First Line: The August fog felt damp and soft on my face as I sat on a bench on Wharf Street, sipped my coffee, and watched anchored boats in Haven Harbor appear and disappear.
Hermit Jesse Lockhart has post-traumatic stress disorder. He lives alone on a tiny island three miles east of Haven Harbor, Maine where he's created a private sanctuary for the endangered Great Cormorant sea birds. He keeps to himself so much that Angie Curtis of Mainely Needlepoint didn't even know he was on King's Island.
When a wealthy family decides that Jesse's island would be the perfect place to build their summer home and enlists Jesse's brother to help them in acquiring the land, Jesse's only friend, Dave Perry, rallies all the other Mainely Needlepoint members to his defense. All to no avail. When Angie visits the island, she finds Jesse dead. Now in addition to saving the Great Cormorants, she and her group must find a killer.
I continue to enjoy Lea Wait's series, although I do have to admit that Dangling by a Thread is not its strongest book. There are two reasons for my opinion. First, the killer's identity was rather obvious, and two, the plot had much more to do with relationships and pitching in to help those in need than it did with the actual mystery. That said, there's nothing wrong with relationships and helping others; I'd just like more mystery.
As always, Wait knows how to bring her Maine setting to life. Each chapter begins with a quote and information about an antique needlework sampler. (I stitched a sampler when I was a child, but I have a feeling that they're "gone with the wind" now.) You may find it difficult to believe but these headings give quite a look at early life in Maine and other areas, and sometimes these glimpses can evoke strong responses. The author also puts us firmly on location with Jesse's protection of the endangered birds and how miserable the rich can make life for people living along the coast. (After all, the wealthy are the only ones entitled to a good view out their windows and a short commute, right?)
All in all, I did enjoy Dangling by a Thread. I found it to be an emotional read-- and not just because kittens destroyed some pieces of needlepoint. Jesse may not have lasted very long, but he made quite an impact on me. Wait hit home runs with her characters, their relationships, and with Maine, but I'm looking forward to more mystery in her next Mainely Needlepoint book.
Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait
Kensington Books © 2016
eBook, 325 pages
Cozy Mystery, #4 Mainely Needlepoint mystery
Source: Net Galley