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And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris Book Review
Dyeing for a Good Book
By Ann Baillie
My guilty pleasure is armchair detective novels. These short books – rarely over 300 pages – are the murder mysteries that are never gory and have amateur detectives that love to knit or read or write or drink tea. Think Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote. So it should come as no surprise that I thought And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris was a great story. It had fun characters and an interesting crime. My only complaint is the story was just a tad too long.
And Then You Dye follows Betsy, who owns a needlework shop called Crewel World. One of Betsy’s suppliers, a yarn spinner and dyer named Hailey, was shot in the head while dyeing some yarn. The police start investigating and soon put Marge, Hailey’s neighbor, on the suspect list. Marge approaches Betsy to prove her innocence, and Betsy starts the case. The development of Betsy, Marge, Hailey, and the other suspects and characters in the book is well done. The characters are in turn funny and surprising, with secrets that are perfect for this sort of book. The crime is intriguing, with lots of lose ends and questions.
Unfortunately, the plot was a bit slow. At one point, the plot slowed down so much the characters even commented on how difficult the case was. Parts of Betsy’s search for answers could have been dwindled down, but it was mainly the in-between scenes that took up time. For example, Ferris has a tendency to explain in detail scenery when Betsy walks. The descriptions were nice but overdone and had no real impact on the story or any characters. The writer spends time talking about the characters’ personal lives, which is rather unnecessary. Overall, And Then You Dye is a fun and fast read for the detective in all of us.