McRae, Cricket 1964- [A pseudonym] (Karye Cattrell)

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McRae, Cricket 1964- [A pseudonym] (Karye Cattrell)

PERSONAL:

Born May 7, 1964. Education: B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—CO. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Author. Microsoft, Seattle, WA, program manager; worked as a self-employed soap maker for two years.

WRITINGS:

Lye in Wait: A Home Crafting Mystery, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2007.

Heaven Preserve Us: A Home Crafting Mystery, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Cricket McRae is the pseudonym used by author Karye Cattrell. Before becoming an author, she worked as a program manager for Microsoft in Seattle, Washington, and as a soap maker. Since McRae was a child, she has had an interest in practical handcrafts such as spinning, knitting, gardening, and canning produce. It was only natural, then, that when McRae began writing mystery stories she made good use of her handcrafting talents. Her heroine, Sophie Mae Reynolds, lives in the Pacific Northwest and has a soap-making business called Winding Road Bath Products. McRae's first book, Lye in Wait: A Home Crafting Mystery, opens with Sophie Mae finding a dead body in her workroom. The handsome detective, Barr Ambrose, thinks at first the victim might have gotten a dose of lye from Sophie Mae's soap-making supplies, but changes his mind when Sophie Mae's investigations put her in danger. Romance begins to blossom as the victim's complex life and death unfold, and his murder is finally solved. Throughout the book, McRae includes recipes and information about homemade beauty products and remedies.

Critics praised Lye in Wait and expressed anticipation for the next Sophie Mae book. A critic for Mysterious Reviews thought that Lye in Wait was "an enjoyable book with a credible, if not complex, plot that's handled well. It's a fine start to this new series." Whitney Scott, in a review for Booklist, wrote that the book was "complete with credibly written characters possessing enough appealing eccentricities to keep readers happy." In Curled Up with a Good Book, Jaimie Bell called Lye in Wait a "fun addition to a popular genre." She continued: "This enjoyable mystery contains plenty of twists and turns and even has a nice twist at the end." She concluded: "I look forward to Cricket McRae's next book." Laura Pellerin also was enthusiastic about the new series in her review for Sisters in Crime. She said, "McRae writes with a fresh voice…. I personally look forward to reading more by Cricket McRae."

McRae's second book in the series, Heaven Preserve Us: A Home Crafting Mystery, continues the sleuthing adventures of Sophie Mae. This time the mystery revolves around her volunteer work answering the Heaven House Helpline. Death and sickness are blamed on a jar of beets that have gone bad, but Sophie Mae has other ideas and sets out to discover the truth. A critic for Kirkus Reviews commented that in Heaven Preserve Us "stubborn Sophie Mae's sophomore case provides her with more intriguing opportunities for sleuthing."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2007, Whitney Scott, review of Lye in Wait: A Home Crafting Mystery, p. 39.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2007, review of Lye in Wait; May 15, 2008, review of Heaven Preserve Us: A Home Crafting Mystery.

ONLINE

Cricket McRae Home Page,http://www.cricketmcrae.com (July 2, 2008).

Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (July 2, 2008), Jaimie Bell, review of Lye in Wait.

Mysterious Reviews,http://www.mysteriousreviews.com/ (July 2, 2008), review of Lye in Wait.

Sisters in Crime,http://www.sistersincrime-rmc.org/ (July 2, 2008), Laura Pellerin, "Can a Home Crafting Business Be the Means to Murder?"