Isis Crawford: A Catered Quilting Bee

Mystery with Recipes #18

In Isis Crawford’s seventeenth book, A Catered Quilting Bee, sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons find themselves in for far more than they bargained for when they are hired to cater the Longely Sip and Sew Quilting Circle’s fist exhibit event. First one of the members is found dead, and Bernie and Libby are hired by Cecelia Larson to investigate. Suicide appears to be the cause of death, and the local authorities rule it as such, but her friends just cannot believe it.  What starts as a basic fact-finding quest turns into a full-blown murder investigation for the Simmons sisters. Luckily their father was an impressive detective back in his day on the force, and he raised his girls to investigate and sleuth out the truth, even if their actual profession is more about solving the perfect recipe instead of the perfect crime.

Both Simmons sisters play off each other in ways that allow them to investigate the case from multiple angles and perspectives. One has a more passive and introverted approach,  while the other is more aggressive and extroverted. Neither is concerned about hiding their opinion from the other, and readers can expect a lot of back-and-forth sisterly banter. Readers will never have to wonder what the Simmons sisters are thinking, as neither is shy about saying what is on their mind, even in the face of potential killers. They also have a working relationship with the local detectives, bought by pastry and a long-standing friendship with their father and as well as themselves. They have helped find many details in cases that were previously missed and have helped close several. They have a very wide community net, and have plenty of others they can call on to help, but for the most part the Simmons sisters spend their time nosing around questioning people on their own. While they don’t necessary LOOK to end up in dangerous situations with killers, they often end up alone and at odds with their suspects.

I suggest A Catered Quilting Bee for those who prefer a cozy that is a fairly consistent pace throughout, and highlights the relationship between two very different but close sisters. We get to see how they live their daily lives, investigate, and run their catering business. Their comprehensive knowledge of the law, helped along by their Dad, is also impressive. It was also nice to see some sleuths investigating a case that they were not really convinced WAS a murder. Cecilia’s insistence, and check, brought them to investigate, but it is what they find that starts to change their mind. I say ‘mind’ rather than ‘minds’, because with how these characters are written, it seems that they two of them very much share a brain for the investigation. One just happens to be the left brain and the other the right brain. Now, as to who is who, I will leave to readers to decide for themselves. Regardless, they are a dynamic duo ready to take on anything as long as they have each other.             – Carla Schantz