|Willow Vanderfling's embroidery shop in Threadville, Pennsylvania, is where local stitcher Darlene Coddlefield will be awarded a top of the line Chandler sewing machine after winning a national embroidery contest. Willow is at her wit's end with the Chandler representative Felicity and Darlene's sulking teenage children and is glad when the entire affair is over and her shop gets back to normal.
Shortly after, Darlene is found dead under her collapsed sewing machine and her new Chandler machine. Felicity has already accused Willow of tampering the prize machine and spending too much time sewing on it. Soon it becomes obvious there is a long line of people pleased to see Darlene out of her way, including her husband, the fire chief.
Willow convinces her best friend Haylee that the best way to uncover a murderer is to become volunteer fire fighters, a leap that doesn't at first make a lot of sense, but ends up putting Willow in the right place at the right time to catch a murderer - or is she in the wrong place at the wrong time and will she become the next victim?
Willow and her friends are likable characters and Threadville sounds like a great place for stitchers and crafters, but Willow's investigation into Darlene's death doesn't make much sense as neither Willow's reputation nor that of the shop's is really ever called into question, except perhaps by the flakey Felicity. That said, there are plenty of believable suspects with believable motives and Willow takes great pains to ferret out the truth and not to make assumptions.
In between fighting fires and uncovering a murderer, Willow has plenty of time to spend in her shop, inspiring and instructing her friends and customers in the art of embroidery. Instructions for an embroidered scarf are included.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry