Review: Close Knit Killer (A Knitting Mystery), by Maggie Sefton

June 24, 2013 Book Reviews 6 ★★★

Review: Close Knit Killer (A Knitting Mystery), by Maggie SeftonClose Knit Killer by Maggie Sefton
Series: Knitting Mystery #11
Published by Berkley on 6/04/2013
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library
Goodreads
three-stars
Also in this series: Cast On, Kill Off, Yarn Over Murder, Purl Up and Die, Knit to Be Tied
Also by this author: Cast On, Kill Off, Yarn Over Murder, Purl Up and Die, Knit to Be Tied

Springtime in Fort Connor, Colorado, is a breeze until a veteran con man shows up in town. Everyone—including the House of Lambspun knitters—is up in arms, and once again it’s up to Kelly Flynn to untangle the threads of a complicated crime...

Kelly’s good friend, the owner of the House of Lambspun, has something exciting up her sleeve. Her knitting shop has outgrown itself and she is looking to turn an old storage building into a classroom space for her shop’s spinners and weavers.

But when an old familiar face shows up in town, nerves quickly become frayed...

Years ago Jared Rizzoli, a former financial advisor, operated a Ponzi scheme that defrauded countless Fort Connor residents—including Barbara, one of the shop’s knitters. Jared went to jail for his crime, but after being released for good behavior, he’s back to ruin more lives.

When Jared is found dead in his car outside of Lambspun, Barbara becomes a prime suspect, much to the shock of the knitting community. To save one of their own, Kelly and her friends need to sort through a long list of fleeced suspects to pin the crime on the true killer...

Review:

For me, Maggie Sefton’s Knitting Mysteries are mental popcorn.  I mean that in a positive way: they’re a pleasant diversion, perfect for when I need something light. They’re entertaining but not demanding, filled with characters I like as well as plenty of references to one of my other favorite past-times, knitting.

Close Knit Killer felt a little different than the previous ones, and I’m still trying to figure out why.  I think primarily it’s that Kelly doesn’t really do much detecting in this book.  She’s certainly keeping tabs on the police investigation, and she’s definitely concerned when several of the main suspects are acquaintances whom she likes.  But unlike in the earlier books, Kelly doesn’t actually do any snooping around or trying to find clues on her own in this one — which is most unlike her.  She doesn’t really solve the crime; the solution is practically handed to her on a platter.  To be fair, her behavior here is a lot more realistic than in the other books.  Cops don’t generally appreciated amateurs poking around and potentially interfering with their own investigations.  But in a cozy mystery, I normally expect at least some sleuthing by the amateur sleuth!

The mystery itself was also a little disappointing, because it wasn’t that hard to figure out despite the proliferation of on-the-scene suspects.  I picked up on the murderer pretty early on, though I couldn’t be certain for a while, since there were no specific clues pointing in that direction until the last quarter of the book.

Kelly’s unusual investigative restraint didn’t keep me from enjoying Close Knit Killer.  As usual, there is a subplot involving Kelly’s friends.  After cafe owner Pete’s grandfather is taken ill, Pete and his girlfriend Jennifer find themselves in loco parentis to Pete’s tween niece, Cassie.  The friends all jump in to help provide supervised summer activities for Cassie, since Pete and Jennifer both work long hours.  Cassie is a sweetheart, although she’s almost too good; I kept wondering when we would see something other than perfect behavior from her.  Maybe that will come in a future book.

Kelly’s circle of friends is one of the things I like best about this series.  They’re all nice people, and they clearly care about and support each other.  Sefton relies a little too much on giving each character a few identifying characteristics, and there’s not a lot of character development in each book, but over the course of the series, most of the regular characters have been fleshed out enough to avoid being two-dimensional.  I was also glad to see that Kelly and Steve’s relationship is back on an even keel; their breakup a few books ago almost made me quit reading the series.  Unfortunately, Steve doesn’t put in many appearances in Close Knit Killer, because he’s working down in Denver.

Another thing I really like about this series is the setting.  Sefton’s “Fort Connor” is a thinly-disguised Fort Collins, Colorado, and the yarn shop around which the series revolves is based on a real shop.  (I keep promising myself that I’ll get there someday.)  The shop, with its adjacent cafe, is almost a character in the series, and the overall setting — a small city situated right against the mountains — gives plenty of scope for variety.  Close Knit Killer occurs mostly in and around the Lambspun shop, but previous mysteries have taken place elsewhere in the city and up in the ranches and canyons, which adds variety to the series.

Close Knit Killer isn’t the strongest entry in the Knitting Mysteries series, but I think fans will enjoy it anyway.  If you love cozy mysteries and haven’t tried this series yet, I recommend starting with the first book, Knit One Kill Two

 

I read this book as part of the Cruisin’ Through the Cozies Reading Challenge 2013.

 

three-stars

About Maggie Sefton

Maggie Sefton grew up in northern Virginia, got her degree in Literature & Journalism, and raised four daughters (now grown and embarked on their own careers.) She lives in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains with her two dogs. She writes the Knitting Mysteries starring Kelly Flynn as well as the Molly Malone suspense series set in Washington, D.C.

6 Responses to “Review: Close Knit Killer (A Knitting Mystery), by Maggie Sefton”

  1. Bea's Book Nook

    I read an earlier book in this series though I don’t remember which one. I do remember that it didn’t impress me and this one sounds as if it wouldn’t either.

    I agree that the amateur sleuth should do some of the detecting. 😀

    Good review.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Thank you, Bea! These aren’t for everyone; they’re light and not particularly suspenseful. I like the knitting & yarn shop aspect and some of the continuing characters, but the mystery hasn’t been as strong in a few of the recent ones, including this one.

  2. Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic

    Mental popcorn. I’m going to have to steal that because it is such an apt description. I love cozy mysteries for that special mood. I’d heard of this series before in passing but the details described by you definitely tell me this is a series that fits me. Thanks!

  3. Anonymous

    I was so disappointed in this book. I have loved the series but this was horrible. The entire book just kept repeating over and over what everyone was doing for Cassie each day and how the two suspects in the beginning had reason to do it. This book was also different in the respect that when characters were talking to each other their names were used in every sentence spoke. What happened to Burt said or Mimi said? I really thought thru the entire book that Maggie Sefton did not write this. The last chapter regarding the fire was the only chapter that held my attention and made me want to read further. The only reason I finished this book is because I can not stand to start a book and not finish.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I agree that it didn’t have the same spark and interest of most of the early ones. It seemed flatter and more formulaic, but I still enjoyed visiting with the characters again. Interesting suggestion — that it might have been written by someone else. It hadn’t occurred to me, but I suppose it’s a possibility.