Purl Up and Die (Maggie Sefton)

July 20, 2015 Book Reviews 4 ★★★

Purl Up and Die (Maggie Sefton)Purl Up and Die by Maggie Sefton
Series: Knitting Mystery #13
Published by Berkley on June 2nd 2015
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library
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Also in this series: Cast On, Kill Off, Close Knit Killer, Yarn Over Murder, Knit to Be Tied, Only Skein Deep
Also by this author: Cast On, Kill Off, Close Knit Killer, Yarn Over Murder, Knit to Be Tied, Only Skein Deep

In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Yarn Over Murder, Kelly Flynn and the Lambspun Knitters must unravel the truth from the lies to clear a friend’s son suspected of murder…

Kelly Flynn’s summer in Fort Connor, Colorado, is off to a great start with romantic celebrations with her boyfriend, Steve, and enjoyable—albeit challenging—knitting classes taught by her friend Barb at the House of Lambspun. But while Barb’s advanced stitches are giving Kelly the slip, a more deadly problem soon has her friend coming apart at the seams.

A young woman has accused Barb’s son, Tommy—a young doctor doing his residency—of assaulting her. The yarns spun by the local rumor mill are bad enough, but when the young woman is found dead in her ransacked apartment, Tommy becomes the number one suspect.

The police are ready to close the case, but Kelly is convinced that there are a few more likely suspects. Now she has to knit together the clues herself to uncover a killer who doesn’t seem to drop a stitch...


Maggie Sefton’s ‘Knitting Mystery’ series has become one of those series I continue reading for sentimental reasons – I’ve spent so much time with the characters that I want to see what happens to them. The thirteenth installment, Purl Up and Die, is pleasant but not gripping; I found it pretty predictable. The plot is somewhat thin. I identified the murderer early on; there are only a few possibilities so it wasn’t hard to spot who it was. It seems to me there is a lot of “padding” in the book – conversation and scenes that are unrelated to the mystery. Since a lot of that conversation follows the lives of the recurring characters, I was fine with that. However, there’s also quite a bit of page time spent detailing what the characters are eating and drinking – especially Kelly and her coffee. Kelly’s coffee addiction is notable, but after following the series all these years, I’ve got the picture – I really don’t need to hear about every cup she drinks!

To tell the truth, Purl Up and Die fell a little flat for me, at least on the mystery front. The last book, which involved a wildfire as well as a murder, left me feeling that the series had been recharged, but this one is business-as-usual: someone the knitters know is involved in a murder; Kelly gets curious and asks a lot of questions; she figures out whodunnit and with the help of ex-cop Burt, the police are able to apprehend the murder. I do appreciate that Kelly doesn’t usually put herself into danger any more; thankfully, she has learned some sense. I get so tired of heroines with TSTL syndrome!* But it does tend to decrease the tension when there’s no real danger to anyone I’ve come to care about.

On the other hand, watching young Cassie grow into a confident teenager, hearing about Steve’s good news, spending a little time in the knitting shop with “Mother Mimi” – it’s like visiting with an old friend; it doesn’t need to be exciting to be enjoyable. I’ve visited the original Lambspun shop (yes, it really exists!) and driven through Fort Collins – the real “Fort Connor”. I can easily picture the shop and its environs, so they feel familiar, too. Incidentally, if you’re a knitter and you’re ever in the vicinity, make sure you go to Lambspun. It’s amazing!

While I’m glad I read Purl Up and Die because I’ve become attached to the characters, I would not suggest this book as a good place to start the series. I think it would be hard to keep track of all the recurring characters without knowing their backstories from previous books, and since the focus of the book is split about 50/50 between the mystery and the regular characters’ day-to-day lives and interactions, a new reader might feel lost very quickly. Start with the first book, Knit One, Kill Two, instead.


*TSTL = “too stupid to live”, i.e., the sort of heroine who goes into situations that any intelligent person would know to avoid. The heroines you find yourself yelling “you idiot, tell someone where you’re going!” at. (You know the type.) Kelly was on the edge of this in some of the early books, but hasn’t done anything foolhardy in a while.

CHALLENGES: Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies 2015; COYER #11 – read a mystery novel


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.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Scavenger Hunt - Summer 2015
  • Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2015

4 Responses to “Purl Up and Die (Maggie Sefton)”

  1. Lola

    I love the cover for this one. Those cozy mysteries always have such cute and cozy covers. Although I haven’t read a lot of cozy mysteries so far, although I do planning on reading more of them this year. And wow this is the 13th book, I can understand you have come to care about the characetrs then. I am sorry to hear the mystery fel a bit flat. I always think it’s difficult to have the right balance of the character not doign anything stupid, but stil beign involved. As it usually means that if we have a sensible characters it’s more boring to read about as she never get’s into trouble, although I also like it when characters don’t rush headfirst into trouble. It always fun to read a new book in a series where you feel at home and like the characetrs are old friends. Great Review!
    Lola recently posted…Review: Visions by Kelley ArmstrongMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yes, you’ve described it exactly – that tricky balance of sensible vs. involved, where sensible sometimes means the book isn’t as exciting. It’s a tough balancing act for authors, I agree.