In this coastal New England town, folks take care of the needy—but someone is killing without kindness . . .
Ike Hamilton is a part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he’s fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles. Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.
But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who’s new in town. Angie’s convinced that young Leo is innocent—but if he didn’t do it, who did? Turns out Ike may have appeared simple-minded, but he knew a few secrets that someone might have murdered him to keep quiet. Angie sets out to trace Ike’s bottle-collecting route to find out what he witnessed—and for this killer, there may be no redemption . . .
About the Author
Lea Wait lives on the coast of Maine. A fourth generation antique dealer, and author of the Agatha-nominated Shadows Antique Print mystery series, she loves all things antiques and Maine, and she’s learning to do needlepoint. She also writes historical novels for young people set in (where else?) nineteenth-century Maine. Lea adopted her four daughters when she was single; she’s now the grandmother of eight, and married to artist Bob Thomas. Find her at Facebook, Goodreads, and at www.leawait.com
Read an Excerpt
Ornamental Accomplishments will but indifferently qualify a woman to perform the duties of life, though it is highly proper she should possess them for amusement.
— Hannah More (1745 — 1833), The LadiesPocket Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792
"How many from Haven Harbor died?"
Patrick held my hand as we joined the crowd of Haven Harbor residents walking toward the waterfront.
The bright sunshine of a late April day would have warmed us, even here on the coast of Maine, if a stiff sea breeze hadn't been blowing from around the Three Sisters, islands that protected our harbor from the full brunt of the ocean.
"One hundred and twenty-three. The first, a twelve-year-old boy who fell from the rigging, and the most recent, Arwin Fraser's father. His ankle caught in a trap rope and pulled him overboard two years ago. Gram wrote to me about it when I was in Arizona." I shivered, despite the heavy sweatshirt I was wearing. Five of my ancestors' names were carved on the large granite memorial near the town wharf.
"But Arwin lobsters," Patrick pointed out. "His father's death didn't discourage him."
"Men in his family have always fished or lobstered. He inherited his father's boat." Those who worked the waters knew the risks. Arwin had probably never considered another profession.
The words LOST AT SEA NOT FORGOTTEN were carved at the top of the granite memorial above the outline of a three-masted schooner and the list of names and years. The memorial had been raised in 1890, with ample space left to be filled in the future. So far all the names were of Haven Harbor men and boys, but more women fished and lobstered every year. Inevitably, some of their names would be added. The sea was an equal opportunity killer.
Like most Harbor residents, I'd attended the annual reading of the names and Blessing of the Fleet since I was a child, walking down from our house on the Green with Mama and Gram. Walking from the same home two of those men hadn't returned to.
Gram always reminded me that Blessing of the Fleet day was both a time to remember and a time to pray for the safety of those who still tempted nature's power every day by making their living from the sea. I remembered imagining the lives of those who'd been lost, many of them not much older than I was, but also enjoying the Blessing ceremony and knowing that our small community was praying together.
At a Blessing Day one hundred years ago the islands and the harbor and the streets of Haven Harbor would have been the same. But women gathering at the waterfront would have worn ankle-length skirts and their long hair would have been pinned under big hats decorated with the feathers of now-extinct birds. Men would have been somber in their best suits with high collars, or perhaps in their World War I uniforms. They'd be remembering comrades who'd fallen during the war, as well as those lost at sea.
Clothing might have changed over the years, but the parade of mourners hoping their prayers and the Blessing of the Fleet would protect our men from the sea's power was the same. As long as men and women made a living from the waters, mourning and remembering would continue, and names would continue to be carved on the monument.
No wonder the Greeks and Romans prayed to gods of the sea. Waters were unpredictable.
I shook my head, chasing pictures of the past away, and smiled at Patrick. Because of my ten years in Arizona I hadn't attended a Blessing since my senior year in high school. Certainly the reading of the names was one of the more somber yearly occasions in Haven Harbor, but the prayers that followed were joyful, hoping for fair winds and following seas, a good catch, and safe harbors for all those who made their living from cold Maine waters.
"Will Reverend Tom be reading the names and conducting the Blessing?" asked Patrick.
This was Patrick's first spring in Haven Harbor; his first Blessing.
"Local pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams take turns. They'll all be on the wharf today, but it's Reverend Tom's year. He and Gram went down to the town wharf a couple of hours ago to talk with the captains of the boats to be blessed and arrange the parade."
"The order of the boats to sail by and be blessed," I explained.
"Looks like everyone in town is here."
I nodded. Ed Campbell, head of the Chamber of Commerce, and his wife, Diane, were talking to Reverend Tom, while Gram was chatting with Sandra and Jim Lewis, who lived near me. I'd seen them around town and in church but didn't know them well. I'd admired their yard, though, filled with bright daffodils, late-blooming crocuses, and wide patches of lilies of the valley. Sandra must be a hard worker. She managed to take care of Jim, who was in a wheelchair, and garden too.
Across Main Street, Dave Percy and Sarah Byrne were walking slowly next to Ruth Hopkins. I waved as the crowd parted for Ruth and her walker. Dave and Sarah and Ruth were Mainely Needlepointers, along with Gram and me and Captain Ob and his wife, Anna, who were undoubtedly out on their fishing boat in the harbor now, waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Mary Clough and Cos Curran, who'd graduate from Haven Harbor High in June, were chatting with several of their classmates near Gus Gleason's Book Nook, where Cos has been working part-time this spring. Gus and his wife, Nancy, were talking to Henri and Nicole Thibodeau, owners of the local patisserie. Their hot cross buns had been even more spectacular than usual this year. I wished they made them all year round. Cindy Bouchard, the home health aide who took care of Henri's mother, who had Alzheimer's, was wheeling Madame Thibodeau.
Sergeant Pete Lambert was trying to direct traffic so a few cars could make their way through the crowd now filling the streets leading to the waterfront.
"Let's join Sarah and Dave and Ruth," I suggested, and Patrick and I maneuvered our way through the crowd to where our friends had stopped.
"Haven't seen you in a while," Patrick said to Dave as I hugged Sarah and Ruth.
"Seven weeks to go before school's over. Then I can see people other than teachers and students," Dave agreed. He taught biology at Haven Harbor High. "I don't know who's more ready for summer vacation, the kids or me."
"Good to see you out and about," I said to Ruth.
"Glad to be here," she agreed. "My arthritis is much better in summer, so I'm looking forward to warmer days. But this past winter you and Sarah and Dave were wonderful about making sure I got out of my house, even in snow and ice."
"Everyone needs to breathe fresh air sometimes," I agreed, looking around. "It looks as though everyone in town is here."
I held up my phone and snapped pictures of all the Mainely Needlepointers.
"Don't take pictures of me," said Ruth, trying to duck. "I'm too old. I don't want anyone to see what I look like now."
"We see you, and we love you," Sarah assured her. "But why the pictures, Angie?"
I shrugged. "Some of our website's out-of-state customers have said they're curious about us and our lives here. Someday I may come up with a newsletter, or put some pictures on our website. Or start a Facebook page."
"I suspect they're more interested in how our custom needlepoint will fit into their homes," Sarah answered, making a face as I clicked my phone. It was going to be harder than I'd thought to get relaxed, candid photos of the needlepointers.
"Probably a dozen students reminded me about the Blessing and told me to look for them," said Dave, looking over our heads toward the harbor. "Most will be with their families on working boats in the harbor today, but I was surprised at the number who said they'd be in their own."
"Kids planning to be lobstermen often start with their own skiffs when they're eleven or twelve," said Ruth. "Or they could be having sailboats or kayaks blessed. Used to be just fishermen and lobstermen who came for the Blessing. But every year more people in town get their recreational boats in the water in April and join the ceremony."
We'd found a spot near the wharf where we could hear Reverend Tom and see the growing line of boats. Fewer men lobstered now than when I was a child, so fewer lobster boats were in the line than I remembered, but Ruth was right. Their places had been taken by other, usually smaller, crafts. Most were normally anchored here in the harbor, but a few were moored at or near private piers outside the harbor. No one wanted to miss the Blessing.
"Look!" I pointed to the water. "Male eider ducks with the females!"
Patrick looked and then looked back at me. "So?"
"The males are the ones with the dramatic black and white coloring. Females are brown. We see males this close to land only during mating season, when they're courting."
"What happens after that?"
"The males go back out to sea. The females lay eggs and take care of their nests. When their ducklings are born, the females band together, like an extended family. In the summer you see maybe half a dozen females with forty or fifty ducklings. The group is called a raft of eiders."
"So the male eiders are handsome cads?" said Patrick, nudging me suggestively as he looked out at the ducks. "Like some human males?"
"Maybe. But today it's spring, and both sexes are together, and courting." I loved seeing the ducks together, even if it was for a short time, and then seeing the ducklings that followed.
Patrick was more interested in people than in ducks. He nodded toward a gray-haired man who was bent over and dressed in layers of torn and stained sweatshirts. "I've seen that man walking around town, and I keep forgetting to ask you who he is."
"That's Ike Hamilton," I said quietly. Ike had been around town since I'd been a child. I'd taken his presence for granted.
"I've seen him forage for empty bottles and cans," Patrick added. "See? He has a garbage bag, as usual, in that old grocery cart he pushes."
"That's one of the ways Ike supports himself," Dave put in. "He redeems the bottles. A good number of people in town save their wine, soda, beer, and liquor bottles and cans for him, and he makes rounds to pick them up. Five cents a bottle isn't much to most people, but it adds to Ike's Social Security disability income."
"Do you save bottles for him?" I asked.
Dave nodded. "I leave mine in a corner of my barn. He knows where they are and stops in every week or two to collect them. Saves me the pain of having to take them to the redemption center, and it helps him out."
"How does he get to the redemption center?" I asked out of curiosity. "Does he have a car?"
"Pax Henry, the postmaster, takes him and his bottles there every Saturday at noon, after the post office closes. I'm surprised you didn't know that."
"Guess I just never paid attention," I admitted. "Maybe I should be saving bottles for Ike too."
"It's a good deed," Ruth agreed. "When he stops to pick up my bottles, we chat a little. He always has a story to tell, or a bit of gossip he's collected along with his bottles. I suspect he stops at my house about lunchtime because I always invite him in to have a sandwich with me."
"Who's the boy with him?" Patrick asked. We all turned toward the end of the wharf parking lot, where Ike was standing.
A skinny teenager with long, straggly hair dropped a couple of bottles in Ike's bag. I assumed he'd then move on, but he didn't. He stayed with Ike. I took a couple of pictures of them together.
"I know all the kids in the high school," said Dave. "I've never seen that boy before."
He looked sixteen or seventeen and was wearing grungy jeans and a Windbreaker with a tear on the side. He and Ike talked a little, and then the pair moved on, together, toward the blue barrels Haven Harbor set out to collect recyclable bottles and cans on the wharf.
People moved aside to let the pair look inside the barrels, and the boy reached in, pulled out the empties, and tossed them into the bag Ike held toward him. After he'd emptied the barrel, they moved on through the crowd.
"That's Ike's young friend," said Ruth. "I've known that man for twenty years and never saw anyone helping him like that boy does. Some of us in town keep an eye on Ike, but I couldn't say he ever had any real friends except Jim Lewis."
"I do&ngrave;t know the boy," Sarah agreed. "But I've seen him around town with Ike the past couple of weeks. And you're right, Ruth. Before that, Ike was always alone. But that Ike sure can talk! Once I commented to him about the weather and he talked my ear off for fifteen minutes."
Dave frowned a bit. "That boy should be in school. I wonder where he's from, and how he hooked up with Ike." Dave turned to Ruth. "You know Ike's story. Does he have any relatives?"
She shook her head. "All gone now. He was an only child. He was slow, and for years his mother kept him close to home so he wouldn't be teased by other kids in town. I don't ever remember him having friends his own age, except Jim. They lived close to each other and spent a lot of time together as boys. But Jim's disabled now, of course. Ike's father died maybe ten or twelve years ago, and his mother a year or two later. He's always collected bottles, but until his parents died it was almost a hobby with him. It gave him something to do. Now the bottles are his job. He needs the money. After his folks died, Ike stayed on in the home where he'd always lived, but six winters back a nor'easter tore up an old tree in their yard and it fell through his roof. Ike stayed there a couple of years after that, using an old wood stove, but the house just fell down around him. The Chamber of Commerce convinced the town to condemn it. It wasn't safe for anyone to live in, and I'll admit it was an eyesore. Ed Campbell had just become head of the Chamber then. He thought Ike was an eyesore too. Ed wanted to move Ike to a home up near Augusta, but Ike refused. Instead, he moved into the garage at the back of the lot where his house had been. So far's I know, he's been living there ever since. Doesn't bother anyone. Has a toilet and sink in there his father put in next to his workbench, and a space heater for cold days. Folks at the Y let him shower there when he feels the need."
"Is he on welfare?" I asked.
"Don't know. But I remember talking with his mother, years ago, about his getting Social Security disability payments."
"I'm going to find out who that boy is," said Dave. "He may need help. Angie, come with me. If there are two of us, he may not feel threatened. Ike knows who I am."
I squeezed Patrick's hand as he nodded agreement, then followed Dave as he wove through the crowd. Reverend Tom's voice rose over the attendees, welcoming people to the Blessing of the Fleet and then beginning to read the names on the memorial.
"Davy Thompson, twelve years old, died at sea, May 14, 1697."CHAPTER 2
Friendships a name to few confirmed The offspring of a noble mind A generous warmth which fills the breast And better felt than e'er exprest
— Anna Braddock, Evesham Township, Pennsylvania, stitched when she was four- teen years old. The verse is circled by flowered vines above the Westtown School building, a horse and rider, sheep, ducks, other birds, and assorted plants.
"Ike," said Dave, putting a hand on the man's arm. "Good to see you."
Ike pulled his arm back but nodded. "Good pickings today. Always is at the Blessing."
Reverend Tom's voice continued. "Brothers Ethan and Aaron Thompson, ages sixteen and eighteen, died at sea, March 4, 1746."
"Who's your friend?"
Ike turned toward the boy, who was trying to blend into the crowd. Up close I could see the fear in his eyes as he looked quickly from Ike to Dave to me. "Leo's my friend."
"Leo," said Dave, stretching out his hand. "Pleased to meet you. I'm Dave Percy. I teach over at Haven Harbor High."
"I ain't going to school," said Leo, backing up farther and not taking Dave's hand. "I'm old enough not to."
Dave smiled. "Seventeen, then?"
Leo hesitated, and then nodded. Seventeen was the age Maine set for being old enough to drop out of school. Leo looked younger than that, but he was scrawny and nervous. He could be seventeen.
"No school," Leo said, looking from Ike to Dave and back again. "No school."
"I understand," said Dave calmly. "But if you should change your mind, or if you need help for any reason, come and see me. I live in the yellow house on Union Street. Ike knows where it is. Where're you from?"
Leo shook his head, pushed his way back into the crowd, and disappeared.
"Boy's wicked shy," said Ike.
"Is he staying with you, Ike?"
"Helps me with the bottles." Ike put his hand on his lower back. "Back's been bothering me something awful these days. Leo's young. Back doesn't hurt."
"He must be a help then," Dave nodded. "But if the boy needs anything, you let me know."
"He don't need nothing," said Ike. "I look out for him."
"I'm glad, Ike. You're a good man."
"I am," Ike agreed.
Reverend Tom's voice continued. "Abraham Winslow, age twenty-seven, lost at sea, August 31, 1847."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Thread on Arrival"
Copyright © 2019 Lea Wait.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great story. And a fun read.
I loved this series, and this addition is one of my favorites.
I have read all the books in this series. I have loved everyone of them. You get so invested in the characters. I love mysteries and I love trying to guess who is the murderer. She writes so beautifully I highly recommend
Ike Hamilton is a down on his luck man that lives in a garage with little heat and even less money, so who would want him dead? The police have their eye on Leo, a young man that was staying with Ike and helping him collect bottles and cans for cash. Dave takes Leo under his wing and he and Angie try to help Leo out of trouble. Another great read by the amazing Lea Wait! I enjoyed following the clues along with Angie and all of her helpers. I really enjoyed getting to know Dave a little better. It's always fun to learn new things about characters you thought you knew. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
The Mainely Needlepoint series is one of my favourites. Haven Harbor, Maine is a community that takes care of its own. Ike Hamilton is a man who has no family and is a bit slow. When his house was condemned, he moves into his garage. Ike survives by collecting bottles and cans. When Ike is bludgeoned and stabbed in his garage, Angie and her friend and fellow needlepointer, Dave step in to help Leo, the teenager who has been living with Ike. They are sure he did not hurt Ike, but there is so much they do not know. While Dave moves Leo in with him, Angie starts nosing around to see what she can find out. All my favorite characters were back in this book. The Mainely Needlepointers always have time to pitch in and help with the investigation. Gram and Pastor Tom also help out with knowledge based upon their ties to the church and church members. I also enjoyed seeing Patrick busy with his gallery, yet still developing his relationship with Angie. All these characters are well developed, realistic and very relatable. Each book in this series has us getting to know one of the Mainely Needlepointers more, this time it was Dave Percy. I enjoyed the mystery in this book. As Angie asked questions, there is more than one suspect introduced. Ike was an honest, upright man and he would not hesitate to tell someone they were wrong and threaten to tell someone if they did not stop their behaviour. Unfortunately, this left him with plenty of enemies. I did not suspect the culprit at all, yet when the reveal came, things fell into place that made it very believable. I definitely recommend this book and series to cozy mystery lovers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
I like the series, I liked this book but something just a little off, I found fault with the author’s continued use of the adjective wicked, example, wicked nasty, wicked crazy, seemed to turn up every few pages & kept throwing me off because it didn’t go with the rest of the story’s writing.
What makes you pick the next installment of a series? A continued plotline, the characters, the author? I find myself going with the last two more and more. Characters and settings that familiar to me are just as good as comfort food. Things have been a little tough around my house lately and discovering a new installment of Wait’s Mainely Needlepoint series was like a bowl of mac n’ cheese for me. Though she addresses tough issues she does it without bashing you over the head with them. Her books are just a good, satisfying read. I’ve enjoyed them all and this one doesn’t disappoint. Ike Hamilton isn’t homeless, but he is living below the poverty level and collects the town’s bottles and cans for cash. The Haven Harbor Chamber of Commerce see him as an eyesore and not the face they want the tourist to see when they come to town. When Ike is murdered, some feel it was a petty crime and want to take the quick solution. Angie wants justice for Ike and for the young man who is being accused. Little does she know she is about to open many eyes to what is really going on behind the closed doors of Haven Harbor. #ThreadOnArrival #NetGalley I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me access to the Advanced Reader Copy for my honest review.
Ike Hamilton has been a fixture in Haven Harbor, Maine for many years. He’s the one who collects cans and bottles from his neighbors and most of the businesses in town to supplement his disability checks. But, some people believe that he needs to go away, and someone took care of him permanently. The main suspect in his murder is a runaway teenager who found Ike’s body. Can Angie find out the truth before someone else is killed? Some authors have the ability to grab a reader and take them to another world, learning about different people, places and hobbies. The reader forgets about their troubles and enjoys the story. Ms. Wait has this amazing gift. I loved this book, its characters and plot were both absorbing and thought-provoking. What would we do if a homeless person was in trouble? Would we step out and help him/her? Would we take him/her in and give them a home? And, what if he/she were a suspect in a murder? I think that Angie showed a lot of courage to stand up and help the homeless teen get out from under the murder investigation and find the real culprit. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Haven Harbor holds an annual event, Blessing of the Fleet, which honors all those lost at sea over the centuries. While there Angie meets Ike Hamilton. Ike’s family home was crumbling down around him. The chamber wanted the property condemned but that doesn’t stop Ike, he just moves into the garage. With his disability money, the few dollars he made from bottle redemption and a little help from a few friends he made it on his own even taking in a young homeless man. But he always was afraid “the chambers” were after him. The town was shocked when Ike was killed in his garage. The teenager, Leo, who he took in was the one to find him and the prime suspect in the murder. Angie and her friend and needlepointer, Dave Perry, a high school teacher, believe the guy is innocent. Dave even takes Leo into his own home promising he will be available for any questions the police may have. He also starts to work with Angie to find the real person responsible for Ike’s death. Ms. Wait introduces readers to Ike Hamilton. An independent and very principled man, traits that may have played a very big part in why the man was killed. Before his death he also let us see his heart by opening up his “home” to another needy soul. I was upset that someone shortens his life. I was anxious to learn the “rest of the story” and the pages were flying. The author lays out a sad tale. A tale that took another life before the case was solved. All my favorite regular characters were back. The Maine Needlepointers were busy finishing up orders before tourist season begins, even a couple of custom orders, one I would love for my home. They also had time to pitch in to help Dave and Angie with their investigation. Gram and Pastor Tom are also very involved because there are so many ties to the church as more suspects are added to the list. Even Patrick lent a helping hand. All these characters are well developed and genuine. This core group drew me in from the first book in this series and their growth continues to bring me back for more. I enjoy following along with their everyday life almost as much as the mystery. This time getting to know more about Dave Perry was so good. The journey to solving the mystery was very well-plotted. I did have the actual killer in mind early in the story due to something I had witnessed in my own life. As the story continued my thoughts were clearly cemented and I almost cheered out loud as the reveal was made and the person got their comeuppance. Ms. Wait also gives readers the treat of sampler quotations at the start of each chapter. I always seem to read them twice, as I am reading the book and again after I finish to make note of ones I want to save and remember. I highly recommend this entire series!
amateur-sleuth, family, friendship, law-enforcement, cozy-mystery, maine, historical-research, needlework, teens, culinary ***** What a marvelous book! Putting the mystery aside for the moment, the chapter introductions each describe a sampler and its creator complete with a bit about her life in the late 18th or early 19th century and the East Coast town she lived in. It was like a trip through a fine museum, and I loved it! The mystery, characters, twists, and red herrings were very well done and the frustrations and puzzlements of those involved are so clear that the reader is so tightly caught up in the story that putting it down just doesn't feel like an option. The publisher's blurb does pretty well, and spoilers are just wrong, so I'll just repeat that I loved it! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you so much!
Thread On Arrival is the eighth book in the Mainely Needlepoint series. The story starts with Angie and David, her friend, a high school biology teacher, and poisonous plant expert are attending The Blessing of the Fleet. The Blessing pays homage to those that have lost their lives while working the sea and blessing the new season, fishermen, and their boats for a safe and bountiful season. While at the Blessing they see Ike Hamilton, Ike has been living in the families garage since the house was condemned and to supplement his disability check he collects bottles and cans and takes them to a recycling center. Ike is walking with a scrawny teenager. Ike introduces them to the young man, Leo, and says he is staying in the garage with and says that Leo helps him collect bottles and cans. David and Angie both feel that boy should be in school and tells him if he ever needs to talk to someone to come see him. The next day Leo appears at David’s door covered in blood and says that somebody has killed Ike. Angie and David want to believe that Leo is innocent of the murder. Detective Trask of the Maine State Police and Pete Lambert aren’t so sure, especially that all the Leo will share with anyone is that his name is Leo. Until they can learn more about Leo, David offers to take Leo into his home. The police are able to pull some strings and gets David appointed as his temporary guardian. Angie and David immediately get start looking at Haven Harbor residents as they learn that some residents feel Ike is an embarrassment to the community and could cause a decline of tourist coming to Haven Harbor. I love this series and for those readers who aren’t into embroidery don’t hesitate to read this series, as embroidery is only lightly touched upon. One thing that I particularly like is the description of embroidery done by young children at the beginning of each chapter. The story is well-written a wonderful cast of believable cast of characters. In this book, the reader will learn more about David’s background. Delicious sounding recipes are also included with the book I will be definitely looking forward to the next book in the series, Thread And Buried, due out in October of this year.
Coastal Maine Cozy Murder Mystery This lovely cozy mystery was a joy to read! It takes place in a small coastal town in Maine. The back story is all about needlework with some good cooking thrown in for fun. The mystery is a great whodunnit with lots of suspects and little evidence. I enjoyed the chapter introductions which were the description of some needlework samplers made from the 1700s and 1800s along with a brief bit about the artist and her life. All around it is a good book and now I want to read the entire series! I received this ARC for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
Every town has their traditions, disabled residents, and secrets and Haven Harbor Maine is no exception. Angie Curtis joins her townsfolk for their annual Blessing of the fleet where they remember those lost at sea and prepare for the upcoming season. During the festivities she meets one of the town’s disabled residents and a young boy who lives with him. Angie is enjoying getting reacquainted with the residents in her community and meeting new ones. The next day the young boy finds his friend murdered and Angie can’t bear the thought of the frightened young boy being blamed for a murder he didn’t commit, so she gets into sleuthing mode and takes a long hard look at who would want to kill this harmless man and why. While there are no clear suspects at the start, Angie begins finding that the dead man had quite a few secrets he was keeping and she needs to determine which one of them would kill to keep their secret hidden. The story was well written, the characters developed and enough red herrings to make you question yourself more than a few times as you continue to read. This is the first book of the eight book series I have read and it was perfectly fine as a stand alone. The other seven will go on my list of books to read.
All of the regular characters are in the Thread on Arrival (Gram, Sarah, Anna, Dave, Ruth, Reverend Tom) as they get ready for tourists to soon descend on the town and work on needlepoint projects for Mainely Needlepoint. I enjoy the descriptions of the projects and the sampler quotations at the beginning of each chapter along with descriptions of the sampler. Sarah Byrne is Angie’s best friend and owns an antique shop. We get historical information on political memorabilia (political buttons are valued by collectors) and learned the history of embroidered “pockets” (not the type in the seams of our clothes). There are lovely cozy moments as we follow Angie about her day-to-day activities. I appreciated that we got to know more about Dave Percy in this installment (he has a unique poison garden). The mystery was thought out with multiple viable suspects. I was able to identify the killer early in the story, though, based on previous books I have read, and I had a strong suspicion as to why. The secondary crime was more unique. I like how the reveal was done and was happy to see this killer taken down. There are recipes at the end of the book which includes Dave’s lasagna and Angie’s special birthday cake. Come along to Haven Harbor for good food, antiques, needlepoint, clear skies, and a pesky murder or two in Thread on Arrival.