Silent Knit, Deadly Knit
A Knit and Nibble Mystery #4
By Peggy Ehrhart
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When murder silences the Christmas cheer in charming Arborville, New Jersey, Pamela and her Knit and Nibble pals must unravel the most bone-chilling mystery this side of the North Pole . . .
Pamela has been in merry spirits since her artsy daughter Penny returned home from college for the holidays. But their mother-daughter bonding time gets cut short when a terrified Penny stumbles upon the dumped body of Millicent Farthingale, a wealthy craft shop owner who was popular for all the wrong reasons. From a scheming business partner to a seedy husband several years her junior, Millicent attracted scammers so in love with her assets, they’d toss her down a chimney to get their paws on them. Now, with only a hand-knit red scarf connecting the killer to the crime, Pamela and the Knit and Nibblers could use some extra creativity as they find out who’s really naughty or nice in Arborville–because going up against a looming culprit is DIY or die! (From Goodreads)
This Christmas cozy mystery is all about celebrating the holiday with friends and family. Pamela, dear friend and neighbor Bettina, and other friends are members of the weekly knitters’ group. Knit and Nibble has been in Arborville, New Jersey, for several years, and members work on gift, personal, or charity items.
Pamela tries to stay out of the murder investigation in Arborville. It is hard to avoid, though, because her 19-year old daughter Penny, home from college between semesters, found the body a close friend of Bettina. Millicent was owner of a craft shop in nearby Timberley and heiress to her family’s mansion and fortune since the recent death of her mother. The craft shop has been more of a hobby to her than a necessity. The huge home and property that has been home to her family for several generations is up for sale, as it is far more than she and her husband need, and an estate sale is on the schedule.
Bettina was walking towards the telephone to call Millicent, who had sounded troubled earlier that day, when Penny called for her mom. She was at the nearby nature preserve and came upon the body of a dead woman. Bettina, her husband Wilfred, and Pamela rushed to Penny, and Bettina’s shock was almost as great as Penny’s when she recognized and identified Millicent for the police. She was dressed exactly as when Bettina had seen her that morning with one exception. The unique red and green scarf Bettina made for her friend, that she put on before they went different ways, was nowhere in sight.
It was learned later that Millicent was murdered with an old hunting rifle using homemade lead bullets. While there may be many hunters in the area, lead bullets are a thing of the past for most. Also, the poor woman had been murdered somewhere else and dumped off at the preserve.
Pierre, Millicent’s somewhat younger husband, doesn’t seem too sorrowful at his wife’s death. At the cemetery, he was actually grinning! He was very friendly at the reception following the funeral, especially to Penny, and invited them to the estate sale over the weekend that had already been planned. When the reception was almost over, Pamela heard Pierre and a lady who made an impact when she entered wearing a little black cocktail dress talking about how the future is now theirs. Pamela and Bettina had also been greeted by Coot, Millient’s older sister that appeared out of nowhere in recent weeks. It seems their parents were teens when their mother got pregnant, she was sent to an aunt’s in Texas, and the baby was put up for adoption. She found her birth family by doing a DNA kit.
Throughout the series, the characters are defined as needed. I don’t feel, however, that I have gotten to know even Pamela, the central figure, that well. Each of the characters is very likable but even with this being the fourth in series, I don’t feel as invested in them as I would have hoped, due to primarily surface conversations. I do appreciate Pamela’s and Bettina’s age and their activities with Knit and Nibble and the community. I also like seeing a professional man in the group who has taken up knitting to reduce his stress level and improve his health.
The mystery itself is challenging; I certainly was unable to solve it. There are red herrings and plot twists that add and delete suspects throughout. I do wish there had been more of the mystery going on! As the time frame is Christmas, much of the novel is devoted to preparing and shopping for Christmas as well as the parties themselves. I enjoyed the antics of the pets, both Pamela’s and Bettina’s; it was just enough to bring humor without overtaking the narrative. I was completely surprised at who the killer was! I highly recommend this novel to those who like cozy mysteries embracing the Christmas season.