A Renaissance Faire Mystery with Jessie Morton by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Review: Joyce and Jim Lavene introduce graduate student Jessie Morton who, while conducting research at a local Renaissance Faire, finds more than she expected when she's drawn into a murder investigation in Wicked Weaves, the first mystery in this series.
Jessie's dissertation is titled Proliferation of Medieval Crafts in Modern Times and what better place to learn more than at an authentic Renaissance Faire, a Disney-esque attraction built on an abandoned airfield outside Charleston, South Carolina. Her current assignment is to work with a Mary Shift, a Gullah woman who weaves baskets from native grasses, a craft handed down through generations of her people. It is outside Mary's shop Wicked Weaves that a man is found strangled with a weave with her distinctive style. Though Mary is just half the size of the dead man and seemingly incapable of such a deed, when it's discovered he is her estranged husband and there are ways it could have been done, she's the prime suspect. Though Jessie has her doubts about Mary's innocence, she's determined to uncover the truth.
A Renaissance Faire would seem an ideal setting for a mystery series, with each book exploring a different craft, no doubt discovering how a murder might be committed using its materials or method. Yet Wicked Weaves doesn't take advantage of this to any significant degree. Set near Charleston and featuring the little known Gullah people, this is an area rich with history that could have been used to develop a more interesting, engaging storyline. As it is, it's predictable to the point of boring, and the flat and rather unexciting character of Jessie Morton doesn't help. The authors already produce several books a year in no less than four other series; maybe they're spreading themselves too thin starting yet another series, despite its potential.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Wicked Weaves for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Telltale Turtle
Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback), October 2008
ISBN-13: 9780738712260; ISBN-10: 0738712264
Location(s) referenced in Wicked Weaves: Myrtle Beach, Charleston, South Carolina
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Wicked Weaves by Joyce and Jim Lavene — A Renaissance Faire Mystery with Jessie Morton
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $6.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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