Knitty Gritty Murder
A Knit and Nibble Mystery, Book #7
By Peggy Ehrhart
Author Website: peggyehrhart(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Pamela Paterson and the Knit and Nibble ladies have plenty of talents that don’t revolve around yarn. But their penchant for patterns has led to a dangerous hobby they just can’t quit–unraveling murders.
Most times of the year, the tight-knit community gardens in quaint Arborville, New Jersey, overflow with seasonal vegetables and herbs. But who planted the dead body? Farm-to-table enthusiast Jenny Miller had a cookbook in the works when she was suddenly found strangled by a circular knitting needle in her own plot. Now, the pressure is on Pamela and her neighbor Bettina as they weave together clues in search of the person who kept Jenny’s renowned heirloom plants–and budding career–from growing. With suspects and victims cropping up like weeds, it’ll take a whole lot more than green thumbs and creative minds this spring to entangle the crafty culprit. (Goodreads)
I enjoyed this delightful mystery and seeing how the characters continue to grow. The mystery is well-plotted and challenging. The focus is on the core group of characters, primarily Pamela, Bettina, Pamela’s daughter Penny and the cats we met in the beginning, and the Knit and Nibble knitting group. The New Jersey setting sounds like a lovely oasis outside the bigger cities, including the nearby Big Apple.
A very distressed Marlene went to the Bettina’s after finding the body of Jenny Miller when going to work in her plot at the Arborville community garden. The young woman’s body was in the plot she shared with her mother, Janice, and a circular knitting needle was wrapped around her neck. Marlene went to see Bettina as it is well-known that Pamela and best friend Bettina have helped solve murders in Arborville and they are both in the Knit and Nibble knitting group. Bettina also wrote for the weekly Arborville Advocate paper, and she would want to include the death in the next issue.
The weekly knitting group met that evening. Claire was a visitor who was interested in joining the group. Jenny had rented an apartment from Claire and her husband. Comments were made that the daily paper included the murder weapon, an item that Claire and one other knitter used that evening. Were it not for Nell, the oldest member of the group, they would have spent the night discussing the grisly crime. They did talk about the book that Jenny had been writing about growing, cooking, and eating healthy foods with healthy recipes.
Pamela’s daughter Penny was due to come home from college for the summer at the end of the week. Penny worried in the past about her mother looking into murders, even when it was to get innocent friends off the police department’s suspect list. Pamela’s husband had died young in an accident, and Penny didn’t want anything to happen to her mother, too. If Pamela or Bettina did any sleuthing, it had to stop by the time Penny arrived.
Bettina and Pamela talked with several people, including Helen, the renter across the hall from Jenny. Helen had been caring for Jenny’s cat and needed to find a home for her, so Pamela would foster Precious, or keep her if her two cats approved. They also talked with gardeners who were said to have disputes with Jenny, but none sounded serious enough to kill someone over. The person also had to be a knitter, or at least have access to the special knitting needle. The caterer Jenny worked for was rumored to be angry with her, and her home overlooked the community garden. A few days after Jenny’s funeral, Janice was found murdered in the same place, with the same kind of weapon, her daughter had been.
One of the author’s strong points is how well she demonstrates the characters, especially through their easy conversations. I like both Pamela and Bettina, as well as Penny and the other knitters. Pamela continues to face changes in her life, including that when her daughter graduates from college, she will probably move to a bigger city. Adapting to pets and an empty home during the school year, Pamela continues to work from home and deflect attempts of others to play matchmaker. Pamela will spread her wings a little more in this mystery, and I’m looking forward to seeing more about it next time.
The story drew me in from the start and held my attention through all but one little section. To me, the lengthy description of making a special cake was excessive since the recipe was not included. It would probably make more sense to the reader who loves baking tips. The number and type of suspects was excellent, as were the clues. I did not have any idea who the killer was or why, so the resolution was a complete surprise. All loose ends were tied up, and the ending was satisfactory. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and series!