A Wicked Yarn

Craft Fair Knitters Mystery #1

By Emmie Caldwell




Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


A killer may craft the perfect crime, but as every knitter worth her yarn knows–murder wool out.

Mother’s Day should be a cinch for the good folks of the Crandalsburg Craft Fair, and knitting enthusiast Lia Geiger has a good feeling about this year’s yield. But things quickly get knotty when Lia’s daughter announces she’s quit her job and Lia finds herself tangled up in the murder of her best friend’s ex-husband. While Belinda’s alibi quickly gets her off the hook, nasty rumors spread throughout Crandalsburg that shroud the entire fair in suspicion.

Could the vendors be responsible for the murder of a man hell-bent on unraveling the fair just days before his death? Lia and her crafty group of Ninth Street Knitters must put down their needles to gather clues and save the crafting community they’ve grown to love. (Goodreads)


A Wicked Yarn, the first Craft Fair Knitters mystery, is a solid start to the new series by Emmie Caldwell (aka Mary Ellen Hughes).  Small town dynamics, a crafty backdrop, and a quality murder mystery come together to make a fun cozy read.

Lia, a surgical nurse, unexpectedly finds herself a widow and moves to a small town in Pennsylvania to start over, though she does not move far and maintains her knitters group in her nearby hometown.  She is settling in nicely and spends her weekends manning her group’s booth at the Crandalsburg Craft Fair.  Things start to go awry when the barn’s manager Belinda’s ex-husband threatens to buy the historic building and tear it down, but then Lia finds his Belinda standing over his dead body.  In an effort to save Belinda’s reputation and their livelihood, Lia sets out to find a killer, even as the body count rises.

The mystery Lia faces is very well thought out and executed.  The layout of suspects and clues is orderly and moves along in an organic fashion.  Every step Lia takes makes sense, and she never goes off on a wild goose chase.  Belinda’s ex-husband Darren has stepped on a lot of toes along the way leaving behind a slew of folks with good motives for murder.  The addition of another victim complicates the investigation, and a dangerous situation adds suspense.  It all comes together to make a satisfying read.

Lia is an older than average cozy sleuth, but I had to keep reminding myself that she is probably only in her late forties or early fifties.  She feels fresh to me…she is not a quirky octogenarian or inexperienced young woman but a sensible and warm, intelligent woman who sees the best in people.  I really enjoy her relationship with her daughter Haley and appreciate both perspectives of Haley’s predicament as she figures out the trials of young adulthood.  There is the merest whisper of romance within these pages but not for Lia.  Quite a few supporting characters are introduced between the other craft fair vendors, knitting group members, neighbors, and murder suspects, and it does require a little attention to keep them all straight.  These characters provide a lot of variety and interest to the small community setting.  I like that the police are not the bad guys or portrayed as inept.

A Wicked Yarn hits all the right notes for the cozy genre, and I will definitely read the next installment in the Craft Fair Knitters Mystery series when it becomes available.  Recommended to any cozy reader.