Maine author Lea Wait writes the seven-book Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, the first of which, Shadows at the Fair, was an Agatha Award finalist, in addition to the new Mainely Needlepoint series. She also writes historical novels for ages 8 and up. For more about Lea and her books, visit her website.
I’m excited! Tomorrow, January 6th, is the publication date for Twisted Threads, the first book in my Mainely Needlepoint mystery series.
The protagonist, 28-year-old Angie Curtis, grew up in Haven Harbor, Maine, the daughter of a single parent with a questionable reputation. When Angie was ten, her mother disappeared; her grandmother guided her through a rocky adolescence. After high school she took off to make a new start far from Maine. She made it as far as Arizona, where she got a job assisting a private investigator, learned to handle a camera and a gun, and tried not to think about her past.
Twisted Threads begins with a message on her telephone: “Angie, they’ve found your mother. It’s time to come home.” She looks at her needlepoint cushion stitched with Gram’s phone number. Gram gave it to her when she left Maine: a message to anyone looking for her next-of-kin. Gram didn’t want her to disappear, as her mother had.
Angie takes the next flight out of Phoenix.
Back in Haven Harbor, she faces her past, is determined to find her mother’s killer, and discovers Gram has started a custom needlepoint business. And then … but you’ll have to read Twisted Threads to find out what happens.
The Mainely Needlepoint series is my second mystery series; the first, the Shadows Antique Print series, is centered around an antique print dealer. Since I’m a fourth generation antique dealer, none of my readers will be surprised that Angie will be involved with identification, restoration, and preservation of vintage and antique needlepoint. The chapter headings in the Mainely Needlepoint series will also have snippets of information about needlepoint and quotations from early samplers, like this one from a sampler stitched in Limington, Maine, in 1821 by fourteen-year-old Louisa Otis:
“Of female arts in usefulness
The needle far exceeds the rest.
In ornament there’s no device
Affords adorning half so nice.”
Why needlepoint? I’ll admit that although my grandmother knit, embroidered, tatted, and smocked, the only skill I picked up from her (despite her best efforts) was knitting. But I’ve always loved needlepoint and grew up admiring antique needlepoint and cross-stitched samplers. Antique embroidery, especially needlepoint, has always fascinated me because it represented the skills and interests and art of generations of women. It still does.
Writing the Mainely Needlepoint series has given me an excuse to learn more about needlepoint, past and present, just as Angie does.
I’ve joined the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. I now have several shelves of books on needlepoint, past and present. I’m even starting to do some stitching of my own, although having a kitten in my house hasn’t helped me concentrate on needlepoint projects!
But as the Mainely Needlepoint series continues, I’m looking forward to increasing both my knowledge and my skills.
What could be more fun? Learning a new skill … and solving a few mysteries along the way!
Returning to the quaint coastal town of Harbor Haven, Maine—a place she once called home—Angie Curtis finds her memories aren’t all quite pleasant ones…
After leaving a decade ago, Angie has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.
The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case…