Table of Contents
Bad Intentions ...
“She wants to buy Crewel World,” said Betsy.
“She'll have to find a new place for it,” warned Mickels.
“Yes, I was afraid of that,” said Shelly to Mickels, coming out of the kitchen. “Are you going to be okay, Betsy?”
“I think so, thanks.”
“But I can make the store the talk of the country,” said Irene, now arguing with all of them. “I've wanted to open my own store for years and years, you know that, Shelly; but Margot got hers started first, so there wasn't anything I could do âtil she got out of the way.”
“That's a strange way of putting it, Irene,” said Shelly. “She didn't exactly decide on her own to step out of anyone's way. She was murdered ...”
Irene shrugged. “Well, it's how I think of it. She wouldn't let me become her partner, so what could I do?”
“What do you mean?” asked Betsy sharply.
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Monica Ferris
FRAMED IN LACE
A STITCH IN TIME
A MURDEROUS YARN
HANGING BY A THREAD
SINS AND NEEDLES
PATTERNS OF MURDER
SEW FAR, SO GOOD
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhiâ110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / March 1999
Copyright Â© 1999 by Mary Monica Pulver Kuhfeld.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-101-49575-9
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
I thought I knew enough about needlework to write this novel. I didn't. Fortunately, people can be generous with their time and talents. Foremost are the owner, staff, and customers of Needle Nest of Minnetonkaâparticularly Pat Ingle, Sandy Mattson and the Wednesday Bunch. Denise Williams designed the Tâang horse pattern and told me about painting needlepoint canvases. Elizabeth Proudfit encouraged and advised me, and lent generously from her own library of needlework books. And the people of rec.crafts.textile.needlework (an Internet newsgroup) have cheered me on, answered my questions, and continue to be an excellent resource.
To all of you, humble and heartfelt thanks.
Nowadays, when she stopped for lunch, Margot sat with her back to her shop's big front window. That gray monstrosity they'd built across the street had taken away her view of the lake. She ate the last Frito and wadded the empty bag into the plastic wrap that had held her sandwich and dropped both into the little wastebasket under the table. She drank the last of the green tea in her pretty porcelain cupâbrewed from a bag, but good neverthelessâand took the cup to the back room for a quick rinse.
There were no customers waiting to buy needlework patterns or embroidery floss or knitting yarn when she got back, so she made a quick tour of her shop, rearranging the heap of knitting yarns in a corner, adjusting a display of the new autumn colors of embroidery floss in a basket on a table, and moving a folding knitting stand an inch closer to the traffic lane. Her shop appeared aimlessly cluttered, but every display was calculated to draw customers ever deeper into the room, with items virtually leaping into their hands.
Satisfied, she sat down again and got out her own knitting. She was working on a bolero jacket she intended to wear to a meeting on Saturday. It was a simple pattern, just knit and purl, but she was doing it in quarter-inch ribbon instead of yarn, so the jacket had an interesting depth and texture. It helped that the ribbon blended every few inches from palest pink to soft mauve to gray lavender.
Margot started knitting, her hands moving with swift economy. The jacket was nearly finishedâif it wasn't finished already. She was slender enough to look good in a bolero jacket, but short enough that she had to try on everything in clothing stores, even things labeled petite, and nearly always had to adjust knitting patterns. After all these years she should be accustomed to it, but every so often she'd miscalculate or just get carried away with the pleasure of the work, and end up with the voluminous kind of garment teenagers wore. Of all the silliness of the current age, the silliest was a young thug who had to hold up his pants with one hand while he held up a shopkeeper with the other.
Margot Berglund was fifty-three, blond, with kind blue eyes and a bustling but comfortable manner. She had always been happiest with something to keep her busy, and so, when simply doing needlework and teaching her friends to do needlework and organizing expeditions to needlework stores and gatherings wasn't enough, she had opened Crewel World. That was back when crewelwork was the rage; just because it was needlepoint nowadays, she saw no need to change an established name.
The front door went
and a handsome woman whose dark hair was pulled into a fat bun hustled in.
“Sorry I'm late,” she said breathlessly. “It's so beautiful out, I found myself walking slowly to enjoy it.”
“I don't blame you, Shelly.”
Shelly went to hide her purse in the checkout desk's bottom drawer, looked around with a settling-in sigh, and asked, “What's first?”
“The window, I'm afraid,” said Margot. The shop was deep but narrow; its front was mostly window, currently ornamented with canvases and patterns featuring brightly colored leaves and one-room schoolhouses.
“What, already? School hasn't even started yet.”
Margot smiled. “Our customers are always working in advance of a holiday. Half of them are already making Christmas ornaments. So don't get too elaborate with the window; soon we'll have to advertise Christmas projects for the procrastinators.”
Shelly picked up the stack of display items Margot had chosen and went to the front window.
“Ooooh, I think I'd like this one for myself,” she said a minute later. Margot looked up to see her holding a counted cross-stitch pattern featuring an enormous pale moon with a silhouetted witch riding her broom across it. In the foreground was a heap of pumpkins out of which rose a windblown scarecrow.
“You'll have to do it on black,” warned Margot.
“Yeah, well, I've been thinking of buying one of those Dazor lamps anyway,” said Shelly. She traced the tatters of the scarecrow with a finger. “Isn't this just beautiful?”
“Shall I deduct it from your pay?”
“Let me think about it. Maybe I won't have time.”
Margot laughed; Shelly sounded almost hopeful.
Shelly Donohue was a schoolteacher who'd taken this part-time job to earn a little spending money over the summer; she'd spent most of it on floss and counted cross-stitch patterns. “How many did you order?” she asked.
“Only three; not many people like working on black.”
“Ask me again when there's only one left.” Shelly turned to find a place in the window to hang the pattern.
The shop fell silent except for classical music coming from a radio tucked under a table near the back. Mozart's flute concerto, played on a flute for a change.
After a while Margot put down her needles to spread the jacket on the worktable. Was it done? She reached into a basket on the table and among the scissors, marking pencils, knitting needles, and all, found a fabric measuring tape.
“I thought I'd find your sister here when I came in,” Shelly said.
“Yes, I've been thinking she might be here today.” Margot stretched the tape down the back of the jacket.
“When did you last hear from her?”
“Day before yesterday. She was in Las Vegas.” She adjusted the jacket to measure the front.
“Did she win?”
Perhaps just one more row, then she would bind off. “Hmm? Oh, I don't know; she didn't say anything about gambling.”
“Is she the sort to gamble?”
“A year ago I would have said yes, definitely. But I'm not so sure now.” Margot tucked the tape measure back into the basket and sat down to resume knitting.
Shelly made a concerned face and said, “Oh, Margot; is she coming because she's
?” Shelly had a cousin who mooched.
Margot considered that. “No, I think she's at loose ends right now, and just doesn't know what she wants to do next.”
Betsy was Margot's only sibling, her elder by two years. They had been close as children, despite having very different personalities. Margot had been the placid and obedient one; Betsy had been impulsive and adventurous. At eighteen, Betsy had run away to join the navy. A year later she married a sailor in one of those hasty justice-of-the-peace ceremonies, phoning home with the news only afterward. This completed the breach between Betsy and her parents, which was some years healing.