The Seaside Knitters aim to clear the name of Willow, a young artist, who is prime suspect in the murder of a local art gallery owner, in Patterns in the Sand by Sally Goldenbaum.
When Willow Adams visits Izzy Chambers and the Seaside Knitters from Boston, to demonstrate fibre art, she is welcomed wholeheartedly by Izzy, Nell, Birdie and Cass. Close to Izzy and Nell’s yarn shop in Sea Harbour, Maine is Canary Cove, a busy artist’s colony where a summer art festival is soon to get underway. The knitters see this as the perfect backdrop for showcasing Willow’s talents.
However, when Aidan Peabody, a popular local artist and gallery owner is found dead, poisoned in his secluded garden behind his gallery, everything soon points to Willow as having been the murderer. One such fact is that she is the sole beneficiary of Nick’s will! Despite the evidence, Nell and the others have taken Willow to their hearts. They cannot believe she is capable of murder and decide to investigate themselves. They have plenty of meetings, discussions and gossip! They pull together a list of other potential suspects including: D J Delaney, a greedy developer; Billy Sobel, a rival gallery owner; and Rebecca Marks, a rebuffed girlfriend. Pretty soon, the villagers realise that they did not know Nick as well as they thought as all of his secrets start to come to light.
One of the hang outs for the group is of course Izzy’s knitting shop. There is also an emphasis on a charity push in the area to create as many “chemo caps” (knitted hats for cancer sufferers who have lost their hair as a side effect of treatment) as they can. A number of the local characters take part in the charity drive. A pattern for the “chemo caps” is included at the end of the book. The other main knitting theme is the fibre art that Willow creates whilst staying with the knitters. There is plenty of background knitting by the four women as they create their various knitting projects of scarfs, socks, shawls and jerseys. One review that I read even said that it made her want to join a knitting class.
The story starts in an usual way; with Purl, the young cat, moving about the knitting shop long after everyone has left for the night. However, the reason for this soon becomes clear when Willow manages to break into the shop and sets down to sleep in the shop window beside the calico cat. Willow is a pitiful creature from the start and I found myself rooting for her throughout the tale.
This is a tight and exiting whodunit plot. The story continues with many of the same characters from Death by Cashmere, which means that the characterisation is enriched from the first book. The knitters again have the best places to hang out and discuss what is occurring in their small community. I love all the descriptions of the seaside setting, the meals, the snacks; and there is plenty of knitting chat to compliment this.
Sally Goldenbaum has crafted another hard to put down mystery in this tale. It is a good book to relax with and shed all of the worries of the day. The author keeps us guessing as to the murderer and the ending of the book is well composed.
There is not much I can criticize about Patterns in the Sand by Sally Goldenbaum. I liked the pacing and the emphasis on character and conversation, although if you like a lot of excitement this novel may not be for you.
I am really enjoying this series of the Seaside Knitters mystery series (I dislike the term “Cozies”) and was delighted to learn that the author had became serious about knitting at the same time as she created this series of books. Similar yarns to those shown in the photographs are available in the Knitting Squirrel shop. I can recommend this book and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.