Despite the fact that her aunt was an expert knitter, Kelly Flynn never picked up a pair of knitting needles she liked—until she strolled into House of Lambspun. Now, Kelly is about to learn how to knit one, purl two, and untangle the mystery behind her aunt’s murder...
Kelly would be the first to admit her life in Washington, D.C., is a little on the dull side. But coming back to Colorado for her beloved aunt’s funeral wasn’t the kind of excitement she was seeking. The police are convinced that her Aunt Helen’s death was the result of a burglary gone bad, but for the accountant in Kelly, things just aren’t adding up. After all, why would her sensible, sixty-eight-year-old aunt borrow $20,000 just days before her death? With the help of the knitting regulars at House of Lambspun, Kelly’s about to get a few lessons in cranking out a sumptuously colored scarf—and in luring a killer out of hiding...
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Table of Contents
Kelly’s First Scarf
Lambspun’s Whodunnit Shell
Maggie’s Cinnamon Rolls
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
KNIT ONE, KILL TWO
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
PRINTING HISTORY Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / June 2005
All rights reserved.
eISBN : 978-1-101-01052-5
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
A thousand thanks to Shirley Ellsworth, the inspired owner of Lambspun of Colorado in Fort Collins, Colorado, the knitting shop I used as a model for this series and the place I first “fell down the rabbit hole” into this fascinating wonderland of color and texture. Shirley and her staff of gifted teachers and fiber artists never ran out of patience with my questions or encouragement for my beginning efforts. Thanks also to the Tuesday night knitting group for their rowdy and wonderful brainstorming of titles for this series of novels. And special thanks to Kristi for her last-minute artwork.
Thanks also to my agent, Jessica Faust, for her unceasing encouragement and support to write this knitting mystery. And special thanks to my wonderful editor, Samantha Mandor, for helping to bring Kelly and all her friends to life on the page.
Special thanks to my four daughters, my mom, and all my dear friends who’ve always believed in me and supported my writing dreams. And thanks to my ninety-two-year-old aunt, Ann, whose “quilt of memories” hangs on my bedroom wall.
And a special pat on the head to my dog, Carl, who’s the model for Kelly’s golf-ball chasing pet Rottweiler. I must admit that fictional Carl is much better behaved than real-life Carl, with or without golf balls.
Kelly Flynn nosed her car onto the gravel driveway and pulled to a stop in front of the familiar little house perched beside a golf course. Everything looked the same. Aunt Helen’s beige stucco, red tile-roofed cottage looked as cozy and inviting as always. Golfers were scattered about the lush greens, doggedly working to improve their games. In the background the Colorado Rocky Mountains, still snow-capped in late spring, loomed over the entire scene. It was all picture-postcard pretty, just like Kelly remembered, except for one thing. Aunt Helen was dead—murdered a week ago in her picturesque cottage.
A “burglary gone bad” the police called it. Kelly’s gut still twisted at the thought. Aunt Helen would have fought back. Kelly knew she would. Even though she was thin as a stick and a foot shorter than Kelly, she was wiry and tough. And she had spirit. Spunk. She’d never go down without a fight. Not Aunt Helen. No way.
Kelly felt tears rise to her eyes again as she remembered her aunt’s favorite admonition: “Never give up, Kelly-girl. If you want something bad enough, don’t you ever give up.” The tears escaped, running down Kelly’s cheeks, and she swiped them away with the back of her hand. She’d never even had the chance to say good-bye. At least with her dad, Kelly’d been able to tell him how much she loved him. Cancer might be an ugly way to die, but it was slower. Murder was a thief in the night, creeping in to steal away valuable loved ones. And this thief stole the only mother Kelly had ever known.
A cold, wet nose shoved against Kelly’s neck, and she turned to pat the shiny black Rottweiler head resting beside her shoulder. Carl always sensed her moods. “Don’t worry, boy, I haven’t forgotten you. You’re looking at that grass, right?” She pointed to the manicured golf course, stretching from her aunt’s property all the way to the river that meandered diagonally through the scenic college town north of Denver.
Kelly let herself gaze. It had been six months since she’d returned to Fort Connor, where she spent her early childhood. Every time she returned, she wondered how she’d ever make herself leave again. The sky was bluer here, the air was cleaner, and the sun was brighter by a mile. “A mile high to be exact,” as Aunt Helen used to say. What a gorgeous day. If her aunt was still alive, she and Kelly would take one of their favorite hikes along a trail in the nearby Poudre Canyon. How could it be so beautiful with Helen gone?
Carl whined to get her attention, clearly eager to explore. “Okay, boy, but you can’t run on the course. The greenskeeper wouldn’t appreciate your lifting a leg on every tee.” Carl rolled his soft brown eyes to her in pleading mode.
“Nope. You’ll just have to make do with the yard.” Kelly opened the car door and slid out, grabbing a leash as she did.
Carl’s ears perked up at the magic jingle, and he gave an excited yelp. That meant outside and play. Snapping the leash to his red collar, Kelly headed toward the small backyard. Tall cottonwood trees surrounded the property, shading both house and yard. Flower boxes were already planted, even though Kelly knew the frost date in northern Colorado was a yearly gamble. Somehow, Helen always won out. Her green thumb or gardener’s luck could overcome even Colorado’s capricious weather.
Kelly made a mental note to water the plants that evening. She wasn’t about to let Helen’s plants die with her. She swung the back gate open and ushered Carl inside. “It isn’t the golf course, boy, but it’s bigger than your yard for sure,” she said, referring to her postage stamp- size townhouse yard on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Carl didn’t waste time. He took off the moment his leash was unsnapped, nose to the ground.
The sound of another car coming down the gravel driveway caught Kelly’s attention, and she turned to see a red minivan drive up to the larger stucco and red tile- roofed house across the drive. A woman exited the van and entered the sprawling mirror-image of Helen’s cottage.
Both houses and the assorted outbuildings nearby occupied a pie-shaped wedge of land that clung to the corner of a busy intersection. Kelly remembered when both streets were country roads cutting through fields of sugar beets and sheep farms. Now, a big box discount store swallowed the opposite corner and townhouses clustered across the street.
At least her aunt and uncle had sold their farmland to the city for a golf course and kept only the cottage and its yard. If she squinted her eyes hard enough, Kelly could block out the golfers and picture her uncle heading to the barn years ago when he was still alive.
“Kelly, is that you?” a woman’s voice called.
Kelly shut the gate, knowing Carl would be occupied for hours identifying scents. She turned and recognized Mimi Shafer walking across the driveway. Mimi owned the knitting and needlework shop that now occupied what was once Aunt Helen’s and Uncle Jim’s farmhouse. Her aunt had been ecstatic about the arrangement, since she was an expert knitter and quilter, but Kelly had always felt vaguely resentful. She remembered when the house was filled with Aunt Helen and Uncle Jim—and memories. But Uncle Jim’s long illness changed all that.
Now, Kelly felt nothing but gratitude. Mimi had been Aunt Helen’s closest friend and had never left Kelly’s side during yesterday’s service. She gave names to faces and helped Kelly stand and sit through a liturgy that was no longer familiar.
Kelly straightened her white blouse and navy skirt. Not as tailored as her usual CPA firm attire, but sober enough for a lawyer meeting. She couldn’t wait until she could change into a casual top and slacks, maybe even shorts if it stayed warm. Ever since she got back, she’d been dressed up and meeting people. Just like the office. But Colorado meant sunshine and mountains and freedom to Kelly. And that meant shorts, a T-shirt, and sneakers.
She brushed her chin-length dark-brown hair behind her ear and checked the barrette in back. Kelly’d rushed through her shower and dressing in order to fit in a morning run along the trail that ran beside the motel. She’d barely checked the mirror. After yesterday’s tears, she needed to clear her head. Running always helped her think.
She waved to Mimi. “I just thought I’d let Carl use Helen’s backyard today while I go to all those . . . you know, meetings. Lawyer, banker, and all that.”
“That’s a great idea. I’m sure he’s tired of being cooped up in the motel room,” Mimi said with a bright smile. Her sun-streaked brown hair feathered softly around her face. Fiftyish, slender, and pretty, she wore a powder-blue straight dress that accentuated her trim figure. But what really drew Kelly’s attention was the open-weave vest she wore on top; the loosely fixed knots held the yarns together. Varying shades of blue traveled all the way to green and back again. The effect was stunning.
“Do you have time for a cup of tea or coffee?” Mimi asked, obviously hoping for a yes.
Kelly hesitated, running through her mental daytimer. That and the Greenwich Meridian time clock in her head kept Kelly on task. She depended on that clock. Back in the firm, everyone kept track of their time in tenths of an hour—six-minute intervals—billable hours. Consequently, Kelly was seldom late. “I have a few minutes. My appointment with the lawyer isn’t until ten.”
“Oh, darn, I was hoping we’d have more time,” Mimi said, her smile momentarily missing. “I’ve been dying to show you the shop, but I guess it’ll just have to wait until later today. Why don’t we step over to the café?” She gestured toward the pathway leading around the farmhouse.
Kelly completely forgot that a bistro-style café had opened in the former kitchen and dining room of the farmhouse since her last visit. As they followed the flower beds and flagstone path, Kelly was astonished to see the café also spilled out into the shady backyard. Surrounded by high stucco walls, the entire patio was private, secluded from the outside. The whole setting was delightful and charming, Kelly had to admit.
Mimi chose a table and sat down, motioning to a nearby waitress as Kelly settled into a wrought-iron chair. “This is really quite nice. I like what they’ve done here,” Kelly surprised herself by saying. Noticing the many tables filled with customers lingering over late breakfasts and brunch, she asked, “How’s it doing? Financially, I mean. I know how hard it is for small restaurants to make it.” As a beginning accountant years ago, Kelly had had several restaurants to worry about. “Shoe box clients” she used to call them, because they always kept their accounts in shoe boxes for some reason.
“Actually, quite well, according to Pete,” said Mimi. “He’s the young man who had the idea of turning this whole area into a restaurant. Somehow, he managed to convince the management company that owns it to invest in used equipment, and he volunteered all the labor. He put his heart and soul into this place.” She shook her head. “Let’s hope all that hard work hasn’t been wasted . . . for both of us.”
Intrigued by the cryptic remark, Kelly was about to respond when the waitress appeared. She had shoulder-length reddish-brown hair that curved around a pretty face. “Hi, Mimi,” she said with a bright smile, then turned a warm gaze to Kelly.
“Kelly, this is Jennifer Stroud,” Mimi introduced. “She was also a friend of Helen’s.”
“Kelly, I just wanted to say how shocked we were at Helen’s death. She was a wonderful lady. I used to see her over at the shop almost every day, and she was always so sweet and loving. We’ll all miss her a lot.”
The comments caught Kelly unprepared, and she felt her eyes grow suddenly moist. She glanced down at her napkin. “Thank you. You’re very kind.”
Jennifer reached out and patted Kelly’s arm. “Hey, that’s okay. Let me bring you something. I know Mimi’s order already. Earl Grey, cream. How about you?”
“Coffee, black and strong,” Kelly said with a smile, which helped chase away the tears.
“Down with decaf, right?” Jennifer winked as she flipped the notepad closed. “Be right back.”
“I think she was at the funeral yesterday, but I really can’t remember too much,” Kelly said as she watched Jennifer skirt between tables, glad for the chance to compose herself.
“Oh, yes, she was there with the other knitting shop regulars.”
“Regulars?” Kelly asked, “Who are they?”
“We’ve got lots of knitting and needlework groups that meet regularly at the shop during the week. Some are organized, some just happen, like Jennifer’s group. They’re a bunch of women, many of whom are around your age, who meet after work a couple of times a week or more. Of course, anybody who shows up is welcome to sit in with any group. That’s how Helen met Jennifer and the others.”
Kelly could easily picture that. Helen was always knitting, and loved nothing better than to share her passion. It was a shame Kelly had proven to be such an unwilling student. Now, she was sorry she’d always feigned impatience whenever her aunt had tried to coax her into learning to knit.
“I know Aunt Helen enjoyed that,” Kelly mused. “She loved meeting new people. And living across from the shop, she could make new friends almost every day. Every week when I’d call her, she’d always tell me something funny she’d heard, usually from some friend.” Kelly would miss those phone calls.
“Helen had lots of friends, as you saw yesterday at the service. Everyone loved her, and we want to help you in whatever way we can, Kelly. Several people have offered to help go through the house when you’re ready.”
Kelly groaned inwardly. That unpleasant chore had almost slipped her mind. Whenever it had appeared, she’d shoved it away. At least having people with her would make the task easier and less painful. “I confess I’ve deliberately not thought about that chore,” she admitted. “I guess I’m avoiding going into the house after, well, you know.”
“I understand, Kelly.”
“Thanks so much. I really appreciate your help. I remember how hard it was going through my dad’s things, and I’d been prepared for his death.”
Mimi reached out and patted Kelly’s arm. “Well, you’re not alone this time, Kelly. We’re here to help you.”
Jennifer’s cheerful bustle and the inviting tray of coffee and tea arrived just when Kelly felt her eyes grow moist again. After the funeral yesterday she thought she’d cried herself dry. Apparently there was a well inside her that ran deeper than she knew.
There was no one left anymore. Her dad, three years ago. Now, Aunt Helen. Her entire family was gone.
“Here you go,” Jennifer announced as she set the tea and coffee in place. “Pete even threw in one of those wicked cinnamon rolls on the house.”
“Ohhh, that’s cruel,” Mimi groaned. “He knows I can’t have the sugar.”
Kelly eyed the tempting coil of golden, flaky, sweet dough slathered with a sugary cream-cheese icing that drizzled down the sides. She’d forgotten Fort Connor’s community weakness for these oversized breakfast buns. The bakery that specialized in making them kept the calorie count a secret.
“It’s still warm,” tempted Jennifer with a grin.
Her normal willpower was either sound asleep or stunned into silence at the sight of the huge pastry. So, with no nagging voice in her head, Kelly picked up the fork. “What the heck. I’ll need it for all those meetings. Lawyers are depressing.”
“Absolutely,” Jennifer concurred, clearly enjoying Kelly’s quick capitulation. “Besides, you’re tall and slender. It’ll never show. On me, it’d be on my hips in five minutes.”
“Oh, right,” Kelly retorted with a grin. “Why don’t you share it me?”
Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Don’t tempt me. I was born with a sweet tooth.”
“Seriously, I can’t finish this monster all by myself.” She sliced the bun in half and pushed one half to the side of her plate.
Jennifer glanced at the pastry. “We’re not supposed to eat with customers.”
Kelly sensed weakness. She took a big bite, closed her eyes, and let out a dramatic, “Mmmmmmmmmm!”
“That’s it. Priorities.” Jennifer laughed and grabbed her portion.
“Which are?” Mimi teased.
Jennifer paused after swallowing. “Right now, sugar. It’s gonna be a busy day.”
Kelly polished off her share and reached for the coffee, which was surprisingly rich and dark. She drank in the blissful enjoyment of the strong brew. “Yum, this is really good for the plain stuff. My compliments.”
“That’s Eduardo’s doing. He’s our cook and insists on making the coffee every morning. I think he throws in espresso or chicory or shoelaces or who knows what. But it’ll wake you up, for sure.”
“Bless him, and tell him I’ll be back.” The timer went off inside her head, and Kelly drained the cup. “Speaking of that, I have to go. Lawyers get all pinched around the edges if you’re late.” She scooted back her chair and brushed telltale sugar flakes off her skirt. “Oh, Mimi, I almost forgot. Could you fill a bowl with water for Carl, please? I fed him this morning, but I forgot to grab his water dish.”
“No problem. I’ll give him some food come dinnertime, too, so don’t rush. And make sure you stop in the shop when you return. I can’t wait to show you everything we’ve done. You haven’t been in since we opened four years ago.” Mimi exuded pride. “You’ll be surprised, I think.”
“I look forward to it. Thanks, Mimi,” Kelly said as she backed away from the table. Glancing at Jennifer as she headed for the pathway, Kelly waved. “Nice meeting you, Jennifer.”
“Oh, you’ll see me later at the shop. With the others. Good luck with the lawyer.”
Kelly hastened to her car. She’d dutifully let Mimi show off her shop, for Aunt Helen’s sake, if nothing else. Kelly couldn’t knit her way out of a paper bag. So all that knitting stuff would be lost on her. Her aunt had tried several times to instruct Kelly when she was growing up and even as an adult, but it never seemed to take. Kelly would fumble the needles and drop the yarn—whatever it took to appear completely incompetent. There were so many more fun things to do outside on the farm, she just couldn’t sit still long enough to learn.
Besides, all those different kinds of stitches looked complicated to Kelly. Knitting here, purling there. All that yarn, needles busily working away, stitch after stitch, row after row. Looked like a lot of work to Kelly. She just didn’t have that kind of patience. The only patience she’d ever had was for numbers. Numbers stayed put on paper. They didn’t fall off the end of the needles.
Oh yes, Kelly thought, as she backed her car out of the parking space, numbers were far less confusing than knitting.
Lawrence Chambers tapped his gold-rimmed pen against the leather desk pad as he scanned the documents before him. Kelly used the opportunity to study the lawyer, who was the same age as her aunt. His gray hair shone silver as a stray morning sunbeam crossed the desk. Chambers had been Aunt Helen’s trusted lawyer and close friend for a lifetime.
“Thanks to Helen’s foresight, you should have no problem handling any expense involved with the estate,” he spoke up. “You’re co-signer on both bank accounts, checking and savings, as well as the safe-deposit box. It was a smart move, considering you’re her only heir.”
“Aunt Helen told me four years ago what her wishes were. I’ve always tried to oblige her in whatever way I could.”
Chambers glanced up from the papers in his hand and smiled across the large walnut desk. Kelly noticed his faded blue eyes were kind.
“Helen appreciated everything you did for her. She told me so many times.”
Kelly glanced away. “She was like a mom to me, Mr. Chambers. You know that. Besides, when my dad died three years ago, I promised him I’d take care of her. She was his only living relative.” Guilt twinged inside. She’d never broken a promise to her dad in her whole life.
Chambers set down the papers, watching Kelly, then gestured to the wall. “That’s hers, you know.”
Kelly studied the framed quilted scene that had caught her eye earlier. Deep, rich browns and greens portrayed a small house nestled in the mountains, surrounded by tall evergreens. “I thought that might be her work. It’s so vibrant.”
Excerpted from "Knit One, Kill Two"
Copyright © 2005 Maggie Sefton.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a big fan of cozy mysteries, as well as a knitter, I was excited to start this series. Overall the plot was very well developed, however, I could not get past the artificial, stilted dialog. The characters call each other by name in almost every sentence..."Hi Kelly, how are you"? "I'm fine Mimi." "Nice dog, Kelly." "Thank you, Mimi." "You are welcome, Kelly." It drove me to distraction! I'll give the second book in the series a try in the hopes that the writing style improves. If not, I'm definitely done with this series.
"Knit One, Kill Two" is the lead book in one of several mystery series published by Berkley's "Prime Crime" mystery division. Knowing the popularity of series sleuths, I think that Berkeley has hired a clutch of writers to create series of books, each themed around a particular aspect of their world. You have Gardening Mysteries, Coffeehouse Mysteries, Tea Mysteries, Bewitching Mysteries (centered around Wiccan in Indiana), etc.
Here, remembering how popular mystery characters are often knitting (think Miss Marple), we are offered Kelly Flynn, a CPA from Washington, D. C. Kelly has moved back temporarily (she thinks) to her old childhood home in Fort Connor, Colo. to close out the house of her murdered grandmother; she also meets the central workers and customers of the House of Lambspun, a custom-lot knitting shop that was formerly her grandmother's first house. As for the murder, too many coincidences are appearing in the case; why did a vagrant just happen along, kill the grandmother, and grab $20,000 that she had cashed a check for that morning from a predatory mortgage company? Why is no trace of that money to be found now? Why did Grandma take out the loan in the first place? And why is the purple knitting Grandma was working on gone, along with a broken knitting needle? Why did the killer take the time to also grab a unique family heirloom quilt?
Fortunately, when it looks like the police are taking the bird in hand, Kelly finds help and support in the regulars of the House of Lambspun. They're sometimes quirky, but they also make a good team in helping to pin the crime on the true killer.
Some aspects of this book are excellent; the problem is that they're mainly the background, not the plot. The description of the store, with its tons of hand-spun and -dyed yarns, the trip to the Wool Fair, and the coaching of Kelly to become a knitter are wonderful. Do they advance the plot? Not really, though they add atmosphere. Of course, if you're building a series, you want a rich background to bring the reader back for more books. In this, Maggie Sefton succeeds. A mystery's core, however, is the plot -- how well does the writer lay out the story, keeping things just opaque enough to prevent you from guessing or deducing the criminal until the reveal, that keeps you turning pages in the book you have? Here, the author also succeeds -- just. The story is enough to keep you going to the end, but it's not anything truly special.
(Unless you're a knitter, of course; the description of the dream fabric-arts store with an attached coffeehouse, and the people inhabiting it, will make your mouth water. Non-knitters note: it really is as easy to learn how to knit as this book suggests. I've begun the hobby recently, and have started picking it up in just a handful of days with short practice bursts. More intense sessions, such as Kelly does here, will get you in faster. And yes, fingering all that Merino and cashmere and alpaca wool is just as delicious as it sounds! Keep in mind that this fictional store sells mostly hand-spun and -dyed yarns; there are less expensive yarns available to work with that will be just as satisfying.)
Is this book -- and its brother books in the several Berkley series -- any threat to Agatha Christie or Kathy Reichs? No. But if you're looking for a quick, fairly entertaining read, or a fan of knitting, you can do worse than give this a try.
I loved the development of the characters; the home-town feeling to all the settings & the romance was even upbeat. The women characters are strong & interesting to read. I liked this book and couldn't put it down once I started reading it.
I love this book! Kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing - thought I had the murder all figured out several times, not until the last few pages did I figure it out. Great read!!
This book was very fun to read. The characters were interesting and made me feel like I could drive to Colorado and meet them all. The writer's descriptions of the scenes, especially in the yarn store, made it very easy to visualize everything I read. I love to knit and the colorful descriptions made me want to pick up my knitting and continue reading the book. I hope this author has many more books up her sleeve. I have already read the next two installments!!
I liked this book and the cast of characters so much that I have ordered the entire series currently available. Not only that, the description of the cozy yarn shop inspired me to get my knitting out again after 35 years. The author drew me in and I felt like I was there and part of the story.
This book is chocked full of quirky, funny, interesting characters. I could not put it down. I also loved the patterns and recipes at the back of the book.
A wonderful beginning to a fun set of books. You don't have to be a knitter to enjoy the mysteries about Kelly Flynn and her friends. This book introduces you to Kelly and the people she meets through the House of Lambspun which is in her aunt's farmhouse where she had grown up. Kelly comes to Colorado to take care of her aunt's funeral and few possessions when she discovers that the wrong person had been arrested in her aunt's murder. While doing an investigation of her own, she learns that her aunt not had mysteriously borrowed $20,000 right before her death, but that she also had another aunt nearby that she never knew about. If you're looking for a blood and gore murder mystery, you won't find it in Maggie Sefton's books. But it you are looking for a good mystery with wonderful characters that you wish you knew, look no further than Maggie Sefton's knitting mysteries!
I really love knitting. When I saw the cover of this book, I was excited to read a book that incorporated knitting in the plot and characters. Yes, the story features a knitting shop and knitters. Unfortunately, very little of it rang true to me. There was a lot of description of novelty yarns that a serious knitting would never buy.The main story is a murder mystery. That part was pleasant reading - it did not take long to predict the outcome (correctly). I like a "beach book" and I have no problem with an easy read. My biggest complaint about this book, however, is that the author never met an adjective she didn't like. As a result the sentences were clumsy and overly long. Her editor should have done the author a favour and sent the manuscript back to back to have her tighten up the writing.The cover promises a knitting pattern and a recipe. The pattern was a very basic, super chunky knit for absolute beginners.Why the 2 1/2 stars? The Cinnamon Rolls that I made from the recipe included were delicious!
After her aunt's murder, Kelly Flynn returns to Fort Connor, Colorado, where she spent part of her childhood, to take care of her aunt's estate. The police arrested a vagrant near the scene of the murder, but when Kelly discovers items missing from her aunt's house, she begins to suspect that the police have the wrong person in custody. After a second murder, she is convinced that someone else is responsible for both deaths. With the help of her new friends from the knitting shop across the street, Kelly solves both murders.The mystery was slow to develop, taking a back seat to character introduction and development. The conversations between Kelly and the knitters were at times awkward and repetitive. I think both flaws would be easy to improve upon in future series entries. The author should become more comfortable with the characters over time, and presumably she will not need to spend as much time introducing the characters to each other (and to the reader) in subsequent books in the series.
Fun cozy mystery. Made me want to start knitting!
The first in Maggie Sefton's knitting mysteries series, this one follows Kelly Flynn as she discovers what caused her aunt Helen's death. It's a very well-told mystery, nice amounts of detail without going overboard. The ending's a little rushed, but I think that's the sort of thing the author will work out with practice. More importantly, this is definitely "knitting porn". It's full of passionate descriptions of wools, yarns, and finished projects. It's just awesome if you're a knitter -- I'm not normally a fan of mysteries, and I really enjoyed this one. I'll definitely be reading more in this series!
I enjoyed "Knit one, kill two". It was the enjoyable easy read I thought it would be (perfect reading for when I was recuperating from a stomach bug last week). It follows Kelly, who has returned to the area after her aunt has been murdered, and who tracks down the killer with the help of some friends she makes at the local yarn shop. Of course, there are the coincidences and bits that don't quite seem real (how come everyone has SO much free time to spend drinking coffee in the yarn shop?!) but it is reasonably convincing as a murder mystery. Plus the descriptions of yarn and knitting are amazing. You can almost imagine being in the shop...
I picked up this book to read at the airport as my flight was delayed/canceled/rescheduled/etc. It was good enough to fill some time, but had I not been in the airport, I probably wouldn't have finished. The plot was rather predictable, with Kelly returning to her hometown to deal with the death of her murdered aunt. Kelly takes it upon herself to track down the real killer, with the help of a rather flat cast of knitters at the yarn store next door. It was cutesy and not very suspenseful as a murder mystery. The writing was rather distracting; the author over-used her thesaurus and I was preoccupied with paying attention to how many different ways the author could write "said".
Enjoyable for the characters, the knitting, and the mystery! A true who dunnit, my favorite kind!
I really liked this book, and I must say it has been a while since reading a mystery. I thought that the characters were interesting, the plot just plausible enough, and the tiny paperback size of the book perfect for stowing away in my purse to read whenever I had a chance. Definitely excited about reading all the other books in this series.
For me, this was a pleasant little cozy mystery that I could carry around in my purse and pick up whenever I had a few minutes to read. It wasn't rocket science, but it was interesting and entertaining in the manner of most cozy mysteries.Kelly Flynn is called back to Fort Connor, CO to settle the estate of her Aunt Helen who was murdered in what the police say was a robbery gone bad, but too many little things don't add up to that scenario for Kelly and she convinces her aunt's friends to help her resolve those discrepancies. IMHO, the clues were well-spread out and the characters were interesting. I hope to see in future installments further character development for all the different personalities - some you wanted to laugh with, others you wanted to hug.
After her aunt is murdered, Kelly Flynn goes to her home in Colorado to settle her affairs. Kelly discovers that her aunt had uncharacteristically taken out a loan on her cottage for 20,000 and just received the money the day that she was killed. The police believe that a vagrant who has been in trouble with the law before committed the crime because he was seen nearby soon afterwards, but Kelly finds several things that just don't add up. She gets permission from her company to work from Colorado for awhile and she gets connected with a group of women who knit at the knitting store that is right across the street from her aunt's cottage. They also teach her to knit and get her started on her first sweater. This book made me want to get my knitting out. The descriptions of yarn and the knitting shop were excellent. I also loved all the knitting group characters. The mystery was well-constructed, if somewhat a stretch in believability in the end. I already have the next one in the series ready to go.
Kelly learns to knit while she investigates her aunt's murder. This is a cozy little mystery -- I'm not sure that a non-knitter would enjoy it so much -- there are many long passages about knitting and probably even more passages about touching yarns. I understand all this well, but I feel like it was forced a little too much here. Also -- I don't think that some of the descriptions of knitting are accurate - you would not learn to knit following the same instructions that Kelly was given.This is the first in a series of books, and I can see where the author's going. I think she will reach a wider audience if she lightens up a little about the knitting -- it's nice to have it included in the story, but it doesn't need to be so insistent.A nice bonus is the inclusion of a couple of knitting patterns and a recipe for cinnamon buns!
I finished this book on vacation, and it was a perfect beach read. This is the first in a series, followed by [Needled to Death] and [A Deadly Yarn]. As a knitter, I loved the author's descriptions of yarn, knitting projects and all things knitting-related. However, I think the author did a good job of not overdoing it with the knitting references. Even non-knitters who like mysteries such as those by Carolyn Hart (Death on Demand) will also like this book. As in the knitting novels by Debbie Macomber, this one has a simple pattern included. The author also includes a receipe for cinnamon buns mentioned in the book that sound wonderful.
I usually wait to judge a new series until I read the second book; I often find the first book of a series weak, but the author develops assurance as they continue. Or they crash and burn. Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael became one of my favorite series, but I thought that the first book, A Morbid Taste for Bones, was decidedly mediocre, especially for an experienced writer. One thing that impressed me about the book was Sefton's description of the sensory overload that some of us go into when we get into a yarn shop. I also prefer amateur detectives who have a little sense when it comes to dealing with clearly dangerous people, and so I am very happy that Sefton doesn't have her heroine going off alone to confront the killer. I would have preferred that Sefton had not fallen into the cliched trap of trying to set up a bickering relationship with the obvious potential love interest. It didn't work too well, and I find bickering a poor substitute for plot. Since the story involves things that happened decades before, I am glad that Sefton chose the more realistic plot of the characters having gotten on with their lives, generally successfully, and not becoming fixated on the past. I don't like stories, especially series, where the characters continue to have the same problems with the same people with no resolution. (Except for running into an inordinate number of murders, of course.) The characters need more development and the book certainly needed better editing. The editing is probably hopeless, but the character development wasn't so dreadful as to ruin the book for me and can certainly be improved in further installments. While Kelly's ability to switch to being an off-site employee may or may not be unrealistic in her industry, but it seems more plausible for an accountant than most jobs. I will definitely be checking out the next book, and I hope this will prove to be a successful series. Those interested in the needlework aspects may enjoy Monica Ferris' Betsy Devonshire mystery series, which begins with Crewel World or Debbie Macomber also has an interesting novel called The Shop on Blossom Street, both of which center around knitting/needlework shops.
This is the first 'Cozy' mystery I have read, & I have to say I really enjoyed it. I liked the characters, a good plot & it's inspired me to Knit!! Looking forward to more Cozy mysteries.
I really enjoyed this book, loved the way the yarns in the store and what Kelly was knitting was described. It was all so real that it has made me want to go out and get some yarn and learn to knit too!The story was good, but in my opinion there were too many characters. Maybe once we get into the next book in the series we will see more development with those characters and see what happens with the relationship of Kelly and Steve. I'm assuming that Kelly stays in the town, and I wonder what will happen with the Shop. Looking forward to the next mystery :)
4/6/2007: Sadly, not a fan of this book. I wanted to be, so much--a mystery, set around a yarn shop, with lots of knitting....sounded perfect! And I did grow to like most of the characters (although I still couldn't tell you the difference between Meghan and Lisa). But for me, the plot holes killed it dead. For one thing, criminals don't just confess, and certainly not when confronted with flimsy circumstantial evidence. Ok, maybe in "Murder She Wrote," and if that's the audience Sefton is writing for, then go team her! But I'm not in that audience, and I expect more at the end of a mystery.For another, anything involving knitting and/or yarn was written so completely and lovingly that it was clear the author not only adored her subject, but knew it very well. This just made it oh so obvious how much she *didn't* research any of the other technical details of the story--DNA testing, for instance. I can't get into it further without risking spoilers, but let's just say that when an expert is comparing two separate DNA samples, two things are noticed immediately, and if the expert has seen enough of the samples to know the answer to one of those things, he can't possibly *not* know the answer to the other--literally not possible....unless you're the DNA expert in Sefton's Colorado. This mistake (and the unbelievably rapid turnaround for the DNA results) was such a big one that my head hurts every time I think about it, and it made me want to throw the book across the room.And what's with that ending? Or should I say, lack thereof? There were so many questions left hanging at the end, I had to doublecheck the page numbers to see if a chapter had been ripped out. (Sadly, no.)Those are the biggest (but not only) plot problems I had. Then there was the habit of the characters including the name of the person they were speaking to in nearly every speaking turn. Take, for instance, page 178. Seven paragraphs of dialog, taking up 2/3 of the page--not even a complete page. Martha speaks to Kelly three times, and uses Kelly's name each time. Kelly speaks to Martha four times, and uses Martha's name twice. They're the only two people in the room! And this happened throughout the whole book!I know for some people these may be small, nitpicky details that are better glossed over in favor of enjoying the story, but for me, they got in the way of the story, taking me out of the book in repeated exasperation, with frequent mutterings of, "doesn't she have an editor??"As I said before, I did grow to like the characters, despite their constant uses of names, but unless someone can assure me that these plot and style problems have been worked out in later books, I won't be reading anymore Sefton books.
Utterly boring. Far too simplistic with cardboard characters trying to solve the mystery of the death of an old lady (who, incidently, neither lived on nor owned an alpaca farm). Give it a miss.