By: Maggie Sefton
Publication Date: June 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: June 8, 2011
Spring hadn’t yet sprung in Bellevue Canyon, but no one was turning down Jayleen Swinson’s offer for a party at her “rustic mountain log home.” March didn’t always prove to be the best time to have an "End of Winter, Welcome Spring" barbecue, but when good friends and a few Fat Tire ales were on hand no one was staying home. Kelly Flynn, who’d been abruptly dumped by Steve Townsend, wasn’t exactly ready to party, but being around friends provided a little comfort. Any mention of Steve was strictly off limits because “the hurt remained.” Jennifer was excited that she had a new real estate client, Fred Turner, and was discussing him with Kelly. Later Art Houseman, one of Kelly’s clients, claimed that Fred would “use whatever he can to cheat someone out of their property and still be on legal grounds. Just barely.” With the downturn in the economy everyone seemed happy to be thrown a few crumbs, even from losers like Fred.
Kelly also found comfort in Mimi Shafer’s shop Lambspun where yarns were spun as fast as tall tales and rumors. Romance had grown in the shop and everyone was surprised that spinster Lizzie von Steuben was spinning up a romance with the new guy in town, Eustace Freemont, freelance historian and writer. He was writing a new book about “the cowboys and outlaws of the New West,” and among the people he was going to interview was that twerp Turner. Art Houseman was going to dip into his cash to purchase thirty acres of Fred’s in Poudre Canyon, but would soon rue the day he’d ever tried to cement that deal. His “bad blood” with Fred was common knowledge in Fort Conner, but then again no one escaped the gossip mill as the “Lambspun grapevine was alive as ever.” Even Mother Mimi had been seen flirting with Burt Parker, a retired police detective, “over the yarn bins.”
Kelly had been working too many hours and decided to take a break and head to Poudre Canyon with Jennifer to talk with Fred. On the way, Jennifer received startling news that some guy named Mr. Birmingham would “match or exceed any offer on the table.” Talk about throwing a wrench in the works, but before they knew it, the two friends would be hammered with something much worse. Instead of having a business discussion with Fred, they would soon be talking with Lieutenant Peterson. “Oh, my gawd! I can’t believe we’ve walked in on another corpse, Kelly..." Poor Fred looked deader than a bag of nails as his eyes vacantly stared at them. Kelly quickly snapped a picture of the antique firearm beside his hand. Renee Turner, Jayleen’s friend, would become the prime suspect because she didn’t much like Fred and had been planning to meet him in divorce court. Even Judge Judy would have trouble figuring this mess out, but Sherlock Kelly had a few ideas of her own. It wasn’t long before she’d became unexpectedly unraveled when she spotted Steve getting ready to spike her in the face from the other side of a volleyball net. BAM!
In this solid mystery Kelly quickly found herself getting away from a sunsets and coffee romance with you know who, away from number crunching, and right in the midst of a mind boggling trail with few clues. The whodunit in this one was right out in the open, but it was very difficult to deduce the culprit because essentially there was only a picture of a corpse’s hand to start from. I enjoyed Unraveled because I didn’t become tangled up in cutesy and quirky, but instead found myself leisurely immersed in the tale. I liked the contemporary nature of this mystery and found myself listening to some very sage advice in between the lines. Of course Kelly’s knack for finding bodies is a tad unusual, but she sure does figure out how they got there with aplomb. If you like your mysteries spun with some believable (or unbelievable if you prefer) twists and turns, you’ll probably enjoy “helping” Kelly Flynn figure out who did that ornery old Fred in.
Quill says: This subtly sweet, and sizzling mystery of rustic revenge will intrigue the reader.