Bead on Trouble by Barbara Burnett Smith – Book Review

I just finished reading Bead on Trouble by Barbara Burnett Smith, a mystery novel set among beaders (makers of bead jewelry) in Central Texas.

First of all, let me say how amazed I was at the fragmentation of the mystery novel market. Of course I was aware of standard genres, such as the police procedural or the English whodunit, as well as mystery series with regional connections. I had even come across mystery series with themes such as rare book collecting (John Dunning's Booked to Die is an excellent read for bibliophiles) or running a teashop.

These days however, there appear to be mysteries for quilters, potters and scrapbookers as well – can you imagine the problems for bookstore owners ("Where do you keep the mysteries about juvenile herb gardeners?")

Despite these somewhat odd trends, Bead on Trouble is an entertaining book. The protagonist, Kitzi Camden, is an ex-politician in her 50s, turned corporate trainer and part-time beader. When she attends a beading camp in the Texas Hill Country, mayhem ensues. There is an old flame of Kitzi's, a potential new love interest, fierce competition among the beaders for a lucrative contract from an art catalog, and a mysterious death … May Feather, a talented beader is found dead in a creek.

Of course it does not help that Kitzi discovered earlier that the victim was having an affair with the husband of Kitzi's best friend Beth.

Naturally, Kitzi wants to solve the case, while the local sheriff suspects her of murdering May …

This makes for nice reading, and the author keeps stringing you along (sorry, could not resist the pun), so that the ending is rather surprising. The best part is the witty dialogs. So, if you enjoy craft-themed mysteries, Bead on Trouble would be a good choice.