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After an artisan is murdered at the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, everyone is on pins and needles. It's up to needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire to figure out who had designs on the dead designer.


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After an artisan is murdered at the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, everyone is on pins and needles. It's up to needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire to figure out who had designs on the dead designer.

30 review for Cutwork

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This was an okay mystery that by the end you could figure out whodunit just because there was no one else. It was also kind of odd because Betsy was investigating but it seemed like she didn't do a lot and this might just be because there were a couple of chapters from other characters view points.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wendy B

    SPOILERS! It was a struggle to read this book. In the past books, the main character Betsy did most of the sleuthing through talking to other characters. In this one, she didn't. About two thirds of the book was other characters talking about the person who died. I didn't feel the title had anything to do with the murder except maybe both things were cut. In the previous books, the needlework was directly tied to the murder. I almost didn't finish the book, I didn't like any of the characters an SPOILERS! It was a struggle to read this book. In the past books, the main character Betsy did most of the sleuthing through talking to other characters. In this one, she didn't. About two thirds of the book was other characters talking about the person who died. I didn't feel the title had anything to do with the murder except maybe both things were cut. In the previous books, the needlework was directly tied to the murder. I almost didn't finish the book, I didn't like any of the characters and still can't quite understand Jill and Lars' relationship. And the guy Betsy was seeing, there could have been so much more added to their relationship if Betsy had done more legwork than at the very end of the story. In the previous book, #6, was glad that Jill finally told whining Betsy to either claim being a sleuth or drop it. In this book, Betsy starts out saying she's a sleuth. Really? What happened to the shop? And she got so serious about it that she didn't do it in this book. There was no real interaction with the other characters in her shop. The old man who was recently hired didn't make an appearance at all and the way Shelley reacted to her new beau being pegged just bothered me. He's a killer and she's still pining after him. This was a hot mess and it took so long for me to get through the huge cast of characters, I didn't know who's story it was. If I pick up the next book in the series, it will be maybe next year. I did like the patterns in the previous books, except in this book because it didn't fit with the murder.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The 7th book in the Needlecraft Mystery Series. This book reminds me of my job in a round-about way. When I read this I was working at a bookstore and we had a book on Hardanger that was from our distributer. It was one of those books that if you had one or two copies it would languish on the shelf - but if you had 10 copies in a pile in the center of the Crafts table it would sell quite well. I milked that book for sales that way for about 2 years. Darndest thing. So when I read this book I fina The 7th book in the Needlecraft Mystery Series. This book reminds me of my job in a round-about way. When I read this I was working at a bookstore and we had a book on Hardanger that was from our distributer. It was one of those books that if you had one or two copies it would languish on the shelf - but if you had 10 copies in a pile in the center of the Crafts table it would sell quite well. I milked that book for sales that way for about 2 years. Darndest thing. So when I read this book I finally got to understand a little bit about Hardanger and cut out work. I never had a clue about what it was but this book opened my eyes to the artistry behind this craft and there was a fun little mystery to boot. I think that is why I enjoy these books as much as I do. Being a crafty grrl I really like to learn more about crafts surrounding the crafts I already know. Who knows when I might need to incorporate some cut work into my knitting? I think being open to other arts can often get the creative juices flowing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Another fantastic mystery with Betsy solving the crime! I didn't realize how much she would grow on me as a character from the first book. She's got a reputation to uphold now, and she needs to put all the puzzles together to save a not so innocent boy from a murder charge- or did he really do it? A great book in a great series, five stars this time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

    Betsy Devonshire solves another mystery in this, the seventh book in the series. You do not have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy this one. Betsy inherited Crewel World, a needlework shop, from her sister. Betsy solved the murder of her sister and kept the store. In this book, she is volunteering at an art fair in a nearby town in Minnesota, when a wood-carver is murdered just before the show opens for the day. The obvious suspect is a boy who has means and opportunity, but the motive Betsy Devonshire solves another mystery in this, the seventh book in the series. You do not have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy this one. Betsy inherited Crewel World, a needlework shop, from her sister. Betsy solved the murder of her sister and kept the store. In this book, she is volunteering at an art fair in a nearby town in Minnesota, when a wood-carver is murdered just before the show opens for the day. The obvious suspect is a boy who has means and opportunity, but the motive is weak. Betsy is sure he stole the money in the cash box, but the murder doesn't fit. The boy's family hires Betsy to solve the crime. She is put off by the boy's rudeness and lies, but is convinced he did not commit the crime. She begins to look for other likely suspects, one who have all three: means, motive, and opportunity. As in her other books, there are several suspects, but none quite fit the murder. While all this sleuthing is going on, Betsy blabs a secret and it almost costs her the friendship with Jill, a police who just landed an investigative desk job, which means she can now think of marriage and children. As in all the books, there is a lot of information about needlework. Hardanger, in this case. I enjoy the down-to-earth aspect of the art and work, because it is a metaphor for problem solving.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lena H.

    The last book in this series replaced a lot of the endless boring description with dialogue and action, unfortunately in this book the author opted to bring it all back and then some. Page after page was filled with stories that had nothing to do with the mystery and description of things that had no bearing on the scene. In one scene the author took the time to describe the entire room the main character was in, literally down to describing the nap of the carpet. And when the main character lef The last book in this series replaced a lot of the endless boring description with dialogue and action, unfortunately in this book the author opted to bring it all back and then some. Page after page was filled with stories that had nothing to do with the mystery and description of things that had no bearing on the scene. In one scene the author took the time to describe the entire room the main character was in, literally down to describing the nap of the carpet. And when the main character left that room to go to another room, the carpet followed. There was some legitimate investigating and when the killer was revealed the pieces of the puzzle fall together so beautifully I couldn’t help but think what a shame it was that this nicely choreographed mystery was hidden so deeply underneath a lot of junk. On the plus side, Betsy is actually nice to people (particularly Godwin) in this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bev Sturgis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nothing outstanding. Typical mass market mystery, but the murder occurred at the Excelsior Art Show. Fun to read about a show that I used to do. A wood carver is murdered and the police think that they have the murderer. In steps Betsy Devonshire, the owner of Crewel World, a local needlework shop and the local amateur sleuth.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marina Sinelnikova

    This makes me want to do cutwork. And I found the plot fairly interesting - though the good citizens of Excelsior continue to show their unpleasant side, what with getting friends into trouble for the sake of sharing a piece of gossip.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Belinda F. Collier

    I really have enjoyed this series! Love the setting and all the characters in this little hometown. I think Ms. Ferris does a great job of bringing her characters to life. Cqm't wait to start the next one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    When a fellow artist is killed at the art fair, and a belligerent teenager is accused of the crime, Betsy is asked to find out the truth. As Sally becomes involved with the killer, Betsy becomes more involved until the truth is found out. Another good read from Monica Ferris.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I enjoy this series because I’m a needleworker. My only gripe with this story is in how she revealed the clues Betsy used to solve the murder; it almost felt like something was missing. Her reasoning wasn’t quite so clear, in my opinion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mae

    Interesting to learn about hardanger!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I love these books. I'm now buying the entire set in hard copy so I can read them again. If you are even remotely interested in needlework, you'll love them.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan Forsgren

    Interesting and predictable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janell

    Ok mystery but a little far-fetched. On the plus side, the characters are enjoyable and the amateur "sleuth" is smart enough to include back up when she confronts the "villain"! However, I didn't like having the narration change back and forth from the main character to the killer. This can often work well, but in this case the transition was always confusing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie J. Campbell

    Meh.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Anothr good plot. PLus I learned quite a bit about hardinger and cutwork embroidery!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn Rykiert

    This book was an easy read and I enjoyed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    Cute

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    This was a good tale. Not my favorite but it speaks to greed and murder. And how the person who embodies them can be very clever and likable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol Wentzell

    Another beach read for neredleworkers

  22. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    Probably the most obvious of the 8 I've read in terms of who the killer is. painfully obvious.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    While Besty Devonshire, owner of needlecraft shop Crewel World and part-time amateur sleuth, is doing volunteer duty at Excelsior's annual Art by the Lake art fair, she learns that Robert McFey, one of the artists, has been murdered. It seems like an open and shut case; a local teenager, already known for minor drug and burglary offences, left finger prints and bloodied footprints at the scene and has been arrested for the crime. But his family, certain he is innocent of murder, ask Besty to inv While Besty Devonshire, owner of needlecraft shop Crewel World and part-time amateur sleuth, is doing volunteer duty at Excelsior's annual Art by the Lake art fair, she learns that Robert McFey, one of the artists, has been murdered. It seems like an open and shut case; a local teenager, already known for minor drug and burglary offences, left finger prints and bloodied footprints at the scene and has been arrested for the crime. But his family, certain he is innocent of murder, ask Besty to investigate. After meeting Mickey, she decides it is possible he didn't do it after all. Besty soon finds herself involved in the art world - and something out of her depth. All the same, she carries on as best she can, trying to understand all the people involved in the case - from deliquent Mickey to the wannabe goth daughter of the murdered man, from his best friend to his ex-business partner. As always, Besty comes through with the answer in the end, coming to understand not only who killed McFey, but how and why. This is a quick, pleasant little read. It was a perfect choice after the hard work of Kushiel's Dart. I slipped easily back into Besty's world and enjoyed the visit. I guess this could be said to be a formulaic novel. Besty solves another murder in which someone has been wrong accused and there's lots of peripheral needlework activity. But Ferris has a light, pleasant touch that saves these books and makes each one a fun romp that fills up a few afternoons and leaves the reader with an enjoyable memory of a cozy experience. They are fun rather than challenging and we all need that sometimes. There's also lots of development of all the familiar characters we've come to know so well. Jill makes a major change in her life, Godwin takes steps up the corporate ladder and Shelly gets a man. Their stories blend neatly into the narrative without taking anything away from the mystery and add depth to the book. Betsy generally solves her cases by understanding people, and Ferris gives us a lovely balance here of interesting new characters and further background and depth for our familiar friends. This is a stand-alone story. You don't need to have read any of the other books in the series to read this one; but why deny yourself the fun? [Copied across from Library Thing; 27 September 2012]

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Hagen

    Cutwork: a Needlecrafts Mystery, by Monica Ferris, b-plus, Narrated by Susan Boyce, Produced by Audiogo, downloaded from audible.com. the Excelsior Minnesota art fair is happening, and Betsy is involved volunteering for the fair. When an artisan is murdered there, the list of suspects is practically endless. Betsy Devonshire wants to help out in the police investigation. Her best friend, Officer Jill Cross, confides that they have a lead: A bloody footprint in the woodcarvers' booth matches that of Cutwork: a Needlecrafts Mystery, by Monica Ferris, b-plus, Narrated by Susan Boyce, Produced by Audiogo, downloaded from audible.com. the Excelsior Minnesota art fair is happening, and Betsy is involved volunteering for the fair. When an artisan is murdered there, the list of suspects is practically endless. Betsy Devonshire wants to help out in the police investigation. Her best friend, Officer Jill Cross, confides that they have a lead: A bloody footprint in the woodcarvers' booth matches that of a local youth. But when Betsy can't keep the news to herself, Jill gives Betsy the cold shoulder. Everyone's on pins and needles - and when the family of the kid in question asks Betsy to prove his innocence, she must first regain Jill's trust, then figure out who had designs on the dead designer. This is not one of Monica Ferris’ best. It’s pretty easy to figure out the murderer early on, but she does move along Godwin’s story in this book and provides tons of information about needlecrafts. I’m not a needlecrafts person, but the discussions of that craft in these books are fascinating even to me. The comic thing to me about these books is that each one starts by stating that Excelsior Minnesota is a quiet town where murder never happens, and in these books, murder happens every time, mostly in Excelsior. In fact, Excelsior is a quiet town along the shore of Lake Minnetonka.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The seventh book in the series takes us to an arts and crafts festival where Betsy is volunteering. On a rainy morning, she is shocked to hear that there has been a murder/robbery at the booth of a wood carver. Betsy gets herself in trouble by gossiping about the case, passing on some inside information from her friend and police officer, Jill. Betsy is asked by the family of the troubled boy who was arrested in connection with the murder to try to prove him innocent. She begins to realize that The seventh book in the series takes us to an arts and crafts festival where Betsy is volunteering. On a rainy morning, she is shocked to hear that there has been a murder/robbery at the booth of a wood carver. Betsy gets herself in trouble by gossiping about the case, passing on some inside information from her friend and police officer, Jill. Betsy is asked by the family of the troubled boy who was arrested in connection with the murder to try to prove him innocent. She begins to realize that the robbery motive does not add up, and starts accumulating a list of potential suspects, from the man's family to his business associates. The victim, Robert, sold his company and took up wood carving when he thought he had a fatal illness. The business failed, leading to an angry former partner, and his reduction in income, angered his wife and son. He also sold an insurance policy for upfront cash. Betsy is also dealing with some personal issues with her friend Godwin and his possibly abusive relationship with his boyfriend. Betsy must sort out the red herrings before time runs out on this case. Included with the story is a cutwork pattern and instructions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Fun as usual. I have come to realize I can always count on Ferris to entertain me without vexation. At first I was drawn in by the perfect capturing of life in a needlework shop, but now I think what surprises me most about this series is that she's actually starting to make me want to go to visit Minnesota -- that's quite a feat to accomplish on a dedicated California girl. In Cutwork Ferris made me yearn for an art fair. It seems like a coon's age since I've been to one and now I am itching to Fun as usual. I have come to realize I can always count on Ferris to entertain me without vexation. At first I was drawn in by the perfect capturing of life in a needlework shop, but now I think what surprises me most about this series is that she's actually starting to make me want to go to visit Minnesota -- that's quite a feat to accomplish on a dedicated California girl. In Cutwork Ferris made me yearn for an art fair. It seems like a coon's age since I've been to one and now I am itching to go. And I can *see* those wood carvings. I tell you I can! And I want one!!!!! dang it -- that's wonderful writing, but so annoying to want a fictional piece of art. The characters in this are so nicely rendered -- the teacher who has a life outside of her classroom, Jill's workaround for department rules, the pompous artist -- they are all lovely. In this particular offering I liked seeing Betsey finally seeing to be settled and feeling comfortable in her new life -- and man does Ferris make me feel for her --- I did cloister blocks once. Just once. I came, I tried, I snipped. Never again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Betsy is asked to help prove that a new 16 year old boy who has a long history with the police and courts did not take the next step, killing an artist at the art fair. She tells something to the local gossips that Jill Cross told her. This breach of confidence leads to rift in their friendship. Jill is hurt and stops talking with her and Lars is upset with Betsy also. To top all this off, Jill cannot fraternize with Lars because she is a sargent and he is not and they were not engaged or marrie Betsy is asked to help prove that a new 16 year old boy who has a long history with the police and courts did not take the next step, killing an artist at the art fair. She tells something to the local gossips that Jill Cross told her. This breach of confidence leads to rift in their friendship. Jill is hurt and stops talking with her and Lars is upset with Betsy also. To top all this off, Jill cannot fraternize with Lars because she is a sargent and he is not and they were not engaged or married prior to her promotion. But she and Jill become friends again and Betsy stands up at Jill's wedding. Betsy also does some research on how an artist becomes wealthy. She finds out that if an artist steals another artist work and claims it as their own they lose their standing in the art world. This is what Ian had done and Rob McFey (the artist killed at the art fair) found out that another artist had done just this and had made an item that showed it. He was going to out the artist and very publicly do so. The two men fought and Rob was killed by Ian.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    At the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, up and coming woodcarver Rob McFey (just guessing at the spelling--I listened to the audiobook) is found brutally murdered in his booth. The prime suspect is a good-for-nothing teen who stole the victim's cashbox, and the police are certain they have their man. Then Betsy Devonshire, who owns the Crewel World needlework shop in town and does investigations on the side, gets a visit from the boy's aunt. The family wants Betsy to prove that Mickey Sinclair is At the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, up and coming woodcarver Rob McFey (just guessing at the spelling--I listened to the audiobook) is found brutally murdered in his booth. The prime suspect is a good-for-nothing teen who stole the victim's cashbox, and the police are certain they have their man. Then Betsy Devonshire, who owns the Crewel World needlework shop in town and does investigations on the side, gets a visit from the boy's aunt. The family wants Betsy to prove that Mickey Sinclair is innocent. It's an uphill struggle, as the boy is an habitual liar with a foul mouth, few morals, and the worst attitude Betsy has ever encountered. She doesn't think he's a murderer, though, and takes on the case. I thought this one was well done, and the motive was unusual and interesting. As usual, the author researches her topic well--this time, fine art and the artists who create it--and there's lots of information about various stitching styles. In addition, the author advances the stories of the recurring characters, which will appeal to fans of the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    A pleasant cozy set in the present time in a small town in Minnesota, with the usual familiar characters: Betsy the amateur sleuth and needlecraft shop owner, Godwin her creative employee with flamboyant personality, Jill the policewoman, Mike the detective. Betsy is asked to investigate a murder at an art fair, after a juvenile delinquent is arrested. Betsy is the only one who believes the boy did not commit murder, although the circumstantial evidence is strong. The villain is obvious from the A pleasant cozy set in the present time in a small town in Minnesota, with the usual familiar characters: Betsy the amateur sleuth and needlecraft shop owner, Godwin her creative employee with flamboyant personality, Jill the policewoman, Mike the detective. Betsy is asked to investigate a murder at an art fair, after a juvenile delinquent is arrested. Betsy is the only one who believes the boy did not commit murder, although the circumstantial evidence is strong. The villain is obvious from the time the character enters the story, but the villain's motivation is not obvious, and Betsy's deductions leading to proof are interesting. A side story involving Jill and fellow policeman Lars strikes an odd note, serving only to alter Betsy's communication with her best friend, but it will be followed up in later books. While severe Minnesota weather often plays a significant part in this Needlecraft series, for this story there is only a rain shower, which has a small impact on the evidence.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    After an artisan is murdered at the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, everyone is on pins and needles. It's up to needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire to figure out who had designs on the dead designer. I must say that I have mixed feelings about this one. The mystery plot was good but the writing style is not the great work we usually get from Monica. Perspective seemed to jump around too much making it difficult follow at times. I found I had to re-read paragraphs frequently to keep up. I was g After an artisan is murdered at the Excelsior, Minnesota, art fair, everyone is on pins and needles. It's up to needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire to figure out who had designs on the dead designer. I must say that I have mixed feelings about this one. The mystery plot was good but the writing style is not the great work we usually get from Monica. Perspective seemed to jump around too much making it difficult follow at times. I found I had to re-read paragraphs frequently to keep up. I was glad to see some of the main characters back in prominence. Ms. Ferris gives us a lovely balance here of interesting new characters and further background and depth for our familiar friends. Jill makes a major change in her life, Godwin takes steps up the corporate ladder and Shelly gets a man. Their stories blend neatly into the narrative without taking anything away from the mystery and add depth to the book. So overall I would recommend this one.

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