My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Cozy mystery
Format: E-book borrowed from library
Heat level: none
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In keeping with Goodreads' Mystery & Thrillers Week, I picked a mystery from my TBR list and gave it a go. There weren't a lot of choices on my list because I don't read this genre much, and I'm not sure that this is the book to change my mind. Anyway . . .
Hooked on Murder is a cozy mystery and the first book in the Crochet Mystery series. Our amateur sleuth in this series is Molly Pink, a forty-something widow who works as an event planner at a bookstore. At the start of the novel, Molly finds the dead body of Ellen Sheridan, the woman who leads the crochet group that meets at her bookstore. Of course, it is poor timing because the police arrive shortly thereafter and Molly becomes the prime suspect.
Let me start with the good points of this book. When I first saw that the book had a pattern and a recipe, I thought the author was going overboard. However, once I read the book I saw that both had their place and fit in nicely. The way Hechtman turned Molly into a crocheter was smooth, and she extolled the calming nature of needlework without sounding too New Age. I also liked that Molly was trying to carve out space for herself after losing her husband and she wasn't whiny about it. As much as I enjoy reading romances, it made sense to me that a woman who had been with someone for most of her life would want to savor the opportunity to make her own decisions.
Most of this book was bland enough to be inoffensive, but there was one aspect of the story that did annoy me. The jabs that the characters took at knitting got my back up a little. In one passage when Molly goes into a yarn shop for the first time and sees knitters working at a table, she says,
"I watched their needles clack as they went back and forth on rows of knits and purls. It seemed boring compared to the excitement of going in a circle and then having spaces and yarn going around edges like I'd done in the granny square."
There is also a showdown of sorts between knitters and crocheters earlier in the book. Maybe it is because I learned to knit and crochet at the same time many years ago and still do both, but I don't appreciate it when practitioners of one craft act as if it is superior to the other craft. As a stitcher on a budget, I didn't appreciate the subtle dig against buying yarn at craft stores like Michaels instead of at specialty yarn shops, either. There weren't many of these insults but enough to alienate at least part of the readership who would be most likely to pick up this book. I also wonder if this sentiment runs through every book in the series.
On top of all that, the recipe and the pattern at the back of the book were both rather basic. I imagine that the audience for this kind of book would already be experienced crocheters so a simple granny square would not appeal to them. The cake recipe didn't look like anything special, either.
Hooked on Murder ticks all the boxes on the contemporary cozy mystery checklist. There is the over-40 amateur sleuth, the boyfriend in law enforcement, the baked goods, and the craft theme. I wasn't able to predict the murderer, which is always good when reading a mystery. There wasn't anything especially compelling about the book, though. If it were a TV show, it would be the type of show that my kids used to watch with their grandmother because there was nothing questionable for either demographic. I can think of a few aunties to buy this for, but I can't see myself continuing with the series.
Hooked on Murder at Amazon
Hooked on Murder at Book Depository