Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.
Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.
Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.
Sammy Kane is a magnet for dead bodies it seems. When her long-time friend and fellow crafter, Wanda, dies in her storefront window, she’s both rocked to her core and intrigued. As I know from previous novels, once Sammy’s interest is piqued, there’s no stopping her snooping!
And that’s immediately when the trouble starts. Previously, Detective Liam Nash tolerated Sammy’s interference in his cases, however, his good nature has seemed to waned. On one hand, this is a more dangerous case than the prior ones, on the other, Sammy puts herself, her sister, and her cousin into some sketchy situations as well. I’m honestly surprised Liam didn’t toss her into the clink by the end of the book.
Despite Sammy’s over-the-top sleuthing in this novel, it was the best in the series so far. The end was probably my favorite part because Sammy finally gets something she’s been wanting from the beginning, but I’m going to keep my lips sealed about that.
After a shaky start, the Handcrafted Mysteries series has really come into its own. Each installment gets better, the characters become more well-rounded, and the mysteries are more intricate. Makes me even more eager to see what Sammy and her S.H.E. cohorts get up to in the next novel.
*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for a fair review.