Yarn Over Murder
A Knitting Mystery #12
By Maggie Sefton
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
It’s early summer in Fort Connor, Colorado, and a herd of alpacas requires rescuing from a raging wildfire. Kelly Flynn and the House of Lambspun knitters may be able to save the helpless animals, but not the unexpected victim of a cold-blooded murder…
Kelly and her knitting pals were checking out the wares at the annual Wool Market—one of the largest outdoor fiber and animal fairs in Colorado—when news spread about the wildfires raging across the canyon ranches. With temperatures scorching, Kelly receives word that the alpacas of her good friend, Jayleen, are in danger. Working fast, Kelly and her pals hightail the herd to the nearby pasture of one of Jayleen’s friends—rancher Andrea Holt. But their rescue mission is interrupted by a screaming match during which Connie, a longtime employee of House of Lambspun, snaps and accuses Andrea of stealing her husband.
Days later, Andrea is found dead at her ranch—and suspicion immediately falls on Connie. Now Kelly and her friends must untangle this yarn before Connie ends up dangling by a thread…
On a Saturday morning in June, fire invaded the lush Colorado landscape, threatening wildlife, homes, and ranches. Maggie Sefton explains in her Author’s Note that the fires are based on the June 2012 High Park fires in Colorado and her effort at historical accuracy throughout. Thus begins Yarn Over Murder, Maggie Sefton’s twelfth offering of the series and perhaps one of the more intense. This mystery can be read as a stand-alone or in close order with previous ones as the way it is written, one can quickly feel part of the action.
House of Lambspun staff and patrons have close friends within the yarn and fabric community, including suppliers of alpaca wool. Kelly’s close friend who she describes as a Colorado Cowgirl, Jayleen Swinson, has an alpaca ranch which also houses alpacas owned by Kelly. Because of the location of Jayleen’s ranch, everyone with trucks and can borrow a horse trailer head to her ranch to help move the alpacas to a safer ranch. Kelly Flynn and Steve Townsend, her significant other, are among the movers. While frightened alpacas and boxes were being loaded in the vehicles and trailers, Connie Carson, an employee at Lambspun, raced in, got out of her car and started screaming at Andrea, to whose ranch many of the alpaca would be moved. Andrea Holt and Connie’s husband, Jim, were part of the transporting crew. Connie accused Andrea of stealing her husband, and Jim said he wasn’t getting back together with Connie, adding terrible words that couldn’t be taken back. As the drama unfolded, Jayleen comforted Connie so the friends transporting could get on the busy road that was full of looky-loos and people who were being evacuated.
The alpacas were successfully moved to Andrea’s ranch and boxes of office records offloaded, Over the next couple days, people were evacuated, one housing area was destroyed by fire, and hot shots came in from around the country trying to put the fire out.
It wasn’t until Monday that Mimi Shafer Parker, who ran House of Lambspun with Burt Parker, heard the terrible news that Andrea’s ex-husband Dennis found Andrea later that Saturday evening, dead, at her ranch. Connie, of course, was the first suspect. Not only was Connie a suspect, but Dennis,.who had hoped to get back together with Andrea until learning that Andrea was seeing Connie’s estranged husband, Jim. All roads were closed that would lead to Andrea’s ranch, as well as to Jayleen’s, so Kelly would be hard-pressed to enter her sleuthing mode to help determine who the real murderer was.
Nowhere is there a group of friends who work as closely together in a crisis as these men and women. The characters are defined with excellence to meet their respective roles in this gripping novel. Even Connie, not a favored person when the story opens, has a story of her own. While only she and Jim know what really happened to their marriage, her reaction to his behavior in this extreme crisis was poor timing. These co-workers, friends, and family have an incredibly close bond, an investment in each other’s lives evidenced by their actions and conversations. Burt Parker, a retired police detective, listens to Kelly’s thoughts about who the bad guy or gal is, as over years of knowing her, he trusts the logic of her accounting mind. His former partner at the police department and he are good friends and discuss what they can regarding various cases. Whether this is the first time you are visiting Fort Connor or it has been a while, the list of characters in the front of the book is a great inclusion.
The plot in Yarn Over Murder is strengthened by reflecting actual events. Mimi, Burt, and others at Lambspun adopted Kelly into their gang when she moved to Colorado, and the alpaca ranch was part of this gang. It was fun to learn little tidbits about the alpacas that were important to the Lambspun community, as they are fascinating creatures, and I absolutely rooted for them as they were moved to safety. This mystery is complete, with all loose ends of the mystery tied up; it was also a challenge! The murderer was someone who I had considered but discarded when I couldn’t think of sufficient motive. The author kept this reader guessing until the end – the very best kind of mystery plot to have! And the kind of mystery that I highly recommend to fans of Maggie Sefton’s other novels, those who enjoy any kind of yarn or fiber crafting cozy mystery, and everyone who enjoys a well-designed tale of suspense with a high-intensity setting. This one is not to be missed!