A Stitch Before Dying (Black Sheep Knitting Series #3)

( 20 )

Overview

Stitching it together . . .

The Black Sheep Knitters: a fivesome with a knack for knitting—and for solving crimes.

hen Maggie Messina, owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is invited to give knitting workshops at a Berkshires spa resort, she manages to negotiate a cottage that fits all five of the Black Sheep for what promises to be a weekend of knitting bliss. But while the friends are expert at counting ...

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A Stitch Before Dying (Black Sheep Knitting Series #3)

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Overview

Stitching it together . . .

The Black Sheep Knitters: a fivesome with a knack for knitting—and for solving crimes.

hen Maggie Messina, owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is invited to give knitting workshops at a Berkshires spa resort, she manages to negotiate a cottage that fits all five of the Black Sheep for what promises to be a weekend of knitting bliss. But while the friends are expert at counting stitches, they haven’t counted on murder.

Guests and staff at the Crystal Lake Inn are as varied as a mixed bag of yarn, but most colorful is certainly the owner, charismatic self-help guru and former psychiatrist Dr. Max Flemming. The doctor may have told all in a revealing autobiography, but from his ex-wife to the widow of his former business partner—both employees at the inn—Max seems mired in shadows from his past. And when a killer strikes during a mountaintop retreat, the Black Sheep wonder what the good doctor might be hiding.

The police seem to be following the wrong thread. But while Maggie’s workshops have given the knitters a unique view of the tensions at the little inn, can they make sense of a crime that is as complexly stranded as a Fair Isle sweater? When the killer murders a second time, the Black Sheep wonder if they’ve dropped a stitch and put themselves in mortal danger. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Canadeo's diverting third Black Sheep Knitting Shop (after 2009's Knit, Purl, Die) could just as well be titled Eat, Knit, Love given how much Maggie Messina and her four fellow ladies of the fiber arts enjoy their food—recipe for yummy fruit crumble included—in between knitting and crime-solving at the Berkshires' Crystal Lake Inn. When travel writer Curtis Hill, a guest at the luxury retreat, is put to permanent sleep via an intentionally faulty gas line in his cabin, clues are scarce, motives and suspects are manifold, and the local police are stumped. The apparent murder of the inn's owner, Dr. Maxwell Flemming, adds to the confusion. Meanwhile, knitter Lucy is fretting over her faltering relationship with boyfriend Matt. In Canadeo's capable hands, both story and character development roll out at a leisurely but steady pace that's sure to hook cozy fans. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“An engaging story full of tight knit friendship and a needling mystery.”
Fresh Fiction on Knit, Purl, Die

"The fast-paced plot will keep even nonknitters turning the pages."

Publishers Weekly

"Canadeo presents congenial characters and a mystery that keeps you guessing."
—Kirkus

Library Journal
When Maggie Messina is asked to teach a weekend knitting workshop at a New Age spa in the Berkshires, she invites her Black Sheep knitting group to join her. The inn is designed to be peaceful and healing, but the undercurrent of negativity surrounding the spa's owner, a talk show guru and former psychiatrist, results in murder. Canadeo's third gentle series entry (after While My Pretty One Knits and Knit, Purl, Die) is more about interpersonal relationships than mystery solving. The friends work together, smoothly stepping in when one woman needs help or another can use a nudge in the right direction. VERDICT This is sure to attract readers of Sally Goldenbaum and Barbara Bretton.
Kirkus Reviews

Guests who've come to a beautiful country inn seeking New Age wisdom find murder instead.

Maggie Messina, owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop in Plum Harbor, Mass., is delighted to be able to offer her friends Lucy, Dana, Suzanne and Phoebe a free weekend at a luxurious Berkshire inn. Her friend Nadine, who works at the inn, has asked Maggie to be a last-minute substitute for a no-show at the Creative Spirit Weekend led by the famous Dr. Max, a psychiatrist turned holistic practitioner. The inn is gorgeous, their cottage is a perfect haven and Maggie's knitting classes go well. Even so, there's tension in the air. Nadine's sister Alice obviously loves Max, but her son Brian hates him. The assembled company includes Max's former wife, who's on the inn's staff, and several guests who are there to hear a pitch about expanding the Dr. Max brand to two new locations. When a travel writer is found dead at the location of Dr. Max's overnight camping trip, it turns out that he was really an investigator for a show specializing in sordid scandals. Since the writer was discovered in Dr. Max's special hut, the police and the members of Maggie's knitting group, who are no strangers to murder (Knit, Purl, Die, 2009, etc.), are left to decide who was the intended victim.

Slow-paced, all right, but Canadeo presents congenial characters and a mystery that keeps you guessing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439191392
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Series: Black Sheep Knitting Series , #3
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 237,876
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Canadeo lives and knits in Northport, New York, with her husband, daughter, and canine office assistant. She is the author of the Black Sheep Knitting mystery series, and writing as Katherine Spencer, she has also authored the popular Cape Light and Angel Island series.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    When her old friend Nadine Gould contacts Maggie about replacing

    When her old friend Nadine Gould contacts Maggie about replacing a knitting workshop instructor who had bowed out of teaching at a remote Berkshires spa resort co-run by her sister Alice Archer and Alice's "fiance" Dr. Max Flemming, Maggie agrees -- on condition that she get the guest cottage capable of housing the rest of the Black Sheep Knitters. Though the brochures sent Maggie warn the group that the place is New Agey, they aren't quite prepared for what they find when they get there. The yoga instructor, who does a bit of belly dancing on the side, is Max's ex-wife. Alice, in addition to being Max's official "current girlfriend", also happens to be the widow of his business partner ( who killed himself after a patient died) -- a situation that doesn't sit well with her son Brian, who was devastated by his father's death and blames Max (and, as it turns out, Brian has more than resentment on his side). And then there are some of the guests. Ex-model turned bulemic Shannon Piper and abrasive divorcee Helen Lynch (who can't really knit, no matter how hard she tries) are being wooed by Max for different reasons; Curtis Hill, a travel writer, seems to be more interested in taking photos, supposedly of the scenery; the Schumachers, Rita and Walter, are there for Walter's health.

    The group's reaction to their surroundings is mixed. Things like sock puppets as replacement therapists gets the already-skeptical Dana's goat. Suzanne, whose comparison of time to Control-Top pantyhose has to be read to be believed, is a spa junkie and could care less. Phoebe, when she isn't living off of pomegranate smoothies and going on foraging walks, brings her characteristic enthusiasm to everything. Lucy, who is there to get her mind off of a possibly bump in her relationship with her yet-to-be-divorced boyfriend, is looking forward to the full moon camping expedition -- the camping part, not the ridiculous moon ritual. When Curtis gets killed during the night, the whole thing goes sour for everybody, especially when the police show up and guests and staff alike have to stay put. When it turns out Max may have been the target, it gets worse.

    The one sore spot I have is that not all of the Spa recipes are listed. I've Googled everywhere and can't find the recipe for the cranberry carrot flax muffins Lucy was eating!

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Murderous Knitters!

    Canadeo is at it again, this time combining wicked satire of healthier-than-thou new age culture, with cold-blooded murder. Her depiction of the spa psychologist beautifully captures a certain type of new age healer, and skewers him. The comraderie of the women is, as always, the glue that holds the book together. That and a plot that just doesn't reveal itself until the author sees fit. This book kept me guessing and entertained the whole way through. Can't wait for her next effort.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read for Women Everywhere!

    I absolutley loved this third book in the series and enjoyed every word of it. The mystery did not lack in the anticipation department and Canadeo develops the plot flawlessly in each book.
    I also love Canadeo's use of comic relief throughout the book and I think it's a neccessary literary element that most mystery writers of the genre typically leave out. I feel like I'm at home with my own friends when I read the conversations between characters and I'm magically transported to Plum Harbor with the flip of the first page.
    To be honest I'm not much of a knitter but I enjoy the series all the same.
    To all the readers out there- put some water in the tea kettle, slip on that cozy blanket, dim the lights and prepare to be thrilled by the Black Sheep's latest adventure.
    Canadeo doesn't dissapoint with A Stitch Before Dying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    I love these women

    It's too bad someone has to die so that the Black Sheep Knitters can get to work solving a mystery, because I could read a new adventure every day. Anne Canadeo writes with a sure hand about female friendship while crafting a clever mystery. When five friends who share a passion for knitting gather at a New Age Spam, they expect a weekend getaway of spa treatments, knitting workshops and fun. What they don't expect is a murder. Canadeo introduces a interesting assortment of suspects in this whodunit, from a flaky yoga instructor to New Age guru to a hunky but troubled handyman.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    This third book in the Black Sheep Knitting is a wonderful successor to the first two (which I also highly recommend). Canadeo again masterfully weaves (no pun intended) together friendship, knitting, food, New Age theories and oh yes, murder (not one, but two!) and will keep you chuckling all the while at her pithy asides and observations of modern life. A very interesting and unusual combination of elements, and a pleasure to read. I don't think anyone will figure out whodunit!

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great cozy mystery

    I am a huge fan of cozy mysteries, and "A Stitch Before Dying" hooked me from the first pages, with a great story that kept me guessing who the killer might be.

    The Black Sheep Knitting Shop is where the five members of The Black Sheep Knitters meet. The group consists of Maggie Messina, the shop owner, and Lucy, Suzanne, Dana and Phoebe. While there love of knitting is what drew them together, they have become great friends, and they use their weekly meetings to knit, gossip and share their lives in general.
    When Maggie is invited by her old friend Nadine to teach a few knitting workshops at the Crystal Lakes Inn, she agrees. The inn is under new ownership, and the owners are New Age, and are having a Creative Spirit Weekend. Part of her pay is a guest cottage, so she asks the ladies of Black Sheep to join her for the weekend!
    Their weekend of relaxation, quickly turns into much more, when two murders take place can the Black Sheep Ladies figure out who the killer is?

    While this is the third installment of the Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, it can easily be read as a stand alone work. The author adds a neat little meet the knitters page at the beginning of the book that quickly gives you the background you need so you can dive right into the story. The ladies are fun to read about, and their distinct personalities add to the story. An added bonus is a few recipes for readers to try.

    A fantastic book for mystery lovers, where you will feel like your visiting old friends. I am anxious for my next visit to the Black Sheep Knitting Shop.

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  • Posted January 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    highly recommended

    I love this series of books. I like the Goldenbaum as well but Goldenbaum tends to concentrate more on the food and social standing of the characters than the knitting. Canadeo is superb! Her stories are centered on the knitting group and the adventures they encounter. Its riveting. Keeps me on the nook until I have finished every page. Hope she continues with this group.

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Solving a mystery with yarn

    This is the third book in Canadeo's Black Sheep Knitting mystery series. While I have not read the first book, I did read book number two when it was published last year. It was my first introduction to the idea of a cozy mystery. Growing up I read mysteries almost exclusively for a while, things like Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon. Later I moved on to Barbara Michaels and Phylis Whitney. In college I started reading more romances and fell away from mysteries. Since then I have jumped around but never fully got back into mysteries. This book, and the previous ones, were such fun reads that I plan to look for more mysteries to add to my TBR stack of books.

    In this installment, Maggie, the owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Store, has been invited to a new age spa to teach some knitting courses. She invites her friends to come with her for a weekend away to relax and be pampered. While two members are on a camping retreat a fellow guest is found dead. When his death is ruled a murder things at the Inn change. Everyone is jumpy and worried and the police aren't allowing anyone to check out or leave until they are finished with questioning. A few possible suspects arise within the assortment of characters staying and working at the Inn. As with the last book, Maggie and her friends do some sleuthing of their own (grown=p Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon style).

    Different clues point to different guests and the book moves along at a nice pace. These felt like friends I was checking in with again. It made me want to learn to knit, just as the last one did, and I envied this group of women who were able to make time for each other on a regular basis even in the busyness of their daily lives, jobs and families. I think sometimes we underestimate the need to have a close relationship with our friends.

    This was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to readers of all genres. Sit with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and immerse yourself in this group of friends.

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    charming cozy

    Maggie Messina owns the Black Sheep Knitting Shop. She and four of her friends formed the Black Sheep Knitters as each loves to knit and think of the shop as their refuge where they can focus peacefully on their past-time.

    Maggie is invited to provide a knitting seminar at the exclusive Crystal Lake Inn in the Berkshires. For diverse reasons, her four Black Sheep Knitters accompany her to the inn as they each look forward to knitting at the new age spa run by self help aficionado Dr. Max Flemming. On an overnight camping trip, Dana and Lucy attend the new age evening, when a murder occurs. The police question everyone but discover the victim Curtiss Hill was a reporter. He lied when he said he worked for a travel guide, but instead was an investigative reporter for Expose a muckraking tabloid that reports embarrassing items about celebs. They later learn the hut where the kill happened is normally occupied by Dr. Max. The Black Sheep Knitters assume the flamboyant owner was the intended victim and seek motives from that assumption.

    This charming cozy will entertain those readers who relish eccentric character driven mysteries. There are three viable suspects who wanted Max dead as the Knitters stitch the case together one clue at a time. Fast-paced, fans will root for the fearsome fab five as they investigate who murdered Curtis in the third Black Sheep Knitter's amateur sleuth (see Knit, Purl and Die).

    Harriet Klausner

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