Deadly Notions by
Elizabeth Lynn Casey fulfills the category “Book with a Pun in Its Title” for
the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge. It is the fourth in the Southern Sewing Circle
series. For punny titles, I could’ve gone with either with a cozy mystery or a
romance. I’d considered one of Sarah MacLean’s books for this prompt but chose
a cozy. I’ll probably still read The Rogue not Taken, anyway.
If you aren’t into sewing (or
didn’t work at a craft store in your youth), notions are all those little things
that fill sewing baskets. Notions include items like buttons, needles, fabric
tape, zippers, thread, clasps, pins, needle threaders, etc. Since the series
revolves around a sewing group, the title is perfect. In the story, everyone
thinks they knew who committed the crime. They all have some ugly ideas about
what to do about Queen Karen, I mean, Ashley Lawson, the victim. Deadly
notions. Love the puns.
In the small town of Sweet Briar,
trouble is raising its head. Our sleuth, Tori Sinclair, the librarian, helps one
of her sewing buddies with her kid’s birthday party. Melissa is deeply
concerned that the party will not be perfect. Once again, Tori invites her
friends to use the library and her revamped Children’s Room to save the day.
One mom at the party is a nasty piece of work. She criticizes everything,
including some of the children. She leaves the group hurt and grumbling. In
fact, many of Tori’s friends have complained about her, saying what they’d like
to do to her. Later, Karen, I mean,
Ashley is found dead in her car after the party, and everyone is suspect.
Our librarian, once again, works
to help solve the crime with her library and sewing skills. Also, being nosy
and asking questions as amateur sleuths should. It’s a cute little book, and the
ending is rather predictable. There is a rather tired subplot of Tori fighting
for man. But the characters are lovely.
This is why I like a cozy
mystery. The story doesn’t tax the brain, and we get to know the population.
I’ve read a few cozy series through—Diane Mott Davidson, Lilian Jackson Braun,
Alan Bradley, two of Charlaine Harris’s. These books are why series perpetuate.
Readers love to feel like they are coming home. We know the characters, and we
root for them, even if the plot is not the best.
The story spoke to me in a quirky
way. I’ve had Melissa’s experience with the snobbish, overbearing Ashley-type.
Some of the women in the town I live in use peer pressure like a vice. Every
kid had to have a birthday party every year, and the entire class needed to be
invited. Moms had to volunteer in the school and be dressed to the nines for
any event. I received many a wrinkled nose and stink-eyed look for not toeing
the line. The push to be perfect was intense. I think Ms. Casey’s portrayal of
Melissa accurately demonstrated the pressure on a mom with elementary-school-aged
kids. It’s insane to expect perfection at every turn, but here we are. Now that
I have teens, and am older, I can let all that roll off me. But back in the day,
it was palpable and ugly. (Of course, not from everyone, but as in this novel,
it only takes one bad apple.)
A cute short read.
I give Deadly Notions by
Elizabeth Lynn Casey Four Birthday Balloons (regular ones, nothing fancy, or
maybe one fancy one…)