Dyeing Up Loose Ends
A Knitting Mystery, Book #16
By Maggie Sefton
Author Website: maggiesefton(.)com
Murder hits very close to home for Kelly Flynn and the Lambspun Knitters in the next New York Times bestselling mystery.
Four years have sped swiftly by, and Kelly Flynn and friends are all happily busy with children and careers. Baby Jack is now a rambunctious four-year-old preschooler who keeps Kelly on her toes. She needs all of the coffee she can drink at Pete’s Porch Café. Her friends at Lambspun knitting shop are all immersed in the wonderful world of fiber until they are shocked by the murder of one of the café’s lovable staff.
Kelly’s sleuthing instincts immediately go on full alert, and she starts asking questions. The well-liked waitress may have had enemies no one knew about or she could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kelly and the Lambspun crew soon learn that the answers are knottier and nastier than they ever dreamed. (Goodreads)
Kelly and her friends at Lambspun of Colorado have come a long way in the years since she first came to live in the little home she inherited from her Aunt Helen. The core group of friends are closer than ever, and most have small children of their own. Kelly and Steve are parents of a very busy four-year-old and they have busy careers. It is early summer, and many people are away. As a result, Lambspun is less busy than usual with regards to classes and various fiber arts. This is more of a relational and reminiscing novel, somewhat apropos when I learned it was also the final mystery in the series.
The first several chapters are spent with various people of the Lambspun family reminiscing about the mysteries that Kelly contributed to solving over the years and how people met and came together as families. Lambspun folks are not immune from tragedies, as they have pulled together over the years when one of their loved ones has been died, or even when customers were found guilty of murder.
Two weddings are anticipated to take place in the near future for two young couples close to the heart of Lambspun and Pete’s Porch Cafe, the restaurant part of the Lambspun building. One is planned thoroughly, even though it is hard to imagine that the two young people are old enough to wed. The other is not to be. One morning when Pete and Jennifer arrived to get the Cafe ready to open, one bride-to-be was found dead, shot, with the gun on the floorboard of her car. Horrified, it is hardest of all for Mimi, owner and manager of Lambspun, and Burt, her husband and a retired police detective, who have taken the younger couples into their hearts as if sons and daughters. Pete and Jennifer have also worked closely with the young woman for the past several years, and it is hard for them to re-open the cafe without their friend.
The characters have grown and changed over the years they have lived in Fort Collins, Colorado. They have been on softball and other teams together, helped each other and the greater community during times of disaster, and grown closer through both joys and tragedies. I enjoy seeing the women now as mothers learning to balance safe limits for their children without stunting their need to explore and try new things. Kelly is still a favorite; her son is now her most active sport. Mother Mimi is a favorite also, even though this time she is less visible. Cassie is a young favorite; watching her blossom under the care of her uncle, Pete, and Jennifer, his wife, has been amazing.
The death did not occur until well into the novel, much later than I would have anticipated, and I didn’t think that there was much time given to asking questions or looking for the bad guy amongst Kelly and the Gang as in the past. With young children, they are very busy, but I didn’t feel the mystery was adequately inquired about by police or the Gang. It wasn’t until much later that Kelly heard something that clicked her logical, questioning mind, something that made her, Burt, and the police take another look at events. Despite one other person who could have been involved, it was almost obvious who the bad guy/gal might be and who at least one of the red herrings was. While there were plot twists that helped change the course, there were not as many surprises as I anticipated.
When I opened this mystery, I was not prepared for it to be the final one in the series. I have enjoyed the realistic characters and the mysteries woven by an excellent author for a long time! I did miss the activity typical in the shop, reading about spinning or new craft classes, and some of the action outside the shop. I also missed having a full investigation occurring even through the grief and loss. That being said, the novel is still very well written, simply not as much about mystery as about relationship. These beautifully-drawn relationships have stood the test of time, and there is much to be learned from this series even as we puzzle over the murders and learn about various fiber arts. As one can see through the pages of memories, this is a series that will be read, re-read, and enjoyed for yarn lovers for some time to come.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*