A Nanaimo author is wrapping up her crime trilogy with a story about a quilt that holds the clues to a murder.
This weekend Ardelle Holden held an online book launch for her latest release, Murder by Pins and Needles. It is the final book in her trilogy following main characters Samantha and Ben Chambers, following 2019’s A Person of Interest and 2020’s Murder by Bits and Bytes.
In the book, Ben receives a mysterious quilt from his mother for Christmas that sets off his PTSD, and upon closer inspection it appears to hint at a homicide.
The quilt was found almost brand new in a thrift store with a tag reading, “Remember me, Nicky. Love, Mom. L. Bennett 2015.” It has an attic window pattern with crows quilted into the border and “sinister” poetry on the back. From the clues in the quilt, Samantha suspects that L. Bennett may have been murdered.
“These clues lead Samantha to find this woman. Is she dead or alive? If she’s dead, was she murdered? If she’s alive, why did this quilt wind up in a thrift store and why did she quilt this quilt and how many quilts are there?” Holden said.
The story also follows another timeline covering the 20-year marriage of guilt-ridden husband Adrian Bennett and his wife Lenore, starting with their honeymoon in Paris.
As with her other books, Holden put a lot of research into Murder by Pins and Needles. While writing the book she investigated topics like international police, wills, diseases and coroners’ inquests. She said “you have to go and find out certain things before you can actually write it.”
“You learn a lot about procedure and for instance how long does it take to get fingerprints verified or how long does a DNA test take,” she said. “But the thing is that in order to keep the pace of your story going, you have to break the rules a bit… We can’t be waiting months for certain things. We have to get the results right away.”
The end of the trilogy means the end of Holden’s two main characters. She said Murder by Pins and Needles brings Samantha and Ben’s story to a conclusion, but after writing and developing those characters over the last few years it’s tough to see them go.
“I’ve gotten to know them so well, I know what they’re going to say and they have gotten more comfortable for me as far as their relationship with each other,” she said. “And I guess it’s kind of sad to say goodbye to them, but they’re in a good place.”
Murder by Pins and Needles is available here.