Saturday, February 19, 2011

by Marcy Singer from Amanda Lee’s STITCH ME DEADLY, an Embroidery Mystery

Hi, I’m Marcy Singer. At the nudging of my best friend Sadie MacKenzie, I left my steady, albeit boring, job in San Francisco to open an embroidery specialty shop on the Oregon coast. Well, during the first week I was in business, the former owner of the shop was found dead in my storeroom. But, hey, I figured things couldn’t get worse after that, right?


I’d recently gone down the street to MacKenzies’ Mochas—it’s the coffee shop owned by Sadie and her husband Blake—to get a cup of chamomile tea. I had a touch of a cold. February in Tallulah Falls can be brutal. Anyway, I was on my way back, and I saw this cute little old lady headed toward my shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. I called to her that I was on my way.

She had this fabulous antique sampler with her. She had it wrapped in tissue paper, and she was so careful with it! She said her great-grandmother had made it. She asked me if I could help her find “ivy.” Before I could ask her to be more specific, she started feeling sick. I hadn’t opened my tea yet, so I gave it to her…you know, thinking it would help. But then she collapsed! I called 911, and the EMTs rushed her to the hospital. I had Sadie come and watch the shop while I went to the hospital to check on the lady, but she’d died.

The coroner ordered an autopsy, and it was discovered that the lady was poisoned by some sort of prescription medication. And, thanks to my gift of chamomile tea, guess who became a suspect? You got it!

In the meantime, I noticed that some of the original stitching had been removed from the antique sampler. A verse had been ripped out and replaced with a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson. But why would someone alter an antique…especially one made by her great-grandmother? Something weird was going on, and I needed to find out what it was. Quickly.

By the way, I have a newsletter blog (Sew Deadly) every other Wednesday. Also, check out my embroidery projects and visit the Seven-Year Stitch. At the shop, you can find all sorts of fun and helpful links!

Tomorrow, please welcome Dae O'Donnell from the Missing Pieces Mysteries by Joyce and Jim Lavene.


  1. How upsetting to have that happen! I hope you didn't dispose of the remains of the chamomile cup... surely that could help?

    Hope you figure out the stitchery mystery; so intriguing.

  2. Although software and machines do my embroidering for me, I love to study hand embroidery for ideas that I can program into my software. I can't wait to see this sampler you found!

  3. Hmmm, why would someone change out the verse? That is intriguing! It will take an expert to find that out, i.e., you! Good luck.

    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

  4. I think you're the right person to figure out this mystery. That's a very good thing as you're a suspect. Good luck!

  5. Sounds like a good mystery shaping (or stitching) up! And, I love the name of your shop!!

  6. I wonder and I bet you'll find the answer to both the embroidery and who harmed the woman.

  7. Thanks, everyone! Naturally, I DID dispose of the chamomile tea cup. :)