Publication Date: November 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Hardcover, 304pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Betty Hechtman on the WEB: website, blog, facebook
Excerpt from Behind the Seams
Molly Pink and her crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, are thrilled when one of their own gets a shot at the spotlight. But when a talk show set becomes a crime scene, Molly realizes that life in the entertainment biz can be deadly...
The crochet group's informal leader, actress CeeCee Collins, has a movie out, and thanks to the building Oscar buzz, she's scheduled to appear on the famous Barbara Olive Overton show. Molly and the girls are excited to be tagging along, but when one of the Hookers is ejected from the audience thanks to her wacky behavior, she manages to drag Molly with her.
It's no fun being stuck in the waiting room, but when the producer who removed them drinks a cup of coffee with poisoned sweetener, things really unravel. To make matter worse, CeeCee's niece Nell - who works as a production assistant on the show - is the one who handed the producer the spiked drink.
As rumors swell, Molly and the Hookers must set aside their crochet projects to clear Nell's name. If they don't weave together enough clues before the killer strikes again, someone else will become the next Hollywood headline...
Author Betty Hechtman brings readers another crochet mystery with the Tarzana Hookers as the main focus. Behind the Seams pits amateur sleuth Molly Pink against a killer who has a penchant for Hollywood. Cozy mystery fans will love the glittery setting and the behind the scenes look at a talk show film crew. Hechtman's quirky characters are humorous and always getting into one mess after another. Hechtman balances the whodonit against the back story of the Hookers themselves and comes out with a winner.
This is the first Crochet mystery by Betty Hechtman that I have had opportunity to read. Though, Behind the Seams is the sixth book in the series, readers will find it easy to follow. It doesn't require reading the first five books nor does it give any spoilers to those books. I thought the author gave just enough information to draw the reader into the back story and the characters without overwhelming them with unnecessary details. I like a book that can be read alone or as a part of a series, I don't want to feel like I've missed something important.
When reading cozies I try to keep two things in mind. Is the story plausible or realistic, could it really happen in the real world. The other question is whether or not the amateur sleuth has a good reason to investigate. Though I know most reading is about escape and readers want to read about situations and things they are unfamiliar with, I think mysteries are the exception to that rule. In Behind the Seams Hechtman gives readers a whodunit that could indeed happen in the real world. I always think that poison is reserved for those killers who don't like to get their hands dirty, which is perfect for a cozy, because they are meant to be a little cleaner, a little lighter than mainstream mysteries. Molly also has a good reason to investigate. Nell is the niece of one of the Hookers, CeeCee and it would seem somewhat logical for CeeCee to turn to Molly since she is aware that Molly has solved this kind of crime before. So Hechtman pulls off both questions with flying colors.
There are a few annoying things that bothered me about this one, but none of them took away from the story or are worth mentioning. Overall it was a well written mystery with an interesting premise. I liked the setting, a Hollywood television show set. The were plenty of suspects and some really good motives. Nell came across as a bit scatterbrained. She really didn't understand the trouble she'd gotten herself into and Molly had a lot of other things on her mind, including the fact that she isn't too sure she's with the right man.
I did figure out who the killer was early on and I got a little befuddled by why Molly kept getting arrested, but in hind-sight I see how each thing added to the story. The cliff hanger at the end had nothing to do with the murder, but with Molly's personal life, which I thought was a great idea. Can't wait to see what happens next. I think readers who are encountering the Tarzana Hookers for the first time, will find them a lively and entertaining group. I recommend this one to cozy fans who love to crochet. There is a very interesting technique discussed in the book, that many will find intriguing. As always the extra's at the end are great and readers will find a lot to keep them busy until the next book in the series comes out.
Behind the Seams is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Betty Hechtman has a degree in fine arts and since college has studied everything from tap dancing to magic. When she isn't writing, reading or crocheting, she's probably at the gym. She lives in Southern California with her family and terrier mix, Goldy.
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