Knot of This World



Knot of This World (A Quilting Mystery)
by Mary Marks

About Knot of the World

Knot of This World (A Quilting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496720512
ISBN-13: 978-1496720511
Digital ASIN: B07ZPJ5BLM

Quilter Martha Rose must patch together the clues to solve the murder of a cult leader in the California mountains . . .


Has Martha’s fellow quilter and dear friend Birdie Watson become unraveled? Birdie and her new husband have decided to join the Mystical Feather Society, a spiritist group living on a commune in the mountains of Ojai, California. Before her free-spirited friend makes a huge mistake, Martha organizes a surprise visit to check out the commune. While white-robed members conduct a seancĂ© in a glass yurt, their leader—Royal St. Germain—is nowhere to be found . . . until, that is, Martha and her friends discover him shot in their Winnebago. Now Martha must track down the killer and debunk the cult—before it’s bye bye Birdie . . .

Read An Excerpt

I took a deep breath and told him about Birdie and Denver. “Is Mystical Feather a cult? How can I prevent my friends from joining?”

He nodded with a sober expression. “It won’t be easy.”

“Why not? Talk to me.”

“The Mystical Feather Society started out legit. As a matter of fact, Madam Natasha St. Germain’s books are still read today. She had a real gift for helping people. But she died suddenly in nineteen seventy-five, and everything changed when her son, Royal St. Germain, took over. The dude’s a real piece of work.”

“How do you mean?”

Paulina leaned forward. “Mansoor’s right. I saw Royal once. He’s got shifty eyes and a very muddy aura. Right, Mansoor?”

The turbaned man nodded. “First of all, the guy’s got no talent for the spirit world. He couldn’t read a simple aura if it whacked him in the face. And contact the dead?” he scoffed. “Forget it. I heard rumors his only relationship with the dead was when he dispatched someone to the afterlife.”

I needed more than speculation if I was going to convince Birdie not to join. “Is there any reason to believe those rumors might be true?”

Mansoor shrugged. “I heard rumors people complained they could never reach their relatives once they joined the commune. . . .”

Mansoor was right. Almost by definition, a cult kept power over its members by keeping them isolated from outside influences.

“Go on,” I said.

“Madam Natasha made a lot of money from the sale of her books and classes she held all over the world. She used that money to set up the Mystical Feather Society and eventually the retreat in the mountains of Ojai. She endowed a trust that would perpetually fund the retreat. The idea was that people could sign up for a week or two of classes to connect with their spirit guides and find spiritual enlightenment.”

“But my friend Birdie intends to live there for the rest of her life. When did things change?”

When Madam Natasha died, she left a will naming her son, Royal, as her successor and sole trustee.”

 “Why would she do that if he had no talent for the spiritual world, as you said?”

“I wasn’t there. But they say that as talented and spiritually adept as she was, she had one blind spot. Her son. He was a real charmer.”

Again with the “they say.” I wonder how much real evidence he has. “So, how, exactly, did the part-time retreat turn into a live-in commune?”

 “Royal did that. He liked having groupies. Lots of free sex. He spent money lavishly until the trust fund ran low. That’s when he expanded the retreat to include permanent residents. People could still come for classes and a temporary stay in the dormitories. But he built little houses for those who chose to live there permanently. That group formed the core community, with an elite membership requirement. Members had to be people with money—people willing to give everything they owned to the trust in exchange for spiritual enlightenment and a lifetime home on the commune.”

Just like Birdie and Denver said. “How can usually smart people be duped into something so, so . . .”

Paulina, who had remained silent while Mansoor spoke, said, “I know it’s hard for someone like you to understand, Martha, but people who are spiritual seekers, especially those who practice Madam St. Germain’s writings and teachings, are thrilled to find a group who think and believe like they do. And what better place to live than the society practicing her vision at a retreat under the leadership of her son? How old did you say your friends are?”

“In their late seventies.”

“Ah.” Paulina closed her eyes and nodded. “People in that age bracket have concerns about their health failing. Maybe Royal promised to look after them when they became too old or too sick.”

My pulse began to race. Mansoor mentioned rumors that Royal dispatched people to the afterlife. What had Birdie said? We’ll be well taken care of until our spirits leave our bodies.

Mansoor sat back and turned up the palms of his delicate hands. “Royal is very charismatic when he wants to be. Especially with the elderly. You’re right to fear for your friends.”

I shuddered. “So far, you’ve only mentioned rumors.”

Paulina held up a finger. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

“I need concrete proof to show Birdie and Denver they’re making a huge mistake. How sure are you about what you’ve just told me?”

Mansoor the Magnificent sat up straight, closed his eyelids halfway, and sniffed. “I am a seer. With the help of my spirit guides, I see things. I hear things.”

Oh great! With no hard evidence except the visions of a seer, how was I going to convince Birdie and Denver of the danger they were about to confront?


About Mary Marks

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at

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  1. It sounds like a cute mystery. I like the cover especially the quilts. Thanks for the chance.

  2. New author to me. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading the book.

  3. The setting is a little different for a cozy which makes it very interesting. Thanks for the excerpt. I look forward to reading this one.


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