Authors: Cricket McRae
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #Mystery Fiction, #Murder, #Investigation, #Murder - Investigation, #Women Artisans, #Spinning
"Cozy up for a finely crafted mystery-lots of twists and tangles, a most
entertaining yarn."-Laura Childs, author of Death by Darjeeling: A Tea
"A fast-paced contemporary cozy:'-Monica Ferris, author of Thai Die:
A Needlecraft Mystery
"McRae writes about characters that we really care about ... Sophie Mae
and her friends deserve many more adventures."-Booklist
"Sophie Mae is a top-notch cozy heroine-a young widow who's both
smart and wise. And Cricket McRae is great at juggling both an investigation and a romance ..."-Cozy Library
"Cricket McRae delivers another satisfying and clever novel with an intriguing plot-murder by botulism-great characters, suspense, and
many surprises."-Fresh Fiction
"Nicely paced without any time wasted, Heaven Preserve Us does a fine
job of leading the readers through the investigation with no false starts
or cheap side trips ... solid and entertaining."-Reviewing the Evidence
"McRae ably navigates the waters of small-town crime, establishing
believable characters and capturing the charm and camaraderie of the
denizens of Cadyville."-Gumshoe Review
"The characters are engaging, the story intriguing, and the book a pleasure to read."-Mysterious Reviews
*Lye in Wait was a finalist for the 2007 ForeWord Magazine
Book of the Year Award*
"[A] new tweak on the cozy, complete with credibly written characters possessing enough appealing eccentricities to keep readers happy."
"McRae crafts strong characters [and] spins a credible, enjoyable plot."Library Journal
"This is a cozy mystery that holds substance, suspense and clever twists
for readers."-The Coloradoan
"Lye in Wait is a wonderful start to a mystery series by a first-time author whose writing demonstrates a fluidity and polish more often seen
in veteran authors. The pacing is perfect ... There's lots to like in Lye in
"[A] fun addition to a popular genre ... This enjoyable mystery contains
plenty of twists and turns ... The main characters are likeable, funny, and
have believable lives "-Jaimie Bell, CurledUpWithAGoodBook.com
"Sophie is a breath of fresh air as a lovable amateur sleuth. She is so
much fun as she works her way through her investigation. I look forward to reading many more adventures with Sophie ... I highly recommend this book."-Dawn Dowdle, MysteryLoversCorner.com
"Ms. McRae has a unique talent for turning phrases in her wording, and
Lye in Wait is a promising start to a new series."-Romance Reviews
"From the moment Sophie Mae Reynolds discovers the body to the moment Detective Ambrose discovers hers, McRae's soap-making sleuth
kept me flipping pages and marveling at her tart tongue and gump-
tion."-Jane Isenberg, author of the Bel Barrett Mystery Series
"A fresh new voice, wry and cheeky, speaks in Cricket McRae's Lye in Wait,
a clever mystery with a romantic twist and an ingenious resolution. Key
characters ... are drawn with impressive depth and humanity."-Larry
Karp, author of First Do No Harm and the Thomas Purdue Mystery
Lye in Wait
Midnight Ink, 2007
Heaven Preserve Us
Midnight Ink, 2008
Something Borrowed, Something Bleu
Spin a Wicked Web: A Home Crafting Mystery (c) 2009 by Cricket McRae. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Midnight Ink except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
First Edition First Printing, 2009 Book design and format by Donna Burch Cover design by Lisa Novak Cover photograph (c) 2008 Lisa Novak Editing by Connie Hill Midnight Ink, an imprint of Llewellyn Publications Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data McRae, Cricket. Spin a wicked web / by Cricket McRae. - 1st ed. p. cm. - (A home crafting mystery) ISBN 978-0-7387-1123-2 1. Women artisans-Fiction. 2. Soap trade-Fiction. 3. Women weaversFiction. 4. Murder-Investigation-Fiction. I. Title. PS3613.C58755S65 2009 813'.6-dc22 2008040448
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Midnight Ink Llewellyn Publications 2143 Wooddale Drive, Dept. 978-0-7387-1123-2 Woodbury, MN 55125-2989 USA www.midnightinkbooks.com Printed in the United States of America
For G.G., Grandma, and Mom:
three generations of creative women who came before
I am grateful to everyone who lends their aid, support, and expertise to my books. Among them are my agent, Jacky Sach, and the
extraordinary team at Midnight Ink, including Barbara Moore,
Lisa Novak, Donna Burch, Courtney Huber, my hardworking
publicist Courtney Kish, and the editor who so gently and effectively keeps me in line, Connie Hill. Then there are the cheerleaders who keep me going, among them Kevin (who puts up with me
on a daily basis), my parents Ed and Rochelle, my writing buddies
Mark and Bob, and my gal pals Mindy, Jody, and Jane. There are
so many others; please know how much I appreciate all your kind
words and encouragement. Finally, thanks to Jeanette Degoede
for information on tulip farms, and to Chris from the Fiber Attic,
who taught me how to spin all those years ago-and let me borrow her wheel until I got my own.
"WE HAVE TO TALK."
Ah, those four magical words. They strike dread into the most
manly of hearts, and as a woman, it was an interesting experience to
be on the receiving end. Interesting, but not particularly pleasant.
"Okay." I buckled my seat belt. "Talk"
Barr flipped his turn signal, carefully checked both ways, and
turned right onto Highway 2.
"There's something I have to tell you, Sophie Mae."
Oh, for heaven's sake, enough with the preamble. I began to
regret the super spicy Thai curry I'd had for dinner in Monroe.
Barr knew I loved Thai food. Had he been buttering me up?
"Lord love a duck. Will you just say it, whatever it is?"
He nodded. Paused. Opened his mouth to speak.
A flashing cacophony bore down on us from behind. I twisted
around to see what was going on as Barr quickly pulled to the side
of the road. The screaming sirens and blaring horn nearly deafened us as they passed, and I put my palms over my ears like a little kid.
One after another, emergency vehicles raced by: an ambulance, a
fire truck, and a Sheriff's vehicle, all nose to tail and heading toward
Cadyville at engine roaring speed.
As soon as they were past, Barr floored it. His personal car, a
normally sedate white Camry, left rubber on the shoulder of the
highway, and we trailed closely behind the emergency entourage.
"What are you doing?" I shouted over the din.
"Finding out what's going on. Whatever it is, it's not good."
A thrill ran through me. I watched, wide-eyed, as Barr maneuvered around traffic at high speed. I grabbed the oh-my-God handle over the door and tried not to grin. I probably should have
been scared, but it was kind of fun.
Even if he was avoiding the issue-which I knew darn well he
was. What had he been going to tell me?
We veered around a BMW, and the driver honked. Barr ignored
him. A mile later we rounded a curve and discovered the reason for
all the emergency equipment. My urge to grin quickly dissipated.
Ahead, a car had left the road and traveled fifty feet before crashing head-on into a telephone pole. Dark smoke rose from the vehicle, and uniformed personnel ran toward it.
We parked behind the Sheriff's SUV. Then I saw the light bar
on top of the wrecked car. The logo on the side.
I turned to Barr. "Oh, my God."
His door was open, and he was halfway out of the car, looking
grim. "It's one of ours," he said and took off toward the gathering
knot of people.
I scrambled out and down the shallow ditch embankment,
falling behind as the slick soles of my flip-flops slid around on the long grass. More grass poked at my bare legs and grabbed at my
summer skirt. Finally, I hit brown dirt and could run.
Panting, I came up behind Barr, but he held his arm out, preventing my further approach. A cloud of chemicals whooshed from an
extinguisher as a fireman emptied it over the engine compartment. As
the billowing smoke lessened, the pungent tang joined the acrid scents
of burning rubber and hot metal. I peered around Barr. The driver's
door was open to show part of a man's shiny black boot, but when I
tried to get a better look, he turned my shoulder and walked me away
from the scene.
"Who is it?" I asked, breathless. "Why aren't they trying to get
He stopped and closed his eyes. When he opened them, I knew
it was really, really bad.
"It's Scott," he said. "He's dead."
"Oh, no." And again, "Oh, no. Who'll tell Chris?" I knew Scott
Popper's wife better than I knew him. We were both members of
the Cadyville Regional Artists' Co-op, or CRAG, a somewhat recent addition to our little town's growing artsy-fartsy scene.
Barr nodded toward a rapidly approaching pickup. It skidded
to a stop on the highway, and Chris got out. She stared toward the
wrecked patrol car, hand over her mouth.
He said, "She has a scanner."
Together, we hurried back across the field to Officer Popper's wife.