Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Knot the Usual Suspects"

Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Knot the Usual Suspects, her latest Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery, and reported the following:
Here’s page 69, in its entirety, from Knot the Usual Suspects. We enter the page in the middle of one sentence (a line of dialog) and exit in the middle of another sentence (the POV character’s internal thought).
bombing before today, but now that I have, I know it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

We all agreed. After telling us she’d report back, Thea left the meeting looking pleased.

A few days later, Ardis and I were closing up shop for the day when Thea stopped by, looking even more pleased. Geneva had been lying across the blades of the ceiling fan, listening to us and dangling her arm as though trailing it in water. When the camel bells at the door jingled, announcing Thea, she sat up. Thea came in, stopped near the door, and put her hands on her hips. Always a stylish dresser, she’d worn a mix of browns—from creamy to dark chocolate, including knife-creased trousers, a pair of killer heels, a creamy silk tunic, and what could only have been the stole she’d been knitting since spring.

“I am awesome,” Thea said.

“Hold your arms out and let’s see.” Ardis motioned for Thea to twirl.

Thea’s turn was more of a stately rotation than a twirl, but she spread her arms, showing off the lacy leaf pattern and her fine handiwork. She’d used fingering-weight wool in a rich chestnut brown several shades darker than her skin. “Welcome to the debut of my mocha mousse stole,” she said, advancing on the counter and stopping with a shallow bow.

Geneva clapped.

“You’re right,” I said. “It is awesome. Will you think about letting the mannequin wear it for a week or two?”

“Oh, please, please, please, please!” Geneva said. “I know I will look fetching sitting on its shoulder.”

Somehow I didn’t think “fetching” would have been
The first word, “bombing,” is sort of eye-catching, but will a reader who jumps into the book at this point have any idea what’s going on? Hard to say. “Bombing” doesn’t seem to upset the characters, though, because the next paragraphs find us in a shop admiring a piece of knitting. The yarn shop mentioned in the series title? That makes sense, and that might explain the character named Geneva lying across the blades of the ceiling fan, “dangling her arm as though trailing it in water.” That doesn’t sound like a corporeal being, but the shop is haunted, so maybe she’s a ghost. The general tone, here, is of a gentle read, and that makes sense, too. This is a cozy mystery, where life, work, and knitting go on for the characters in Blue Plum, Tennessee, despite their penchant for stumbling across dead bodies.
Visit Molly MacRae's website.

My Book, The Movie: Knot the Usual Suspects.

--Marshal Zeringue