Series: A Knitting Mystery #1
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Berkley on June 2005
Knit One, Kill Two is a crafty, cozy mystery that combines learning to knit along with catching a killer. Our heroine is Kelly Flynn who moves into her aunt’s place while she winds up her aunt’s estate. Her aunt was murdered and Kelly soon discovers her aunt re-mortgaged her house just before her death and the $20,000 she borrowed is missing along with a family quilt. Kelly makes friends with the knitters across the road at House of Lambspun yarn shop and starts to poke her nose into her aunt’s death.
The mystery is fairly predictable and the characters need more depth. During this novel Kelly learns to knit, drinks copious amounts of coffee and has orgasmic reactions from running her hands through yarn at the store – isn’t stroking yarn a big no-no as it can damage the fibres? I had difficulty keeping track of all the secondary characters and couldn’t really see why they bent over backwards to be so nice to Kelly all the time when she whinged constantly. The book was fairly repetitive and the constant scenes with Kelly inhaling coffee, thinking of coffee and talking about coffee smacked of padding. I didn’t buy the fact that so many young and middle aged people would hang around in a knitting shop all day – I could see them popping in but they were literally there all the time because they had jobs that had adjustable hours.
I can’t fault Maggie Sefton for her sacrificing the mystery to focus on knitting as many cozies follow a similar pattern. I have noticed an explosion in cooking and handicraft mysteries from about 2000 onwards. They allowed readers to solve a fairly simple mystery along with the protagonist and then bake cookies, knit a scarf, scrapbook etc. Often these books catered for those who liked a light, fluffy novel without too much depth that they could finish fairly quickly. Given the proliferation of these types of novels, authors seem to be differentiating with their cooking or handicraft angle rather than the mystery. The knitting lessons could have been incorporated more effectively as Kelly changed from amateur sleuth to beginner knitter quite abruptly. I didn’t need the detail about each individual step in the process but for someone learning to knit, I guess it would be helpful to know that others make mistakes too.
I have read a few other books in the series as I don’t like to judge a series just by its first novel. They are similarly paced and the characterisation does not develop that much. Sefton clearly intended this novel to be warm and engaging but a little more complexity with the plot and characterisation would have helped.