Barbara Emodi’s Gasper’s Cove Cozy Mystery Series

Each book in Nova Scotia author Barbara Emodi’s Gasper’s Cove Cozy Mystery series can be read as a standalone novel, however, when they are read in order you will notice that some of the relationships between reoccurring characters evolve. I thought I would write a series review with the 3rd book, Crafting With Slander, being published on May 25th by C&T Publishing, and her 4th book to be released this fall.

Crafting for Murder

Beware! A crafty killer lurks in Gasper’s Cove.
Seamstress, crafter, and empty-nester Valerie Rankin has plans to open a crafter’s co-op that will put Gasper’s Cove, Nova Scotia on the map. One month before opening day, she still has to pin down a venue, patch up the family business, iron out corruption in the town council, and unravel why anyone who tries to help her ends up dead. With the help of her Golden Retriever, an ex-con who loves cats, and a community of first, second, and third cousins, she just might pull it off.

Crafting for Murder, by Halifax author Barbara Emodi, is the first book in a cozy mystery series set in the fictional old town of Gasper’s Cove, rural Nova Scotia. Valerie Rankin, a single mom who moved back to her hometown after her kids left the nest, wants to set up a Craft Co-op on the second floor of the Rankin’s General Store, a business that has been in her family for generations. To advertise her intent of forming the co-op she gets an interview on the local radio station, CKGC by Gerry Richards, Voice of the Waves. Gerry then turns up dead at the bottom of the stairs the next day by foul means and it turns out Valerie was the last person, except the killer, to see him alive. This starts Valerie’s very amateur investigation into the murder, while also trying to save her family’s business.

I enjoyed the wide variety of colourful characters brought to life in this small town. A few who deserve mention are her cousin Darlene, a hairdresser, and her other cousin Rollie. This former psychologist runs the family store and may or may not be practicing his trade in his office between customers. There is also an ex-con named Duck, and Polly, a business-smart, wise-beyond-her-years 12-year-old. I also liked the fun descriptions of all the crafts, some familiar and some not, being submitted for the co-op.

Crafting Deception

Ghosts of the past haunt the crafters of Gasper’s Cove. Two generations ago, Winston Churchill’s greatest lie washed ashore in Nova Scotia. Before anyone can recover what was lost, a bus tour director is found murdered, and Duck, an ex-con with a soft spot for animals, is arrested. Promising Duck’s heartbroken cat she will find a way to bring him home, Valerie sets out to find the real killer. Are ingenuity and creativity enough to save Valerie and the crafters from rum runners, murder, and the burden of their secrets?

I enjoyed revisiting the fictional small town of Gasper’s Cove on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in Crafting Deception. Valerie Rankin’s Craft Co-op is up and running and a tour bus stops by her store, but before all the shopping is done, the tour bus operator is found dead and Duck, the ex-con working for Valerie, is arrested. Valerie is left to look after Duck’s cat and promises to find the real killer.

I enjoyed the local history Barbara weaved into this story including rum runners, using silk parachutes to make wartime wedding dresses, and the messages parachute packers included to wish good luck to the servicemen using the packs. Crafting Deception is an entertaining cozy mystery, with unique, quirky, and fun characters, a truly rural maritime story.

Crafting Deception is an entertaining cozy mystery, with unique, quirky, and fun characters, a truly rural maritime story.

Crafting with Slander

Valerie Rankin is back in Gasper’s Cove as a mayoral election brings chaos to the small town. A corrupt political scheme controls the town, and Valerie’s cousin, Darlene, an ex-hairdresser, decides to run for mayor. With the help of Valerie and the Gasper’s crafters, the group crafts a successful campaign. However, false rumors quickly spread about Darlene. Valerie moves to confront mayoral opponent Mighty Mike Murphy only to find him dead with one of her own stenciled campaign signs next to his body. Afraid that she or Darlene could be framed for his murder, Valerie must hunt down a killer before it’s too late.

The issue of amalgamation between Gasper’s Cove and the nearby town of Drummond is the subject of the upcoming municipal election. The provincial government has offered money to municipalities willing to absorb smaller communities and Mike the Mayor is all for this. The Crafters group of Gasper Cove does not want to be absorbed by Drummond, a community with nothing in common. So Valerie’s cousin, ex-professional hair stylist, Darlene, decides to run against Mike with Valerie as her Campaign Manager. After a slanderous story comes out in Lighthouse Online about Darlene, Valerie decides to visit Mike’s headquarters, but she finds Mike dead with a tie around his neck and one of Darlene’s handmade campaign signs beside him. Afraid that Darlene will be blamed for his death, Valerie launches her investigation.

Never underestimate what a group of motivated women can do when they have a common goal. I had a few snickers with the creative ways the crafters group ran their low-budget campaign. I could envision their stenciled lawn signs and the cross-stitched badges. I liked the references to our famous local artist, Maud Lewis, and her creative signature paintings such as the Three Black Cats.

I thought the fictional St Francis Xavier’s Professor’s theory of “Productive Gossip” to explain why more rural crimes were solved, compared to city crimes, despite cities having more police to investigate was hilarious. No one gets away with anything because people in rural communities are nosy. I am looking forward to the release of the 4th book in the fall.

Barbara Emodi is a published sewing author with 30+ years of experience as a sewing instructor. She has taught sewing classes in Australia, Canada, the United States, and online and has been a journalist, professor, and radio commentator in another life. Barbara sews, writes, and teaches in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she lives with her husband, cat, and dog. Visit her at

Publisher: ‎ C&T Publishing (May 25, 2024)
Paperback 5.5″ x 8.5″| 211 pages
ISBN: 9781644035061

Sue Slade has a Bachelor of Child Study from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax. After working with children and adults with special needs, she now has her midlife dream job of working with books. Sue manages an independent, locally owned bookstore, Dartmouth Book Exchange. Through her charismatic sharing centred around books and community, Sue has created an engaging cornerstone for authors, customers, and book lovers of all ages. Sue is an avid reader and her reviews cross over many genres.

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