Death of a Knit Wit
A Knit and Nibble Mystery, Book #8
By Peggy Ehrhart
Author Website: peggyehrhart(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When a professor is poisoned, Pamela Paterson and the members of the Knit and Nibble knitting club must take a crash course in solving his mysterious murder.
Pamela has organized a weekend-long knitting bee as part of a conference on fiber arts and crafts at Wendelstaff College. But when pompous Professor Robert Greer-Gordon Critter, the keynote speaker at the conference, crashes the bee, he seems more interested in flirting than knitting. The man’s reputation as a philanderer supersedes his academic reputation. After coffee and cookies are served, the professor suddenly collapses, seemingly poisoned—but how? Everyone had the coffee and cookies. Joined by her bestie Bettina and the Knit and Nibble ladies, Pamela sorts through everything from red socks to red herrings to unravel the means and motives of a killer dead set on teaching the professor a lesson. (Amazon)
It is fun to revisit Pamela, her daughter Penny, and her friends from the Knit and Nibble knitting group! This time we get to join Pamela at a fiber arts event for which she was both an organizer and participant. Reading this cozy is like visiting old friends, as Pamela and best friend Bettina are described very well for either the first time or returning reader. The mystery is intriguing, especially when trying to follow the clues to who the real bad guy/ gal might be.
Pamela, a middle-aged widow, works from home as an associate editor for Fiber Craft magazine and enjoys learning from every article. The fiber arts and crafts weekend is jointly hosted by Fiber Craft magazine and nearby Wendelstaff College. She had proposed a knitting bee as one of the workshops to take place both days of the event. The bee welcomed the first-time knitter, the expert, and everyone in between; people could mentor or be mentored in the craft. It was held at the Sufficiency House, a historic home that was quite popular at the college.
When attending the Saturday luncheon, Pamela heard keynote speaker Dr. Robert Greer-Gordon Critter. Robert, a professor at the college, was questioned and criticized by one of the women during the Q&A time, so he finally stepped away. Pamela heard it was his ex-wife, and that his new book included some of ideas he took from her. As she left the luncheon, she heard a couple voices behind shrubbery, one of which was Dr. Critter’s, and the other, a woman who sounded sad and upset. She thought they had the beginning of a relationship, he did not, and she was very hurt at his behavior.
Pamela returned to the bee and was enjoying the company of the women. Robert came to see the knitting projects the participants were doing. He went to the kitchen, poured himself coffee, and while talking with a woman and drinking his coffee, he collapsed. He died later at the hospital; the doctors felt he had been poisoned but couldn’t determine what the substance was so they could help him.
Pamela and her friends at the weekly knitting group, especially her best friend Bettina, have helped solve murders in the past in Arborville. A couple times she had been in serious danger, and her college-age daughter, Penny, pleaded with her ever since to let the police do their job. Pamela’s husband had died a few years ago, and Penny couldn’t lose her mom, too. Pamela is happy to answer questions for the police and is content not being involved in this case. At least, until her boss at the magazine expressed concerns over the magazine being associated with a murder at an event they sponsored.
The characters are brought to life primarily through conversations and behaviors. Various people in the novel add color and texture, such as the woman who told Pamela she had been to the Shetland Islands during wool week. A glimpse of Bettina’s personality can be seen in part through her scarlet hair and the colors and style of her clothing just as Flo, the housekeeper and docent at Sufficiency House, is a reflection of her clothing choices. I enjoyed Woofus’s heroism!
Descriptions of the gardens, the college, and other locations bring them to life, also, and overall add to the charm of the story and area. There are several things of Pamela’s daily life described numerous times, such as the sounds of her computer coming to life and the coffee grinder, plus repetitive descriptions of Pamela’s wedding china pattern and Bettina’s dinnerware.
Overall, this cozy held my interest throughout, and the mystery was well-written and intriguing. It is sufficiently complex to make it difficult to solve; I had definite surprises in the final chapters. As with prior novels in the series, each is better than the ones before. There is a knit pattern and a nibble recipe at the end for those who appreciate making things they read about. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and the rest of the series.