Monday, January 13, 2020



Welcome to the first in the Apron Shop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, set in the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder . . .

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to stay in her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne—and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne’s shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement

Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop—this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades—she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it’s up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.

Book Details:

Title: Hems And Homicide

Author’s name: Elizabeth Penney

Genre: cozy mystery; amateur sleuth, traditional mystery

Series: The Apron Shop Series, book 1

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, December 31, 2019

Page count: 288

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: my favorite things include my library of books, most of which are research volumes I use while writing. I also collect old children’s books I love, and vintage New Hampshire memorabilia, including publications. Then there’s the kitchen, where I have the old KitchenAid mixer my mother gave me. It still works and I use it to bake bread.  But what would I grab in case of fire? The Mother’s Day artwork my daughters made, residing in a glass cabinet along with more “valuable” items, and paintings by my late father.
Things you need to throw out: my list is very short, since we basically purged during our move back home to New Hampshire. I do have a crate full of printed pages from drafts. It’s threatening to take over the office so I’d better empty it soon.

Things you love about writing: I’m in creative heaven while noodling new plot ideas and also while drafting a book. I love being immersed in my story-world when everything flows.
Things you hate about writing: it’s the left-brain activities I chafe at doing. Outlining, incredibly useful when writing a mystery, is very painful for me. Editing, too, I regard as a chore. That’s why I strive to write pretty clean first drafts.

Things you love about where you live: we’re back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which is remote, rural and gorgeous. I love that we have family here, that we live in a small town where help is only a phone call away.
Things that make you want to move: the same things that led me to move to Georgia in 2008 (we returned in 2016): bad winter weather and icy roads, the lack of music venues, restaurant variety, and bookstores.

Favorite music: as in my reading, I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes. I like classical, baroque, swing, jazz, blues, rock and roll, and some country.
Music that make your ears bleed: heavy metal rock is more of an assault than music, in my opinion.

Favorite beverage: coffee, especially the brand we brew, special ordered (yes we’re picky) from Louisiana. Rich, dark, and smooth. I think I’ll go make another pot, using the commercial Bunn coffeemaker we found second-hand. It makes the best coffee.
Something that gives you a pickle face: any herb tea that tastes like sticks brewed in tepid hot water. 

Things you always put in your books: my passions include history, especially domestic history, art, antiques, architecture, gardening, and literature, and often these elements appear in my books. For example, the Apron Shop Series is the perfect showcase for domestic history related to vintage aprons. Maine has a lot of beautiful old homes, and I like to include those too. 

Things you never put in your books: violence against children or animals or kidnapped girls who are abused. I don’t read about those things and I won’t write about them.

Favorite places you’ve been: besides Maine, which is where I grew up and a setting I love writing about, I would say Barga, Italy, in Tuscany. My artisan great-grandfather emigrated from there in the late 1800s, and once I saw how picturesque it is, I wanted to visit. Barga is a medieval village perched on top of a mountain, with narrow cobblestone streets and red-tiled rooftops. I’d love to go back sometime. 

Places you never want to go to again: I’m not a fan of gritty urban areas. I need green space and fresh air and room to move.


Elizabeth Penney is an author, entrepreneur, and local food advocate living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In addition to writing full-time, she operates a small farm. Elements that often appear in her novels include vintage summer cottages, past/present mysteries, and the arts. She is represented by the fabulous Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Elizabeth's writing credits include over twenty mysteries, short stories, and hundreds of business articles. A former consultant and nonprofit executive, she holds a BS and an MBA. She's also written screenplays with her musician husband.

She loves walking in the woods, kayaking on quiet ponds, trying new recipes, and feeding family and friends.

Connect with Elizabeth:
Website Facebook Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble