Friday, April 3, 2009

By Hook or By Crook-Betty Hechtman

By Hook or By Crook
Betty Hechtman
Berkley, Jun 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425228388

A widow in her forties following the sudden unexpected death of her husband, Molly Pink has made a new life for herself. She is the events coordinator and community relations specialist for Shedd & Royal Books. Molly is also one of the Tarzana Hookers, a group of crochet advocates who give their work to the less fortunate. Finally Molly has been an amateur sleuth who has solved homicide cases (see DEAD MEN DON’T CROCHET).

Molly is unaware that when she finds a paper bag on the table used by the Tarzana Hookers to sell their products in order to raise money for charity, that she will be involved in solving another murder. Inside the bag is a letter of regret and guilt, and a ctochet panel with pictures that Molly assumes is a message from the crochet creator. The note implies the author made a terrible mistake years ago and desperately needs to set things right. After some inquiries, Molly concludes that socialite Mary Beth Wilson made the crochet panel piece. When she goes to see the woman, she finds her corpse instead lying in her bed with a box of apple maripan on the night stand. Molly believes Mary Beth was poisoned; the autopsy confirms her theory. She continues her investigation seeking to set right what Mary Beth tried to do before she was murdered. Someone is warning her to quit her investigation; that person sends her warnings and “gifts” which mean back off or she will be next.

Molly is a feisty obstinate person who when shemakes up her mind to do something, no one, not even a killer, can get her to stop until she achieves her objective. There is plenty of action in this entertaining amateur sleuth due to the fully developed cast, especially the heroine and her Tarzana Hookers. Readers will understand what it is like to suffer from grief and not know what to do in terms of male relationships . Fans will admire Molly as she affirms that though you mourn your loss and miss your mate, there remains a fulfilling life if you go for it.

Harriet Klausner