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Brooks Mencher
The Woman Who Loved Sunflowers

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Create)

The fifth book in the Yarn Woman, “The Woman Who Loved Sunflowers,” takes Ruth M, the Yarn Woman, from San Francisco to California’s Central Valley in search of Mrs. Jill Lynch, who disappeared on her weekly trip from Oakland to San Francisco to volunteer at humanitarian nonprofit. At first glance it seems like Mrs. Lynch has been living a quiet suburban life with her husband, leaving home every Wednesday to help pack knitted woolens to ship to war-torn areas of the Middle East. But when Ruth is called in by SFPD Detective William Chu, the first thing she observes is the woman’s seventeenth-century textiles and artwork, rare pieces masquerading as twenty-first-century kitsch. A book of matches near unlit candles in Mrs. Lynch’s fiber-arts room sends Ruth to the San Francisco waterfront where Mrs. Lynch is apparently living a second life with an artist and lover. As Ruth unravels the mystery of the missing woman, she finds herself confronting a tangle of identities wrapped in Faustian pacts, industrial espionage, and a cold-case murder that spawned the melange of deceptions that are now rising up to claim Mrs. Lynch’s life, and perhaps her soul.
Jillian Moreno, Knitty Magazine

I have read the Yarn Woman mysteries from the beginning, and they only get better. This mystery revolves around a missing woman who is a mystery herself. Because every Yarn Woman mystery is built on layers, this one includes government conspiracy, and immigrants in California. It is hard to say more without giving things away.

This book has the least amount of textile discussion in the series so far, though what there is, revolving around linen, canvas, and tapestry, is very interesting.

I really enjoy that these books are never wrapped up in a neat bow. The main mystery is always solved but there are always questions left unanswered. The twists and turns of the mysteries and the writing step up with every new adventure.

I came for the textiles, but stayed for the mystery.