Series: Knitting Mystery #11
Published by Berkley on 6/04/2013
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
Source: the library
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Also in this series: Cast On, Kill Off, Yarn Over Murder, Purl Up and Die, Knit to Be Tied, Only Skein Deep
Also by this author: Cast On, Kill Off, Yarn Over Murder, Purl Up and Die, Knit to Be Tied, Only Skein Deep
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...
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.