Kelly Flynn and her friends are struggling to deal with acts of vandalism to their property when one of the customers of the House of Lambspun yarn shop is murdered, in Dyer Consequences, the fifth Knitting Mystery by Maggie Sefton.
Kelly is an accountant who has recently arrived in Fort Connor in Colorado. She has discovered the joys of knitting and spends a lot of time with her new friends in the yarn store next door. What’s more, the House of Lambspun is attached to Kelly’s favourite coffee shop Pete’s. Kelly’s cottage was bequeathed to her by her aunt and she is now also the owner of a ranch in a nearby Bellevue canyon (complete with 15 alpacas).
It is now the beginning of February and Kelly is eager to start the refurbishment of her new ranch house. Steve (her boyfriend and architect/builder) is happy to help her out with the design and construction. Unfortunately there has been a spate of vandalism in the Fort Connor area and it seems that Kelly is the latest victim. There has been graffiti daubed on her cottage walls and her car has had its windscreen smashed and tyres slashed!
The House of Lambspun’s owner, motherly Mimi, dyes and sells yarn in the yarn shop. Kelly is so in love with the soft colourful yarns that she has joined Mimi’s yarn dying course. She is taking the classes along with her estate agent friend Jennifer. Sadly the yarn store and coffee shop also becomes the target of vandalism. With the properties both trashed the community of knitters are only too willing to help restore order. But nothing can put right the deed that they discover in the hot dye bath in the basement; the body of a young knitter, her head and torso submerged in the Aztec blue dye!
The disturbing incidents continue to mount up and at first the whole community are at a loss as to what to do. Then a remark from Jennifer sets Kelly, the amateur sleuth, on the road to unravel this case which has already had such dire consequences for her and her friends.
Kelly is knitting a tweed alpaca scarf for Steve and making heavy weather of it. Nonetheless, her knitting chums persuade her that it‘s time to be a bit more adventurous with her knitting. With the choice of socks or hat, Kelly takes the easier option of knitting a simple hat, with pattern picked by her friend Megan. The book has a fair amount of reference to the knitting projects that the friends are undertaking. At the back of the book there is a straightforward pattern for a collapsible cloche hat although I have not tried knitting this pattern.
I enjoy the cosy family type atmosphere that Maggie Sefton creates in her Knitting Mysteries series. The characters are not overly described, which I like as too much narrative can make a story drag. Kelly and her pals are a nice friendship group who care for each other as we grow fonder of them. Our heroine has grown more likeable to me in this book as her irrepressible character comes to the fore. And I am glad to see that Steve and her relationship has become a regular thing.
There can’t be many better settings for a mystery series than a knitting shop, if you love knitting like I do. You can just imagine yourself wandering through the displays of colourful yarns and fibres, and then sitting down for a chat with the other shop regulars before heading next door for a coffee and pastry. Sigh… For Kelly coffee is a necessity that she cannot live without. But in this volume she considers for the first time whether she would be willing to move to her ranch and away from her knitting buddies and the yarn store.
This series is an easy read. The mysteries are not the most complicated in the world of literature. However, I do enjoy a book that you can read quickly and that has a good cast and setting. The story was, for the most part, fast paced, with more plot twists tan previous episodes and I think that Sefton’s story telling is improving. The pace of the narrative at the end keeps you gripped as, this time, Kelly faces some very real dangers.
I like that fact that there are no gory descriptions of the murders in these books. The police competently followed the evidence and Kelly, through a police contact, is able to follow their investigation and create her own theories, which leads to her getting thoroughly involved. The murderer was not revealed until later on in the book, though possible to guess if you pay attention to the clues. Nevertheless, the mystery did have a ring of truth to me. This tale was a little slow at first as the vandalism storyline did not really grip me. Despite the leisurely build up, there was not much time to get to know and care about the murder victim before she is killed. There are a lot of characters in the series and some can be a bit confusing; for example Dan and Don are separate people and both policemen, whilst Curt and Burt are both helpful friends.
Some of the dialogue can be a bit immature at times; for example the way the characters are often “teasing” each other and the reference to the caffeine, knitting and anxiety “lobes” of Kelly’s brain. This story was a little lighter on the knitting content, although I liked the description of Megan’s knitting time not increasing in proportion to the size of her larger yarn stash. Also a minor thing, though, when Burt works a wool fleece for spinning the terms should be batt or roving rather than batten as used by the author. Dyer Consequences by Maggie Sefton is an enjoyable quick read. I would have liked a bit more knitting this time, but the mystery was good and the characters keep bringing you back for more. The pecan pie recipe at the back of the book also looks like it is worth a try. The yarn in the photos is a skein of my own Hand Dyed Opal Sock Yarn which is available here.