"I was covering a street shooting for the Daily Bulletin when I met her. It was pure luck, but isn't half of life just luck?
  She lives above a retired Art Deco theater in San Francisco’s Sunset District with an old long-haired cat, her harpsichord and enough yarn to fill a railroad car.
  The police call her the Yarn Woman. Her specialty is the forensic study of textiles. But they ask for her help with some trepidation because they know that whatever crime she’s unraveling for them comes with a lot of knots and baggage. And ghosts. There are always the ghosts."

— Nat P.M. Fisher



The Point Arena Lighthouse inspired the setting for 'The Sea Silk Shawl' and the fictional town of Point Dolores. At the top of the Point Dolores Lighthouse's 133 steps is the lantern room, site of a mysterious shooting in 1999. And at the bottom of the spiral staircase, a double shooting claimed the lives of Bud Josephs and Deputy Scott MacGregor on that same night.
Photo by Alfred Georg Sonsalla / Dreamstime.com

The Sea Silk Shawl

  NEARLY TWENTY YEARS AGO, a drug deal gone wrong claimed the lives of the Point Dolores lighthouse keeper and a much-loved local sheriff’s deputy. The murders still haunt the isolated Northern California town, and the arrival of Ruth M, the FBI textile forensics consultant known within the department as the Yarn Woman, threatens to dredge up the past.
  On a much-needed vacation at the lighthouse, which is now a visitor lodge, Ruth wakes to find a young girl at her bedside. The seed of a deep friendship is planted with eight-year-old Anastasia. But when Ruth attends a local knitting club meeting that night, she learns about the drug murders and who the strange child really is. Rather, was: Her body was never found, and the girl’s true fate remains a mystery.
  At the request of the deputy’s widow, Ruth agrees to look into the cold case. She discovers the unusual history of seaside town — the wreck of an opium clipper a century and a half ago, the death and questionable resurrection of one of the townsfolk, and the impossible presence in the waters off Point Dolores of “sea silk.” Incredibly rare and valuable, the golden-colored fiber comes only from the byssus of the large Mediterranean mussel, Pinna nobilis. This golden thread was woven by the ancient Chinese into what they called “cloth from West of the Sea,” and was sought by Jason and his Argonauts in the form of the golden fleece. It was coveted my Arabian princes a thousand years ago.
  In both myth and modern times, though, sea silk maintains an uncanny relationship to those who have died — and the troubled spirits who wander the earth in the gray world between life and death.
  The role of sea silk in the events of Point Dolores is undeniable. As Ruth steadily works her way toward the cold-case killer, she challenges what we think we know about life and death and the mystical, liminal world between … where lost souls wander. Like Anastasia?

The Sea Silk Shawl is available at Amazon.com