Friday, May 11, 2007

A Killer Stitch - Maggie Sefton

A Killer Stitch
A Knitting Mystery
Maggie Sefton
Berkley Prime Crime


In Fort Collins, CO, House of Lambspun, a yarn shop, is always busy. These days, there are spinning classes; the seemingly magical process of taking wool roving and turning it into yarn. Lucy Adair, a sweet and reserved woman, is the instructor for the classes, and she calmly leads her students through the tricky process. Meanwhile, Kelly Flynn, Lisa, Jennifer, and the other members of the “shop family,” come and go throughout the day, often stopping to do a bit of knitting on their latest projects.

This calm routine continues until the day Ellen Hunter rushes in, breathless, and frantically searching for Lucy. There’s been a murder. Then Ellen drops the bomb: the victim is Derek, Lucy’s boyfriend. According to Ellen, Lucy and Derek were quite the romantic pair. According to Jennifer, however, Derek was a manipulative loser who had no trouble charming women into his bed. She knows this from painful experience with one of her friends, Diane. For over four years, Diane and Derek carried on a very volatile affair, complete with fights, breakups, cheating, and makeups.

Diane looks like the perfect suspect. She tells the police that she was home sleeping at the time of the murder. But, as Jennifer tells Kelly, that’s not entirely true. On the night of his death, Derek called Diane and asked her to come to his place. He said he wanted to get back together with her. Diane went, but they started fighting almost immediately. Diane went home and got drunk. Even worse, there were plenty of witnesses to the phone call and to Diane’s plans to meet with Derek. Since Kelly has had some success in recent months solving crimes, Jennifer appeals to her to help prove that, although she’s no angel, Diane is no murderer.

This is the fourth installment in this very entertaining cozy series, but new readers will have no trouble getting up to speed on the characters and their backgrounds. Much of the action takes place in the yarn shop, House of Lambspun, around the knitting table. Having once been fortunate enough to live close to a shop that sounds very similar, I can say that these scenes are absolutely realistic. One of the best things about this particular investigation is that it happens very naturally. Kelly, last seen in A DEADLY YARN, simply asks casual questions of various individuals, mostly in the shop, until the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. There are enough viable suspects to make for an interesting whodunit, and the eventual solution makes a good deal of sense. As a knitter, I enjoy the authentic atmosphere the author invokes almost as much as the underlying mystery.

Rating: 7 ½
May 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21520-3 (hardcover)


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