on June 6, 2017
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Also in this series: Cast On, Kill Off, Close Knit Killer, Yarn Over Murder, Purl Up and Die, Knit to Be Tied
Kelly Flynn and her boyfriend, Steve, couldn't be happier as they await the birth of their bouncing baby boy. Kelly's got a built-in group of fiber arts specialists, the Lambspun Knitters, who are working away on blankets and booties. As they sit around the table crafting their keepsakes, the story of Giselle Callahan is a popular topic of conversation.
Giselle is the young wife of Henry Callahan, a Fort Connor banking scion, who traded in his previous wife of forty years for a newer model. Giselle's prowess as a skilled country club golfer and social climber puts her on someone's hit list. When she is found dead on the greens at the golf club, Kelly and her Lambspun crew worry that a vicious killer is in their midst. They must work fast to bring an unhinged murderer to justice on the back nine before Kelly's very special delivery...
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Pregnancy slows Kelly down but doesn’t stop her from wondering and asking questions in Only Skein Deep. The lack of active investigation makes this book far more “cozy” than “mystery,” but fans will enjoy spending time with Kelly and the Lambspun gang as they wait for the birth of baby Jack—and wonder who murdered a woman on the golf course.
The golf-course murder certainly has a place in the yarn shop conversation, but it’s not the focus of the book or the characters. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is focused on the impending birth of Kelly and Steve’s baby. It’s the main topic of conversation and the first thing anyone says to Kelly. (If you find that a little annoying as a reader, imagine what it’s like to be an expectant mom in her ninth month, because the author isn’t exaggerating. When I was pregnant (decades ago), some form of “How are you doing” or “When are you due” was always the first thing out of anyone’s mouth when I encountered them. . . usually followed by reams of advice.)
Once those conversations are out of the way, though, the talk often turns to the murder, as various regulars and newcomers to the shop share what they know (aka, gossip!) about the death, the victim, her marriage, and her husband’s first wife. Unlike most of the mysteries in this series, Kelly neither finds nor views the body, and no one she knows is obviously connected to the murder in any way. While it’s certainly a more realistic scenario than in most cozy mysteries—how many of us stumble across dead bodies or become personally involved in murder cases, after all—it also serves to make the mystery feel distant, rather than urgent and immediate. Kelly’s interest this time is more academic; she’s necessarily on the outskirts of the investigation, and it takes up less than half her attention.
I’ve been a Lambspun regular (in the sense of reading the mysteries) since early in the series, so I enjoyed the chance to spend time with Kelly and her circle of friends, even if the mystery side of things felt a bit skimpy. I liked seeing Kelly and Steve’s relationship on such a solid footing, and the caring and support their friends exhibit toward both of them, especially Kelly. I could have done without several completely unrelated info-dumps, though: conversations in which one or more characters expounded on subjects having nothing to do with the mystery, Kelly’s baby, or knitting. I don’t think everything in a mystery needs to be connected to the mystery or even to the series theme, but to be honest, these scenes felt stilted and suspiciously like filler.
The bottom line? If you’re already a fan, read Only Skein Deep for the community of friends and the warm, comforting ambiance of the Lambspun knitting shop. If you’re new to the series, start with the first book; the early books feature more compelling mysteries, and you’ll get to know Kelly and the gang from the beginning.