Reviewing Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan: Come for the crafts, Stay for the relationships

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | | | | | | |

Death Among the Doilies follows Cora, DV counselor turned craft blogger, as she prepares for her retreat's first weekend while Jane, her friend, survivor, and business partner, is suspected of murder. In a small town gossip, social standing, and public opinion make or break you. Can they survive the weekend or will their fresh start turn sour?

I know nothing of crafts though I've always been curious and have so much envy admiration of crafter's talents. However, that's not what got me interested. It was that Cora's a blogger too. It makes perfect sense for her to be one and I wanted to see how it was portrayed. (Hint: it's good.)

But what hooked me was Cora's past. I've been in domestic violence shelters years before and my mother is currently in one. All the employees and volunteers are generally amazing. They do not get enough credit or love. We'd be dead without them. Literally.

 It's hard, draining work and I've seen the toil it takes. I always felt so bad and guilty (though none of them let it stand, if voiced) because of it. Burnout is real and dangerous. Most of the...least helpful people in the shelters were the ones that clearly needed to move on.

So I was happy to see Cora's line of work and dedication, but thrilled she was real. I kinda, sorta spent the whole book picturing the burned-out counselors getting a new start like her and others going to her retreat for a break.

Thank you, Mollie Cox Bryan.

Now, let's get to the review before I start crying.

Death Among the Doilies

Kensington (August 30, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages

Series: A Cora Crafts Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age: Adult,
Format: Ebook, 560 pgs.
Source: Free ARC copy
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Recommendable? Yes
For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . .

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Well, that was a cute cozy mystery with lots of crafty fun and hunks running around. The mystery was good while unfolding, I kept guessing the whole way. I wasn’t right about the outcome, but that’s not much of a win since it doesn’t make good sense. However, the personal and romantic aspects keep it from being a disappointing ending.

If you love crafts and recipes, not only does is it woven throughout, there’s a several how-to guides for items created within. How cool is that? I can’t use them (I’m the un-craftiest person you’ll ever meet) but I can appreciate it all the same. It’s a great touch and perfect for a lot of fans.


-- Liked Cora and her life-changing endeavor. Her experiences with the DV shelters rang true. It’s nice to see an often overlooked side: the toll on helpers. Burn out is sad and usually ends like this than the sensationalized failures found in the headlines.

Her mental health issues are real. It’s not a gimmick or conveniently forgotten. I love the positive relationship with medication. 💖 💖 💖

      Coincidentally, today I just got my scripts refilled after running out a week ago. (Stupid doctors.) The difference is startling, even after all this time of living it because holy shit, does it work (for me).

-- Liked Jane. Her struggle and perspective is done just right. Like everyone else, I cried out “NOO!” when it came to her ex-husband, but it was immediately followed by memories of being there. Christ, is it hard. I’m so proud of Jane and how she’s written.

-- Jane’s daughter is adorable. Perfect mix of “too old for her own good” and childhood innocence. Growing up in this situation, even getting out that young, has its consequences. She reminds me of my own to be honest.

And as a former resident of a small town, that depiction is right on the money too.

The hunks have something for everyone and you'll just have to read it yourself to meet them. :D


I recently read a book where someone started a blog from scratch, published a post, and was getting hits in the same day. Uh huh….

This matters because I was so flippin’ happy when Cora actually had to find time and work on her blog. It wasn’t *poof*. I refuse believe that happens. Nope. Nope. Nope.

The sad part is the other book’s premise was founded on the blog while it’s a realistic and cute side note in Death Among the Doilies.


The mystery conclusion was a bit out there. Okay, a lot out there. More “Wait. What?!?” than just “Woah” or “Okaaaaaay…” I’m still not quite sure I “get” it. I’m hoping next time it’s less soap opera-y.

So that reveal and wrap up wasn’t satisfying, but I can’t say I wasn’t happy with the ending. I liked how everything turned out at the retreat, and the relationships. Romance is…intriguing. No idea how it’s going to turn out. I smell a triangle looming but I’m more curious than apprehensive.

Okay, so I’m really curious. It’s the second reason I’d love to continue the series. The first being Cora and Jane. Mystery is ranked third because even though the finale was blown, I enjoyed the journey.

Death Among the Doilies would’ve been 4 stars but I just couldn’t rank a cozy mystery with this mystery problems that high. It was without fault until that point and I’m definitely going to continue on with Cora and crew.

About The Author:

Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbooking mystery series. She is also author of two cookbooks, the regional bestseller Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley.

An award-winning journalist and poet, she currently blogs, cooks, and scrapbooks in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Scrapbook of Secrets was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

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