an itemized list and a contract to sign.

After reading everything over, Cora signed her name, trying not to let the cost give her heart palpitations. They were not set up to cook and serve food to large groups of people — yet. The kitchen left a lot to be desired. The retreat fee included a welcome reception, plus three lavish brunches. On the last night, they scheduled a dessert party. Cora hoped this arrangement placed her in good stead with some other local cafés and restaurants. Her guests would be venturing out for their own meals from time to time, even though she planned enough food for the brunches that they could possibly snack on the rest of the day. Snacks were important to creativity.

"We're getting as much local produce in for your brunches as we can. But what about the dessert party? Do you want to go with a chocolate theme or a seasonal theme — apple pie, pumpkin pie, and so on?" she asked. When Darla said chocolate, a youthful expression came over her face. Cora then wondered if Darla was younger than her first impression implied.

Cora thought a moment about her dessert choices. Her first inclination was always chocolate. But the retreat was advertised as a fall harvest and Halloween retreat. "Will we have plenty of apple and pumpkin food otherwise?"

Darla nodded. "Chocolate then?"

Cora couldn't resist. Her French roots made chocolate a necessity to her life. At least that's what she told herself.

A commotion erupted in the kitchen, and Jane's voice came trailing down the hall.

"You didn't need to worry about me, sweetie, I was just at the police station being fingerprinted," Jane said as she entered the room, with London in tow.

Darla lifted an eyebrow as she caught Cora's eye.

"Jane," Cora said. "I'm so glad you were able to make it. This is Ms. Day, the caterer for our retreat."

Jane held out her hand. "Nice to meet you," she stammered.

Darla nodded. "Well, actually, I think we are about done here." She stood, shook Jane's hand, never making eye contact, then immediately began gathering her things and shoving them into her bags. "We'll see you Thursday. Call me if there's anything you need before then," she said.

"Okay," Cora managed to say before Darla hightailed it out the door.

A flummoxed Cora turned toward an equally confused Jane.

"Was it something I said?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan. Copyright © 2016 Mollie Cox Bryan. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Death Among the Doilies 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
I want to attend one of Cora's Retreats! DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES by Mollie Cox Bryan The First Cora Crafts Mystery Cora Chevalier decided she needed a major change in her life and, leaving her job as a counselor at a women's shelter, moved to the small town of Indigo Gap. Now she's converted a Victorian property into a craft retreat center and she's preparing to welcome her first guests. What she's not prepared for is the police taking her best friend in for questioning for the murder of the school librarian! DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES touches on some serious issues; Cora was a counselor at a women's shelter and seeing some of the atrocities those women had to face left her suffering from panic attacks, hence the desire to move and start a new life. Characters here have dark secrets and troubled pasts and newcomers aren't always welcomed. These are themes not often seen in cozies, but are a welcome addition that creates a more realistic story. The concept of a retreat also helps with realism in that new characters will be coming and going providing new and unique victims and suspects on a regular basis. Bryan uses an interesting writing technique in DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES. Though the book is written in the third person, the point of view shifts back and forth between Cora and her best friend, Jane. By doing so readers are able to gain more insight into one of the suspects (Jane) and a more well rounded view of the events going on. Although it may sound disconcerting, and at first it gave me pause, Bryan uses the technique adroitly and it reads as a natural progression. Mollie Cox Bryan creates a new environment in DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES. I can easily picture that gorgeous Victorian with all it's outbuildings being lovingly restored. I want to attend one of Cora's retreats to get away from my reality and learn new crafts. I suppose I"ll just have to console myself with the fact that I can enjoy the activities vicariously from the comfort of my own home as I read. While I won't get a real vacation, odds are much less likely that I'll get involved in a murder investigation! Crafting Tips Included. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
This is a great book; this book this the first book in the Cora Crafts Mystery series written by Mollie Cox Bryan. Cora Chevalier, is a blogger in a small town called Indigo Gap, North Carolina. She has spent most of her savings to open a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian. But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk. She decides to put her sleuthing skills to the test to find the real killer. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
Debb23 More than 1 year ago
Great start to a new series. Cora was a counselor at a women's shelter and decides to restart her life for health reasons. Her friend Jane with her daughter join Cora in starting a craft retreat. When a body is found and eyes turn to Jane, Cora steps in to help find the real murderer. I admit at first I wasn't enamored with Jane but when Ms. Bryan lets us see inside Jane's head a certain points in the book, I enjoyed her much better because I was seeing her point of view, I found that a refreshing change. The characters are very likable and I would love to go to this retreat. Cora is an good mix of weak and strong and it is fun seeing her character develop. I fell in love with Ruby a feisty woman who lives on the property and helps with the retreat. The mystery was interesting with plenty of twists that kept me guessing. There was one discovery made that took me totally by surprise, I did not see it coming. A very enjoyable read and I look forward to the next as I will definitely be continuing on with this series. There is the added bonus of some craft directions in the back. * I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review, and this is my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first in a new series by author Mollie Cox Bryan and the first book I have read by this author. I love to do many different crafts so this book was a wonderful read for me. The setting is a small town in North Carolina where Cora Chevalier and her best friend, Jane Starr, have renovated the Kildare House into a place for craft retreats. While planning and throwing their first retreat, Jane becomes a person of interest in the murder of the school librarian. Although the cops are working the case, Cora cannot allow her friend to go to jail for a crime she did not commit. Cora can also not allow the bad press to ruin this new venture for them. Cora decides to get a little crafty and do some snooping on her own. Will she put herself at risk with this choice? I cannot wait to read the next book of this series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first book of the new series. I can't wait for the second book in this series.
Judi_Dorsey More than 1 year ago
This is author Mollie Cox Bryan's first book in her Cora Crafts Mystery series and also the first book I have read by this author. I found this book very entertaining and a fun read! The story follows main character Cora, her best friend Jane, and a host of other interesting characters as they make their way into the world of crafting retreats at Cora's new home, Kildare House, in Indigo Gap, North Carolina. Having just visited the mountains of western North Carolina this summer, I was delighted to find this story set there. When Cora's friend, Jane, is accused of murdering the school librarian, Cora springs into action to clear her friend's name. During the course of her "unofficial" investigation, secrets about the other characters are discovered. I had a hard time putting this book down in my desire to learn more about the mystery and secrets:) I felt the story was very well written and kept me guessing until the very end as to who the real murderer was. Mollie Cox Bryan was not afraid to explore a few riskier topics throughout the story and I appreciated the honesty of the subject matter. It was refreshing to have characters that showed their vulnerabilities. I very much look forward to reading more books in this series as they become available and also plan to read Mollie Cox Bryan's Cumberland Creek Mystery series! I received an ARC from the author via the Snazzy Elite Review Crew in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Lynette381 More than 1 year ago
Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan was one of the best new mysteries that I have read in a long time. Having never read any books by Bryan, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying this book. I know people say never to judge a book by its cover, but I did, and I thought it was going to be boring. However, Bryan did a great job of weaving a story between the covers that kept me coming back for more. With not a lot of information about any of the characters, the book starts off with Cora and Jane having a conversation about the police station and Jane’s shady past. As you keep reading, you learn more about Cora and Jane and how they met, and about Jane’s adorable daughter, London. As Cora and Jane are getting ready for their debut crafting retreat, Jane gets accused of murdering the town librarian, and Cora takes it on herself to clear Jane’s name in order to restore peace. But there are a lot of secrets that are being held, and with the hunky lawyer’s help, Cora manages to figure out whodunit just in the nick of time. A page turner for sure, I will patiently await the next installment to this Cora Crafts Mystery series, if not to find out what new mysteries she and Jane will be called upon to solve, but also to find out how the budding romance between Cora and two somebodies turns out. I will be hunting down other books by Mollie Cox Bryan while I wait for another in this series. As a favor to the author for giving a fair and honest review, I was able to read this book for free in advance of it being available to the public. Thank you!!
Servedogmom More than 1 year ago
Death Among the Doilies is the inaugural book in the Cora Crafts Mystery series by Mollie Cox Bryan. Set I in Indigo Gap, NC, the reader is introduced to Cora Chevalier. Cora is rebuilding her life after dealing with a difficult life situation causing PTSD. Now, she’s a craft blogger who is hosting a crafting retreat in her new abode, the Kildare House, an old Victorian home. The reader is also introduced to Jane Starr and her young daughter, London, who live in the carriage house. A talented potter, Jane, previously tried to kill her abusive ex-husband, Neil. An herbalist and candle maker, Ruby O’Malley, came with the house and lives in the gardener’s cottage. Ruby’s son, Cashel O’Malley, is an attorney who assists friends when necessary. Sarah Waters, the school librarian, was murdered and Jane becomes a person of interest because of her background and a unique problem with her fingerprints. In an attempt to clear Jane of murder charges, Cora and Cashel want to interview Josh Waters, Sarah’s ex-husband. When they arrive at Sarah’s house, they discover that Josh has been murdered! Ms. Bryan skillfully disseminates information related to domestic violence, the long term affects it has on the victims, as well as, human resilience and how one can turn negative experiences into productive, beneficial outcomes. Ms. Bryan, also, presented a variety of ways in which old items can be repurposed. The plot and subplots are skillfully integrated and keep the story flowing seamlessly. Death Among the Doilies is a fast paced, read filled with humor, suspense, and hints of romance that keep the reader guessing. Directions for several craft projects are included at the end of the book (tea cup bird feeders sound interesting). I highly recommend this new series to cozy mystery fans and look forward to reading more of the adventures of Cora and Jane. Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed in this review are my own
Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
I've been meaning to give this series a try for some time now so I'm glad that I finally did just that. This book was an enjoyable cozy mystery although I did have a few issues with it. Let's start off with the positives first though! This author has created some really great characters with Cora and Jane. I adore cozy series where I also adore the main characters. In this book, Cora has started a new business by opening a "craft retreat" where fellow crafters can go and spend the weekend crafting all types of things together. I don't know that I would consider myself a crafty person necessarily but I do enjoy trying different things (when I have the time). I've been wanting to learn to knit for years but haven't yet taught myself - my plan is to learn by watching YouTube videos. I'm getting off track here but I loved the idea of a mystery series featuring crafting so on to the never-ending TBR list this went. I really felt like this was a unique set-up to this cozy mystery series which made it stand out to me. I loved reading about the different arts and crafts - my favorite was actually the candle and soap making which sounds like something I would definitely enjoy doing! I need to learn how to do this as well now! One of the things though that I didn't care about with this series though is kinda difficult to put into words. In this book one of the characters falls into bed with another (no this wouldn't be considered a spoiler at all I wouldn't think), and I didn't care for the way that this was portrayed. There was a kind of judge-y feel to it and I can't really describe it any better than that. All I know is that it took me out of the story while I was reading which is why it bothered me. I was able to get sucked back in though so ultimately I enjoyed this book. Just a few minor quibbles which maybe lowered my rating from 4 stars to 3.5 stars. I found the mystery portion of this book to be very well done. I didn't guess any of the ending which is always a good thing! I also found myself unable to stop reading at the end. I just had to know how everything was going to turn out! All in all, I ultimately did enjoy this beginning to a new to me mystery series. I'm planning on reading the second book soon and have already added it to my TBR list. I'm always looking for new cozy mystery authors to follow and I do think that Mollie Cox Bryan will be one of those authors that I continue to read. I really enjoyed reading about the crafts and am inspired to try to teach myself knitting yet again. I feel like this would be the perfect winter hobby for me! I would recommend this book to cozy mystery and mystery fans as well with only a slight hesitation. Recommended! Bottom Line: A good beginning to this cozy mystery series and I will be reading more! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This is a new series by an author that I enjoy. The craft theme is still here, but it is a very different series. This series is set in Indigo Gap, a fictional town located in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is a small town with a great atmosphere. It has everything you come to expect from a small town in a cozy mystery including artisan shops, quaint restaurants, pretty churches, and so on. Cora, the main character, is a well-written, strong female lead. She had previously worked as a counselor at a women’s shelter in Pittsburgh. She had seen many things that upset her and eventually gave her an anxiety disorder. She used crafts to help the women she worked with heal as well as to bond with one another. When she left the job due to her anxiety, she purchased and renovated Kildare House, to become a Craft Retreat. Kildare House is a beautiful Victorian home with a carriage house and a cottage. The other two main characters in the story are Jane, Cora’s business partner and close friend who lives in the Carriage House and Ruby, a quirky character who "came with the house" and lives in the Cottage. Jane and Cora met at the women’s shelter after Jane left her husband. She is a survivor who decided that her new life was worth fighting for. She and her daughter London are basically part of Cora's family. The friendship between Cora, Jane, and Ruby is a big part of this story and made me care very much about these characters. The initial murder in this book actually occurred before the book started which was a bit different. As it turned out, when Jane went to get fingerprinted to volunteer at London's school, her fingerprints were similar to those found at the murder scene. This put her in the spotlight as she was a "Person of Interest". Of course, this could ruin the new business that Cora was starting, so she began to investigate to clear Jane's name. The characters who came to the retreat were fun. They got in some minor trouble with a male crafter, but overall they bonded over their crafts and filled out the story nicely. The plot moved quickly and the ending, while it surprised me, fit the story well. I am looking forward to meeting up with Cora, Jane and Ruby in their next outing at the Craft Retreat. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, lots of twists to keep you guessing, & craft instructions at the end of the book!! Love it!!?
Jani8 More than 1 year ago
This book is the first in a new series by Mollie Cox Bryan and she does a remarkable job with it. The premise is a youngish woman (Cora) and her best friend (Jane) turn an old mansion in small town North Carolina into a craft retreat. This is the first weekend it is open and unfortunately there is a murder from a few weeks earlier to mess things up. The police question Jane regarding the murder and things continue to heat up when a second murder happens. One of the reasons I liked this book is it even has some people in it from her other series. I also like the idea of a craft retreat. I wish I could do that! I’m looking forward to reading the next book.
bwilhoite More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. I'm so glad the book club I'm apart of picked to read it. I don't think I ever would have assuming it's not my type. Although there are craft talks and great tips, you can totally enjoy this book without being into crafting. Cora and Jane are setting up and ready to have their first crafters retreat. Things get messy but the show must go on! I love Cora and Jane.
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
A new author and new series for me and I am very happy with my reading choice! I really like the premise of the craft shop and its retreats plus the characters are a good mix. One of the most clever things was how doilies can be upcycled. A fine reading start!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like crafts and cozy mysteries so I enjoyed it, but it was not spectacular. The mystery was so so, at times I didn't like the main character so much. All single men in town were apparently gorgeous. A pleasant way to pass the time waiting for your favorite author to release their next book
TastefullyTracy More than 1 year ago
This was a great start for what is sure to be an excellent series. The character were developed nicely as the story progressed and I loved the idea of friends starting a business in a small town and becoming part of the community. What a unique idea, a craft B&B, makes me want to see if they actually do exist and to perhaps visit one. Can't wait to read the next installment!
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Death Among The Doilies - Cora Crafts Mystery Book 1 Author: Molly Cix Bryan Published: 8-30-2016 Publisher: Kensington Books Pages: 320 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuths ISBN: 13-978-1496704641 ASIN: B0190HGVVK Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley My Rating: 4.5 Stars I received a copy of Death Among The Doilies from NetGalley and the Publisher in Exchange for my honest review. . Cora Chevalier left her stressful life as a counselor at a women's shelter for the slower-paced life as the owner of a craft retreat. With the help of her friend, Jane Starr, a local potter, Cora has a tight schedule. Then her friend's fingerprints are found at the scene of the gruesome murder of the much loved local school librarian. With the town out for justice and rising expenses of converting her home into a welcoming retreat Cora is pushed to find the real killer and clear her friend's name. Will she complete the renovations and clear Jane or will the killer stamp her out first? Fast paced with a story line that will capture you from the very beginning, Mollie Cox Bryan brings her usual flair to the reader. Using subtle clues and a few red herrings she will challenge readers to figure out the killer before the big reveal. The characters are well balanced and believable. If you enjoy cozy mysteries or are wanting to try the genre, then Death Among the Doilies is a great read and I give it a 4.5 out 5 stars rating.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In Death Among The Doilies, the first book in the Cora Crafts Mystery series, author Mollie Cox Bryan weaves an intriguing cozy mystery tale with a craft theme twist that follows the amateur sleuth adventures of craft blogger / craft retreat owner Cora Chevalier, as she tries to prove the innocence of her best friend, potter Jane Starr, who has become a person of interest in the suspicious death of Sarah Waters, the local beloved librarian. Cora was a counselor at a women's shelter in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her blog, Cora Crafts a Life, blogging about her life as a counselor and crafter, as a creative and therapeutic outlet. But when the stress of her counseling job led to a severe panic disorder, Cora made a major life change by turning her successful money-making blog into a craft retreat business in the small mountain western North Carolina town of Indigo Gap. Cora bought the Kildare House, a Victorian estate built in 1892, and transformed it into a crafter's retreat. Best friend Jane Starr, a potter with a past history of spousal abuse and her five year old daughter London, moved with Cora as a business partner also looking to start her life anew. Cora and Jane inherited elderly renter, Ruby O'Malley, a herbalist, who came with the sale of the estate. Just a few days away from the opening of the crafter's retreat, Jane is suspected of murdering local librarian Sarah Waters. Concern for her best friend and their new business leads Cora to embark on an amateur investigative adventure to clear Jane's name and save their new business. Death Among The Doilies is an intriguing whodunit tale with a craft theme that easy peaked my interest. This entertaining tale has enough quirky characters, witty banter and humor, drama, secrets, and surprising twists and turns, that will easily keep you guessing the identity of the murderer. You can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that ensues as Cora tries to solve the murder and prove Jane's innocence. Cora's amateur investigative adventure unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, suspense, and a touch of romance that easily left me wanting more. As a crafter, I really enjoyed reading this cozy mystery, especially the backstories into Cora, Jane, and Ruby's lives; and I loved that the author included instructions for a variety of crafts and recipes at the end of the book. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I really enjoyed the author's rich description of the Appalachian Mountain town of Indigo Gap in western North Carolina and it's colorful townsfolk. The author transports the reader into the quaint small town filled with cobblestone streets, beautiful historical homes and businesses, and a tradition of craft artisans, historians, and antique collectors. The wonderful description of this rustic small town deep in the mountains will make the reader want to visit Indigo Gap and attend a crafter's retreat weekend. Death Among The Doilies is an entertaining cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur in Indigo Gap, while providing you with a nice dose of southern charm and humor. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review.
TessT More than 1 year ago
FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Cora Chevalier is living her dream. She moved to Indigo Gap and set up an old Victorian mansion to host crafters who can come for a weekend to expanding their creativity and renew their spirit. She is in partnership with her childhood friend. Jane wants to start a new life for her daughter away from her abusive ex-husband. The last thing they expect is a violent murder with Jane named a person of interest. This is not the way to start their new life. What can Cora do to help? Her solution is to investigate the crime and help the police solve the murder. What could go wrong? The picturesque North Carolina town is filled with interesting and unique people and is the perfect setting for this suspenseful cozy. Cora is determined to clear her friend. I enjoy a feisty woman who is both intelligent and caring. The interaction between Cora and Jane shows affection and friendship. They work well together. Lawyer Cashel O'Malley is charming and a rogue. He great to have in your corner. I love the hint of attraction between Cora and Cashel. When you add the crafters here for the weekend retreat, Cora has a new bunch of problems to deal with. Mollie Cox Bryan has written a suspenseful mystery that pulled me in. I loved the surprise twists and the unexpected happenings. It made it difficult to determine who the killer was and why they did it. I must admit that I didn't see the ending coming. What a shock. I can't wait to see what Cora's next adventure will be. In addition I enjoyed the craft projects that were included. I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Death Among the Doilies is the first book in the Cora Crafts Mystery series This was an enjoyable start to an interesting new series. Cora has left her stressful job of managing a shelter for battered women and has moved to the peaceful town of Indigo Gap. She purchases a Victorian house, which she plans to use as a crafting retreat. Shortly before the first retreat is to begin, Sarah Waters, the local librarian is murdered and Cora’s friend Jane, who is part of the retreat’s staff, is suspected of killing her. Jane, it seems, has violent past and circumstantial evidence places her at the scene. But Cora doesn’t really believe Jane has murdered Sarah. As she begins to investigate into Sarah’s past. There are many unanswered questions and Cora soon finds more suspects with valid reasons for wanting to do away with Sarah. The book contains a very interesting cast of characters and a well- developed plot and story. Within the story, the crafts of the main characters are also discussed. Also included with the book are instruction for various crafts mentioned in the book. Will be watching for the next book in the series.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan is the first book in A Cora Crafts Mystery series. Cora Chevalier has moved to Indigo Gap, North Carolina and purchased a beautiful, big Victorian home called Kildare House. She is going to offer craft retreats with the help of her friend, Jane Starr (a potter) and her daughter, London (a little cutie). Her first retreat will feature Jude Sawyer, master broom maker. This will be a chance to work out the kinks. But Cora does not anticipate Jane being accused of murdering Sarah Waters, the school librarian. Jane’s fingerprints (partials) turn up at the crime scene, and she is immediately arrested (like that would be enough evidence in real life). Ruby O’Malley, a gifted herbalist and lives on the premises (came with the house), calls her son Cashel (a lawyer) for assistance (he is also very handsome). Then Cora starts getting retreat cancellations from the locals. Cora knows she needs to find the Sarah Waters real killer before her business is in ashes. Cora has to investigate while handling her retreat. What Cora did not anticipate was ladies’ man, Jude Sawyer. He seems to be working his way through the women at the retreat (and then leaving upset women in his wake). Join Cora in her investigation and find out about the doilies in Death Among the Doilies! Death Among the Doilies is a good first book in A Cora Crafts Mystery series (there is much more going on in the book). I liked the characters (Ruby is a hoot), the small town setting of Indigo Gap, and the crafting ideas (especially Cora’s reuse/upcycling ideas). The Victorian house sounds gorgeous (I want it). The mystery was interesting and complex. The main mystery can be solved, but there are parts that have to play out (not everything is revealed to the readers). I give Death Among the Doilies 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). I hope that there will be more crafting (especially pottery) in the next book. We are given a lot of information about the main characters in this book (as expected) since it is the first book in the series. The author does a good job of laying out the character’s background and why they have relocated. I will definitely be reading the next book in A Cora Crafts Mystery series. I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
‘Death Among the Doilies’ is the fascinating first novel in the new Cora Crafts Mystery series by Mollie Cox Bryan. It is the first cozy mystery I’ve read by this author and won’t be the last! It takes place in the gorgeous, historic setting of Indigo Creek, NC. Cora is a craft blogger who has gained a large following. After one too many panic attacks in her previous position at a women’s shelter, Cora purchased Kildare House, a spacious 3-story Victorian home where she and her best friend/business partner Jane will lead craft retreats. Several rooms are furnished for out-of-town retreat guests. Jane and her daughter London live in the carriage house; Jane will teach pottery classes when the remodel is complete. Ruby, who comes with the property and has lived in the gardener’s cottage for many years is a gifted herbalist and will teach about their uses. Days before the first retreat was to begin, Jane had her fingerprints taken for the school she volunteers at, then the police learn that her prints are similar to partials taken at the recent murder of Sarah, the school librarian. That, and Jane’s prior record of shooting her ex-husband in self-defense, make her the only suspect. Ruby’s son is an attorney; Cashel O’Malley is very handsome and happy to help Jane with police interviews. A downside to living in small towns is how rumors spread. All of the local women who had signed up for a class canceled. Their property was vandalized. Women coming from other cities didn’t hear of the ‘scandal’ and arrived as scheduled, as did the craftsman who would teach the broom making class. As Cora asks questions and learns more about Sarah, she hears about quirks of the late librarian, her children, divorce, boyfriend – then finds Sarah’s ex-husband murdered. Cora also heard that Jane had people who could give her an alibi for the date Sarah was murdered, but she refused to tell Cora who she was with. There are several possible suspects who we learn more about as Cora begins vetting them. This author designs the most interesting, even eccentric characters, much to my delight! All are detailed as fits their role. I like Cora and her role as retreat facilitator, friend and sleuth. If I were in trouble, she’s the kind of friend I want! Jane is a sweetheart and a good mother who can be a tad over-protective to the adorable London. Ruby is an enigma who has vast, unrivaled knowledge of Appalachian crafts and lore. The story grabbed my attention at the beginning and held it throughout. There are several mysteries occurring of varying importance, making for an exciting read. The murders are primary, and at least two people have long-held secrets. There are twists and turns that probably rival some of the mountain roads while changing the focus of investigating, providing more clues and a red herring or two. A hint of romance, while not a main focus, brings a sweetness to the story while humor relieves some of the tension. I like the way the author introduces various crafts to re-purpose items, and shows how calming some crafts might be. I didn’t quite have the murderer(s) or vandals figured out, however, I found the resolutions and the novel overall to be completely satisfying. I highly recommend ‘Death Among the Doilies’; one doesn’t have to be a crafter to enjoy it! I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received.
ArizonaJo More than 1 year ago
Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan is the first book in a new cozy mystery series. It was an interesting read which shared a lot of information about different crafts. The setting is a small town in North Carolina where Cora Chevalier and her best friend, Jane Starr, have renovated the Kildare House into a place for craft retreats. The descriptions were lengthy of the house and the characters which is to be expected when the author is setting up the foundation for a new series. However, I confess that I found them to be a little tedious. The characters were likable; and I really enjoyed Ruby, the herbalist who lives on the property. The plot was smooth and there were enough red herrings and twists that kept me guessing until the reveal. I appreciated that Ms. Bryan showed Cora working with the police during the investigation instead of continually going off on her own. All in all it was a pleasant read. I was given an eARC by Kensington via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy a craft themed cozy mystery and this first in a new series, Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan is a sure fire hit! Indigo Gap, North Carolina, is the setting for this new series. Cora Chevalier is opening a craft retreat center where an artist of any type can settle in and work their magic. Joining Cora on this new adventure is her friend Jane, and Jane's young daughter, London. When rumors of a murder hit close to home, Cora fears her friend Jane will be accused of the deed. Cora believes in Jane's innocence, but is Cora wrong? Tune in August 30th to find out what happens in this fantastic new series. I look forward to reading more in this series. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.