A Finely Knit Murder
Seaside Knitters Mystery, Book #9
By Sally Goldenbaum
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder in Merino, the sleuthing skills of Izzy Chambers Perry and the Seaside Knitters are tested as death mars the beginning of the school year…
Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza is thrilled that her granddaughter Gabby will be visiting for the fall and attending the Sea Harbor Community Day School. Gabby loves the school, with its newly-adopted progressive curriculum, and she loves that the Seaside Knitters are teaching knitting as part of the enrichment program. It’s a huge success, and on crisp autumn days, girls camp out on the terraces, knitting up hats for charity.
But not everyone is happy with the direction the school is taking. Outspoken board member Blythe Westerland has sparked tempers with her determination to unravel the current administration. Then, on the evening of an elegant school event, Blythe’s body is found near the school boathouse.
With a killer on the loose, Birdie is determined to keep Gabby safe. Working together, the Seaside Knitters carefully unravel the layers of Blythe’s complicated life, bringing faculty members and town residents under scrutiny. Before the cast-off rows are made on the students’ projects, the knitters will need to stitch together the evidence to see if a murderer has been walking beside them all along.
A Finely Knit Murder is the 9th novel in A Seaside Knitters Mystery series; it instantly appeals to the readers’ senses with a gorgeous, colorful cover. It can be read as a standalone, but might for maximum enjoyment be read after at least one or more earlier mysteries. One of the things the author does that I really like is include a list of characters at the beginning of the book. Especially for a first time reader, this is a gem.
The early chapters introduce us to current events and challenges at the Sea Harbor Community Day School which plays a central role in this novel, then to many of the characters. The Day School had, amongst its various groups, two individuals who could hardly be more different than Dr. Elizabeth Hartley, Headmistress, and Blythe Westerland, one of the board members. Elizabeth was willing to go any length to help any of the students and their families. Blythe was more about how things appeared, what the bottom line would be and keeping those staff members around her who made her look good. She was a flirt, appreciated by guys and not as well liked by the ladies. Most folks were not surprised, then, when her body was found dead, most likely murdered – by the old boathouse at the property where the school was. Unfortunately, it was also on the night of a special event at the Day School and at least one, possibly two people at the school would become suspects.
There are many characters in this mystery, most of whom have been part of the series for quite some time. Primary to, and most well defined, are the four ladies of whom the Seaside Knitters are centered around. They are Izzy, who owns the The Seaside Knitting Studio, Izzie’s Aunt Nell, Birdie, and Cass and their significant others. The other characters are defined as much as required for their roles. A bit of background is shared about most of those included. In the case of Blythe, we learn more about her posthumously than she ever shared with anyone while still alive.
The plot at times seemed a little slow, more like a women’s fiction novel than a cozy mystery in those areas. The author’s writing style is always excellent, and it is likely this reader may be appealed to more by how quickly mysteries are spent rather than a steady pace in women’s fiction. The author draws the reader in by maximizing use of clues, tantalizing tidbits about the deceased and her activities, and showing how well the group of knitters and friends worked together to bring resolution to the case. There was no shortage of suspects, as it seemed that most had a bone to pick with Blythe. Narrowing the field was more challenging than one would think possible, and the elusive bad guy or gal may have long since gotten away with it had it been up to me to discover who it was. All loose ends were tied up and motives revealed, bringing the mystery to a satisfying ending. I recommend A Finely Knit Murder to those who enjoy women’s fiction and cozy mystery genres combined, who enjoy rich detail and relationships with conversations built from years of satisfying relationships, all together with the common grounds that include knitting and art.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*