Irish Knit Murder
A Knit and Nibble Mystery #9
By Peggy Ehrhart
Author’s website: peggyehrhart.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
A member of a prominent New Jersey family has been found dead on St. Patrick’s Day–and Pamela Paterson and her knitting club have a parade of suspects . . .
The Listers have been part of Arborville society for generations–though seventy-something Isobel Lister doesn’t fit the role of upper-crust heiress. She’s always been a colorful character, and her fun-loving spirit is on display at the senior center celebration as she performs some beloved Irish songs. But just minutes later, her body is found backstage.
It’s hard to imagine who’d target a harmless old lady, and Pamela finds herself suspecting everyone. There’s the Wiccan who thought St. Patrick wasn’t so saintly; the woman upset about cultural appropriation who feels the commercialization of shamrocks is a sham; the two men Isobel was seeing, who could have been green with jealousy–and old friends and family who may have feared Isobel would spill their secrets. But Pamela’s on the case, and that means for the killer, the jig will soon be up . . . (from Goodreads)
I always enjoy visiting the Knit and Nibble knitting group in Arborville, New Jersey, especially Pamela and her best friend and long-time neighbor, Bettina. The friends in the Knit and Nibble knitting group have been gathering for years, and there is a new charitable project they take on. The “nibble” is the special treat prepared for the break time. For all who enjoy them, there is a small knitting pattern and nibble recipe included.
Bettina went to the St. Patrick’s Day event held for the seniors’ group. As a reporter for the weekly Arborville Advocate, she was covering the event, and Pamela accompanied her. The headline entertainment was Isobel, a member of the Lister family with centuries of history in the area. Isobel was about 70 with the vitality of a much younger woman, singing and dancing through Irish music while flirting with the much younger piano player. Several people were unhappy with her presence, as she had been the black sheep in her generation of the family. She also made a couple comments that sat poorly with a couple ladies who left during the show.
At the end of her set, Isobel left the stage, and those presently anticipated her return. When she didn’t come back out, Meg, the event’s organizer, went to get her. A very shaken woman returned, and said Isobel was dead! Bettina, on behalf of the paper, went back with Pamela. There appeared to have been a struggle, and while Bettina took in the scene, Pamela saw something down the hall. She ran to the back exit doors and looked out as the driver of a florist van saw her and sped away.
Pamela, a middle-aged widow, has been at the scene of several questionable deaths in recent years. She has a knack of seeing clues or items out of place that police often miss, and she and Bettina have been known to give the police helpful information to help solve the murders. Her daughter, away at college, worried about her and tried to get her to promise to not get involved, yet it happened time and again.
Pamela did her best to stay out of it. Imogene, one of Isobel’s nieces who genuinely loved her, was new to their knitting group, and invited everyone to the funeral and reception. Pamela and Bettina attended, meeting Isobel’s brother and sister-in-law and Imogene’s sister. It was evident that there was tension between Imogene and the rest of her family, which she explained was because she and Isobel had been so close.
Pamela and Bettina, as they learned more about Isobel and the surrounding events, speculated about who killed Isobel. There were those who walked out of her show, rumors about Isobel and the piano player, and a local Wiccan who objected to not being allowed to present the ancient Celtic rituals at the event. There were even rumors of a knitting ghost at the cemetery, and what sounded like a banshee’s wail at the cemetery beginning the night Isobel died. Because of the Lister family connections, the police were very active on the case, yet stumped.
The characters and setting are brought to life through the author’s three-dimensional descriptions. I enjoyed reading about Pamela’s ongoing work-from-home job as an associate editor for a fiber arts magazine. She read articles submitted for consideration, copyedited those accepted for publication, and reviewed books for the magazine. Summaries of the articles and books sounded very interesting, and another way to learn more about Pamela. All the members of the knitting group change and grow throughout the series, making it a delight to catch up with them.
Each of these intriguing cozy mysteries can be read as a standalone due to sufficient backstory on each person and the group. Plot twists and turns keep the suspect list fluid, and their meetings with some of their suspects provided intriguing events to that keep the story flowing smoothly. The second murder of a family member changed what I thought I knew about the suspects! The solution was somewhat of a surprise, and no loose ends remained. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and series!