Purls and Poison
Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, Book #10
By Anne Canadeo
Author Website: annecanadeo(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When a fellow Black Sheep Knitter is suspected of poisoning her coworker, the group puts down their needles and takes up their friend’s defense . . .
Suzanne Cavanaugh has just about had it with her office rival at Prestige Properties. It’s bad enough that Liza Devereaux is constantly needling her at work, but when she shows up at one of Suzanne’s open houses to poach potential buyers, it’s the last straw. No one in the office fails to hear the two snarling at each other.
When Liza is later found dead in her office cubicle–poisoned by a diet shake–Suzanne becomes the prime suspect. It’s soon discovered, though, that Liza had double-crossed so many around town and stashed their dark secrets in her designer handbags that anyone could be the culprit.
The Black Sheep Knitters have no doubt their friend has been framed–but they need to prove it. Stirred to action, they get together to catch a sneaky killer who’s trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes… (Goodreads)
I really enjoyed Purls and Poison! It is the first I’ve read in this series, and I really must go back and read the earlier ones! While I crochet instead of knit, it will become one of my favorite yarn series. The New England setting sounds beautiful, the ladies at Maggie’s yarn store are the very best friends anyone could hope to have, and plot twists keep the mystery moving quickly along.
Suzanne is a saleswoman at Premier Properties, one of the two high-value home sellers. Her competition is also her nemesis; Liza is the top seller in the office. One of the ways she accomplishes that is by stealing a deal here and there from Suzanne. Today was the angriest Suzanne had ever been with Liza. Lyle, the man who handles the few commercial leases and sales in town, had to grab her to prevent her pulling Liza’s hair extensions. When she arrives, late, at the knitting group at Black Sheep and Company, she spends a bit of time spewing out anger and confessing her own misbehavior. Harry, the head of her firm, wants to see both ladies the next morning; Suzanne is afraid of losing her job.
Maggie, one of Suzanne’s closest friends, also knows Liza. Liza takes a different class from her, and invited Maggie to visit her mom, Ruth, to give a demonstration or class on knitting at the assisted living facility she lives in. Ruth, a lifelong knitter, had a stroke some time ago and is having a hard time making friends. Liza suggested a charity for the groups to do knitting projects for to gift others with for Christmas, only ten weeks away. Knowing Liza better – or differently – than Suzanne does, Maggie suggests that she talk with her before the meeting, explain she doesn’t want to lose her job, and agree to work better with her in the future. It is more important that they work together.
The class let out late. Knowing her husband, Kevin, would be asleep already, Suzanne drove past her office. Against the odds, the office is still lit up and Liza’s SUV is still parked outside. Preferring to talk with her now and get it done with, she went in. The front door was unlocked, and she doesn’t hear anyone, even when she calls out to Liza. Liza, however, can’t hear her. Suzanne finds her lying on the floor, eyes open, with no heartbeat.
Horrified that Liza may have had a heart attack or stroke due to their fight, she was very upset when she called 9-1-1. The police arrive, then detectives Charles and Frank. Charles is the man who Maggie has been dating for a long time. At first it appears that she died of some sort of natural causes. Less than a day later, however, Suzanne is the person of interest. Her boss suggests she works from home due to the press the office is getting. It could be a matter of hours, or days, before Suzanne could be arrested. Since she didn’t do it, someone else did – and nobody will admit that anyone may have disliked Liza enough to plan a crime so intricately that every detail could be attributed to Suzanne.
The characters are very well defined. These very best of friends care enough to be honest with each other as well as help each other out against the odds…even if it causes problems with other loved ones. I liked Suzanne and Maggie, and appreciate what each of the women went through, Suzanne with her children and Maggie with her boyfriend. Even Ruth, Liza’s mother, was able to come to terms with the fact that Suzanne just might be innocent.
This mystery is very well-written, with plot twists that just keep coming! I like that there is a good balance between the mystery and the women’s relationships. In some ways, it might be easier to read some of the earlier novels in the series to better appreciate the shop and relationships that have been built over the years. I was able to figure out most of the people and situations, but it took a little while. The problem between Liza and Suzanne had been building a long time and losing commissions on luxury homes would get to the kindest of folks. It was hard to narrow down the list of suspects! In the end, I was right about who killed Liza, but the why wasn’t the same as I would have thought. Liza had many secrets, one that seemed a big enough reason to kill for. The end is very satisfactory and there are no loose ends; there are, however, delightful surprises for the future of some of the friendsI highly recommend it!