When Maxie McNabb (The Serpents Trail, 2004) turns the steering wheel of her Winnebago toward a weaving store in artsy Taos, N.M., she buys some yarn and a loom and steps into a tangled web.
Making friends with the store’s owner, Pat Dozier, Maxie and her dachshund Stretch are drawn into a difficult friendship with Shirley Morgan, a middle-aged recent divorcee. Shirley seemed to be doing pretty well, taking weaving classes, and even, rumor has it, dating a new man. Then her landlord, eccentric and elderly Ann Barnes, finds her nearly dead, suffocated by carbon monoxide fumes in her car. Shirley recovers and insists that she did not try to commit suicide and, when Stretch hops in Shirley’s lap, Maxie decides to take her home from the hospital to her Winnebago. The next time Maxie sees Shirley, however, she is dead in her bathtub, with her wrists cut. Well, Maxie has her doubts about the apparent suicide, particularly when her Winnebago is trashed by someone looking for something that Shirley might have left—something so valuable that Stretch is kidnapped and held for random. Maxie saves Stretch, but, in a move bone-headed even for the lightest of cozies, nearly gets herself killed.
A plot with holes too big even for crochet, and prose that seems better suited for a travel guide; Henry misses the potential for entertainment in Maxie’s bright character.