Monday, July 18, 2011

Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton

Published by Berkley Prime Crime

Maggie Sefton has assembled a great mixed group of friends in her Knitting Mystery series. I find as a reader I feel like I am a part of the story, it's an interesting and comfortable feeling. Yet not all is sunny in the small town of Fort Connor, Colorado. As with most of the country, the financial downturn has affected many of the residents, including Kelly's boyfriend, Steve, who is an architect, and her friend Jennifer, in real estate. As a result, Steve is working two jobs as much as he can, spending almost all his time in Boulder and very little in Fort Connor. To make matters worse from Steve's point of view, Kelly not only has her consulting work, but she has a large inheritance and would willingly share it with Steve, but it just increases his feeling of failure and he refuses to take any money.

Of course, this wouldn't be a cosy mystery without a murder. It all starts when Kelly steps out on her patio one night and is startled to find a barefoot college girl standing there. She doesn't answer any questions, just rocks and smiles. It doesn't take Kelly long to realize the girl is stoned out of her mind, and must have walked along the trail by the golf course behind the house. She is high on Ecstasy. Kelly calls 911 and the girl is taken to hospital. Kelly has no idea how she got there, but the trail is not a safe place to walk at night, there have been some recent attacks on women walking alone.

Kelly learns that the girl has been on her own since childhood and that Barbara, one of the knitting teachers at House of Lambspun, the wool shop where Kelly and her friends meet. Barbara had more or less taken Holly in, and she grew up with Tommy, Barbara's son, who is now studying medicine. Apparently, Holly calls on Tommy constantly, drawing him away from his studies and work as a paramedic. With Mimi, the shop owner, taking an interest in her, the girl turns herself around and does well. She even takes knitting classes. Then a party she attends has her turning to alcohol but not drugs. The next morning, her body is found on the trail.

The coroner calls it a drug overdose, but Kelly can't shake the feeling there is more to it, and starts to investigate, to the chagrin of Steve, who twice arrives at the home they share on weekends to find her gone. He is on the brink of staying away in Boulder for good. How can this be happening? With her consternation of Steve's reaction, Kelly still pursues her investigation. Holly knew the trail wasn't safe, and she was trying to become a good person. What went wrong? Jealousy? A mother's overbearing protection? A drug dealer? So many questions. It seems everyone is trying to steer Kelly a different direction. Brick walls are up against Kelly as she tries to get at the truth. Will she learn what really happened in time? There are several possibilities, many supplied by another girl who grew up with both Kelly and Tommy as classmates through the years. Which of the possible suspects might prove to be a murderer? It will keep the reader guessing. What will happen to Kelly's romance and future?

In the midst of all this is woven an engagement and the wild search for a wedding dress and other plans necessary for the wedding. This book is a cozy with subject matter that is meaningful in today's world where parties, drugs and alcohol play a major part, especially in college. We also end with a cliff-hanger. Will there be a happy future for Kelly? That will require reading the next book, "Unraveled". I really enjoy Maggie's books, they are fun, genuinely "cosy" yet with a good murder mystery, and this one did not disappoint. Recipe and Knitting pattern included.

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