Cathy Elliot

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer who lives in northern California and whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from playing her fiddle with friends to antique collecting and quilting. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antiques and is several years into recovery from her eBay addiction. UPDATE: She backslid a while back, enticed to bid on a 1945 Singer Featherweight. (She won.) But now she’s back on the wagon. Except for the recent crazy quilt pillow purchase. She also leads music at church and enjoys time with her grandchildren. Cathy’s previous plot-twisting works include A Vase of Mistaken Identity and Medals in the Attic.

Abingdon Press Presents: Quilts of Love series


A Stitch in Crime

Thea’s Back . . . and Better Than Ever

After my debut novel went out of print, I secretly hoped for another adventure for its characters. I especially missed immersing myself in Thea’s story. I’d come to love the spunky antique dealer turned amateur sleuth . . . and rookie quilter. A few years passed and I still missed hanging out in her world. What if I started a new book featuring Thea James and some of the characters I loved best? Perhaps with a stronger quilt theme? Would it find a home with a new publishing house? I wrote up a proposal.

My newest cozy mystery, A Stitch in Crime, was born. The Quilts of Love books were new to me when my agent called with good news that the book had found a home there. In fact, it would be the final book in the series. Excited, I perused the collection, selecting one to read, and was soon smitten, more eager than ever to add my story to the rest. A Stitch in Crime

In my novel, Thea was given the role as cochair for small town Larkindale’s first quilt show. Unfortunately, I knew little . . . er . . . nothing about chairing such an event. So I tapped an experienced quilter in my local guild for help. An amazing resource, she answered all my questions, giving me plot ideas along the way. I made extensive notes about what could and did go wrong, what sorts of committees were needed, information about judging, and even anecdotes that I could twist for my fictive purpose. I was thrilled with all I’d learned. But I still needed some hands-on experience to make Thea’s story authentic.

Later that year, our guild hosted its biannual quilt show, and another kind quilter allowed me to intern in her booth, observing and asking questions. I took notes on everything, listing the different displays, the variety of booths, the door prizes, and the hanging of the quilts. We discussed which ones were awarded ribbons and why. I took pictures and interviewed quilters. I wrote down choices of background music and the food served. By the end of two days, I felt I had enough to give Thea’s quilt cochair role the ring of truth.

Throughout the book, the Quilt-Without-Guilt-Guild ladies’ misbehavior was believable because it could have happened in real life. When other quilters showed Thea kindness, I knew that was also true to quilter form. My extensive research and on the job training taught me enough about what does happen in a quilt show that it was easy to exaggerate events a bit in Thea’s world.

Overall, A Stitch in Crime is filled with quirky characters, mystery, mayhem, and an underlying theme of faith, friendship, and forgiveness. Along with lots of cool quilts.

Assault, larceny, anonymous threats. Who knew quilt shows could be this dangerous?

“Fans of inspirational fiction will enjoy the funny, feel-good whodunit.” Publishers Weekly Review, November 7, 2014.