Friday, May 22, 2015

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Seven Threadly Sins (Threadville Mystery #5) by Janet Bolin

Threadville, Pennsylvania, is famous for its fabric, needlecraft, and embroidery, so it’s only natural that it would become the home of the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. While Willow Vanderling has certainly never wanted to be a model, here she is, voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show in outrageous clothing, all to support the Academy’s scholarship fund.

But the lascivious, mean-spirited director of the academy, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends that doesn’t exactly leave the ladies in stitches, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow.

Now, she must do whatever it takes in order to clear her name, even if it means needling around in other people’s secrets. 

Which Came First?

Sometimes, my life parallels the lives of the characters in my books in mysterious ways. In the fifth Threadville Mystery, SEVEN THREADLY SINS, my protagonist, Willow, models in a charity fundraiser fashion show. I’d already written the manuscript when I joined an Improv group. They asked me to participate in a fundraiser, a murder mystery dinner theater play. . .

Here are excerpts from Willow’s runway stint in SEVEN THREADLY SINS, along with the true story of me acting the part of a rather nasty but slightly clueless old lady.

Willow Vanderling in SEVEN THREADLY SINS: I sashayed out onto the runway with an exaggerated sway of hips, turned, started back, and looked saucily over my shoulder.

Janet Bolin in her acting debut: I stood behind another actor, waiting for our cue to go on. I was both excited and nervous. Speaking her first line, the other actor tripped out onto the stage. I followed, pirouetted to make my character’s admiration of the set obvious, and responded.

Willow: I was supposed to gracefully drop a chunky faux gold chain over my head and shrug out of the jacket to reveal the sleeveless dress. I hadn’t anticipated wrestling with the necklace, the jacket, and a cardboard briefcase at the same time, and my dropping and shrugging were anything but graceful. Finally, I unsnagged the chain from my hairdo and subdued the jacket.

Janet: I wasn’t supposed to wear my glasses. Partway through the first scene, I realized I had them on. I removed them (gracefully!) but then had to figure out how to keep them unscratched. My character had a purse, but it was for carrying the pie server and the rock  . . .

Willow:  she . . . unpinned what was left of my glamorous hairdo after the “gold” chain had pulled tendrils from it, and arranged my hair in two ponytails, one above each ear. Glancing into the full-length mirror near the stage curtains, I mistook myself for a two-year-old in a fun house mirror, the kind that stretched one to a ridiculous height.

Janet: I didn’t find a wig that suited my dotty character. Instead, I put my hair in pin curls (strange talents can survive years of disuse.) I planned to comb the curls out before the play, but the pin curls looked so funny that I asked the director if I should leave them in. We finally decided that I would take the bobby pins out, but I wouldn’t comb my hair. The curls became springs all over my head. Yes, it was ridiculous. But so was the character I was playing, and the jouncing curls reminded me to stop grinning like myself (the other actors kept making me laugh) and to frown like my character . . .

Willow: This was supposed to be a cocktail dress. It was, to say the least, a very unusual cocktail dress. Following the sketch and instructions that Antonio had given me, I had concocted a tiered, ruffled, balloon-like mini-dress from white and baby blue organza, with tiny flowers machine-embroidered at the edges of the ruffles.

Janet: It was my character’s big day. She wanted to dress up, all in lime green. A friend found the perfect, though outsized, jacket in a used clothing store. I made a matching full-length, elastic-waisted satin skirt, and pulled them both over the outfit I’d worn in earlier scenes. (In theater, aren’t you supposed to be larger than life?) My character insisted on wearing her comfy lime green sneakers with her dressy outfit. I obeyed her.

When she’s not reading, writing, playing with her embroidery and sewing machine, or hanging out with people who make her laugh, Janet Bolin walks her dogs near Lake Erie.

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This was a fun story! It started off with excitement - I mean, a Design Academy? How cool is that?! - and ended with a twist.  It was exactly the kind of story I've come to expect and enjoy from Ms. Bolin and her Threadville mysteries.  Great characters, a well-paced and thought out mystery, and of course, a lot of thread :)  I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of Seven Threadly Sins, and loved the experience of Willow's attempt at proving herself innocent come to life with each turn of the page.  

This is a wonderful story that added even more depth to an already great series.  I'm looking forward to whatever is in store for Willow and her clan next.  

Rating: 4.5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own. 

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Patricia P. said...

Seven Threadly Sins sounds fantastic. And, Janet Bolin would make a really fun friend.

Jeanetta said...

Seven Threadly Sins sounds like a fun cozy mystery!

There are several books I am looking forward to reading: Seven Threadly Sins, Hiss and Tell, Ming Tea Murder, Flourless To Stop Him, Bite the Biscuit, Some Like It Witchy, and so many more.

Janet Bolin said...

Awww, Patricia P., same to you!

Janet Bolin said...

Thanks, Jen!

Linda said...

Love your series! Thanks for the review and giveaway!

Barb W. said...

Love Janet's and Claire's books!

Janet Bolin said...

Thank you, Linda!

Janet Bolin said...

Thank you, Barb W.!

Unknown said...

LOve both series. I'd appreciate either one.

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