Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Shear Trouble (A Southern Quilting Mystery #4) by Elizabeth Craig

As the leaves begin to fall in idyllic Dappled Hills, someone puts too fine a point on a local ladies’ man. Fortunately, the detective skills of quilter Beatrice Coleman are a cut above the rest....

The Village Quilters of Dappled Hills, North Carolina, are desperate to finish their quilts before an upcoming show. To help, fellow member Posy has opened the back room of her shop, the Patchwork Cottage, for everyone to use. But the ladies are less than thrilled when Phyllis Stitt and Martha Helmsley—members of their rival quilting guild, the Cut-Ups—ask to join them.

Phyllis is hoping to leave the Cut-Ups and join up with the Village Quilters now that Martha’s dating her ex-fiancé, Jason Gore. She’s not pleased when he visits the shop and even more upset when her new shears disappear. After offering to search for them, Beatrice discovers Jason with the shears buried in his unfaithful heart. Now she must sharpen her sleuthing skills to find a killer before someone else’s life is cut short.

The Appeal of Writing a Small-Town Cozy 
by Elizabeth Craig

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina.  I have fond memories of a slower-paced life that involved counting cars on my grandmother's porch, going to bingo at the church, listening to gossip at the beauty parlor (if you could hear it over the drone of the window a/c unit and hair dryers), and feeding the ducks at a local pond.  It might have seemed idyllic - and it was, in many ways.  But hurt feelings can run deep in a small town because everyone knows everyone and people take things personally.  This is the perfect set-up for a mystery writer.  

A small town provides the perfect setting for a writer wanting to add a little conflict to a story.  Small towns can be very cliquey.  There might be property disputes or problems with neighbors.  And love triangles and family issues (I know I was related to a lot of people in my small town) and feuds can really add to the mix.  

One of th best things about writing a small town is the secrets that the townspeople hold.  No one wants their secrets leaked because soon everyone in the town will know them if one person does.  And when you live and work with a small body of people, that can be very uncomfortable.  

Moving to a small town can be a blessing... and a curse.  In a lot of ways, you'll be embraced by the town - invited toe very church there and invited over for barbeques and potlucks.  

But in many ways, you'll probably always be considered a newcomer, even if it's been a couple of decades since you moved to the small town.  That's because you can't remember old landmarks from thirty years before or because your ancestors hadn't lived there more than a hundred years before.  

Plus, adapting to a small town's limitations can be challenging, in itself.  In my Southern Quilting Mysteries, the protagonist, Beatrice, moves to tiny Dappled Hills, North Carolina.  She's immediately swept into a quilting guild meeting before she's even unpacked her boxes.  But she also has a lot of challenges in adapting to a small town after living in Atlanta.  The newspaper focuses on family reunions and local gossip.  The grocery store doesn't have a read-made deli section and Beatrice isn't much of a cook.  This change can add extra tension to a story.  

Do you enjoy reading stores set in small towns?  What's the appeal for you? 
(Answer Elizabeth's questions below for your chance to win a secondary prize!)

Elizabeth Craig writes the Memphis Barbeque series as Riley Adams and the Southern Quilting mysteries under her own name.  A lifelong resident of the South, she enjoys finding inspiration for the Southern Quilting mysteries in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.  She is currently at work on her next novel.  Her newest Southern Quilting Mystery, Shear Trouble, releases August 5th. 

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

This series is always so much fun!  The ladies in these books seriously crack. me. up.  I love their quirky personalities and the trouble they always find themselves in.  Ms. Craig has conjured up quite an entertaining little mystery that once again has a beautiful setting and the return of all of the residents we've grown to love in Dappled Hills.  

I simply cannot wait for the next book in this awesome series! 

Rating:  4.5 stars

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of Shear Trouble by Elizabeth Craig to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!

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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Marie! I appreciate it.

holdenj said...

One of the many reasons I read cozies is the great small town settings!! Thanks!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Me too. Thanks for coming by, holdenj!

ceblain said...

Your question about small town living is something that I am very familiar with. I grew up in a small town in CT. that was very beautiful and purely residential. We had to travel to a city nearby to do anything other than getting meat or a few other items at a tiny butcher shop in the center of town, which only had an Inn as the other business. After marrying, we lived in small towns but by then little stores were starting up and each town we lived in from there on in had more and more small Mom and Pop places to go. Many years later we moved to a small city and lived there for almost 30 years, but when we retired we moved right back to another small town which is where we truly enjoy spending our time the most. So reading books about small towns is very near and dear to me and I can relate to them so much more than others.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Cynthia--Sounds like you had a few frustrations with living in a small town (grocery shopping, etc.) but that overall it's where you're happiest! There is definitely something special about fiction as well as in real life!

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