Knitting graffiti, in Plum Harbor? Maggie Messina doubts it could ever happen in her quiet village. Until the new parking meters on Main Street are found covered with cat-faced cozies. In the dark of night, the mysterious Knit Kats have struck again! The infamous gang of stitching graffiti artists are totally harmless, and their pranks all in good fun. Or so Maggie and her friends think. Until a yarn-covered corpse is discovered a few days later — the tangles identical to Knit Kat handiwork.
These threads of evidence should be easy to follow. But the clever Knit Kats hide behind a website and secret identities. The murderer could be anyone. A familiar face in town, even a copy Kat. But when Maggie’s assistant, Phoebe, becomes the prime suspect, the knitting friends know the police have dropped a few stitches. With no time to rest on their needles, the Black Sheep set out to unmask the crafty killer. No simple task, when all Knit Kats look the same in the dark.
This is the first Black Sheep Knitting Mystery I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. As both a cozy mystery reader and a knitter, I am always delighted to find a new series that combines both, and this is one of the best I’ve come across in a while. Taut and well-written, the mystery kept me turning pages while the protagonists, yarn store owner Maggie and her quirky college-age assistant Phoebe, slowly became my friends. Canadeo doesn’t cheat; the reader has all the clues that Maggie does, and the mystery unfolds with more than the usual twists and speed bumps of the average cozy. I found the book a little meatier and more serious than some of the fluffier cozies I’ve read.
The involvement of the Knit Kats starts out lighthearted but becomes more sinister with the disappearance of one student and the death of another. A stalker ex-boyfriend and two professors who may each be hiding secrets add to the list of suspects. The resolution, when it came, did involve some outside information, but in a realistic way.
One of the things I really appreciated is that I was able to jump in at book 6 without feeling like I was missing anything important. While Maggie, her shop, and her friends clearly have a history with murder as well as with their knitting group, Canadeo deftly fitted in any necessary information without awkward info dumps. This is one series which can apparently be read out of order without too much difficulty – though I certainly plan to catch up on previous installments!
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Cozy mystery
Series: Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #6
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release date: Jan. 14, 2014
Book source: Review copy from the publisher
About the author:
Anne Canadeo lives and knits in Northport, New York. She is the author of the Black Sheep knitting mystery series, and she has also authored the popular Thomas Kinkade series writing as Katherine Spencer. (bio source: publisher)