A diamond brocade pattern is more quilter Martha Rose’s style than a baseball diamond—especially when it comes to the new eyesore of a stadium ruining her lovely San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Martha doesn’t know a bunt from a Bundt cake, but when she stumbles upon the battered body of baseball coach Dax Martin, she doesn’t need a scorecard to know it’s foul play. LAPD homicide detective Arlo Beavers is convinced one of her neighbors is responsible. But Martha and her fellow quilters Lucy and Birdie soon discover a whole field of suspects who might have wanted to take the coach out of the game permanently…
Most cozy mysteries center around one profession (of the main character) or hobby, etc. I was so delighted to see that Mary Marks' "Knot in My Backyard" draws not only on quilting, but also on baseball. And further impressed that she draws on similarities in terminology (quilting vs. baseball diamonds and bunt vs. bundt).
If I had just picked up the book in a store (because of the pretty cover) and opened the book to the first page, I would have left the store with the book. When I read the first line:
"Yesterday, I joined Weight Watchers for the eighth time."
--- I knew Martha Rose was a woman after my own heart!
Add to the story and the wording and warm-blooded characters, I like the tension behind those involved with the nearby private school and the neighborhood. Rules are bent, almost invariably in favor the the upper classes (social and financial), whether the practices and outcomes are ethical or not.
I loved to snuggle up in the story (like in a warm quilt), and to get all feisty at the injustices encountered by the neighborhood. Overall, a wonderful read for a fall-to-winter afternoon. So get your favorite warm drink, put your feet up and dive into "Knot in My Backyard".
Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011.
She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Great Escapes in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)