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Planning to write a paper for Smithsonian Magazine on the cultural significance of string figures, such as Cat's Cradle, librarian and unemployed paleopathologist Dr. Megan Clark has a wonderful idea that will help her with her research. She will organize a convention and invite all the members of the International String Figure Association to attend. She invites the Murder by the Yard Reading Circle to forgo discussing mysteries and help her with her convention. The membership, eccentrics all, and recently introduced to making string figures themselves by Megan, enthusiastically agree, even Ryan Stevens, history professor and Megan's best friend. Ryan mainly agrees because he sees no way that Megan can get into trouble at a string figure convention. What's the worse that can happen? She gets tangled up in her own string? When a long-lost manuscript about string figure art is offered for silent auction by a greedy and very unpleasant conventioneer, Ryan discovers that Megan Clark can attract murder like a magnet attracts metal files, and that certain string figures can be lethal.

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