An Ominous Death by Annette Mahon

# 2 in a series by Annette Mahon

Website www.annettemahon.comominousdeath

Five Star — An imprint of Thomson Gale
Waterville, Maine
ISBN 1-59414-359-5

My favorite mysteries are those in which I can learn something about – well, anything, really.
Clearly I’m not alone, witness the various series that center around the hobbies or lifestyles of the protagonist: cooking mysteries a la Davidson, cat mysteries per Braun, knitting mysteries as unraveled by Sefton, and the puzzle mysteries as parsed by Hall.  There
are several series of quilting mysteries.

Annette Mahon’s St. Rose Quilting Bee is typical of such groups across the country, women who love to quilt and enjoy the companionship working on joint projects fosters.  Groups that are supportive of their members and that take a good deal of worth service projects, such as the Baby Loves Quilt Project in Connecticut.  It is primarily the fictional versions of these groups that are prone to involve themselves with piecing together more than mere cloth.

This book returns to Maggie Browne and the St. Rose Quilting Bee as they try to provide comfort and support to one of their members, Candy Breckner, recuperating from an auto accident at the Palo Verde Care Center.  Then Candy informs the other members that there is someone helping patients at the center to their deaths.  As the group worries over Candy’s health — mental as well as physical — Maggie tries to determine whether there is a threat or not, and where it is coming from.

As this was the first of this series I’ve read, I was struck by how well McMahon balances the pace of the quilting activity and the unraveling of the actual mystery.  The suspense builds as the reader worries alongside Maggie Browne over what might happen next if
her friend is right.  As a group, the quilters act as a sounding board for Maggie as well as a sort of Greek chorus for the reader.  As individuals, they are sturdy contributing characters in their own right.  Maggie’s sleuthing activity leads her through one of the most convincingly convoluted plots I’ve read, but she is well up to the task.  Younger readers would do well to take note of just how successful Maggie Browne is at finding answers; age is no barrier when it comes to deductive powers.  Even when it comes to physical activity; Maggie’s body may slow down as she matures, but it doesn’t stop.  She knows how to use her strengths most efficiently.

An Ominous Death was a good read, and I’m happy to add it to my growing collection of mysteries associated with stitching.

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