Friday, 8 November 2013
Book Review No. 24: A Killer Stitch (Cosy & Knitting in One!)
This is the fourth in the Kelly Flynn [Knitting] Mysteries series. I read the first two (Knit One, Kill Two and Needled to Death) in 2012 and the third in August of this year. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of this series, but since so many of them are sitting in my unread (crime/cosy) bookcase I may as well read them (am I a glutton for punishment? Or perhaps I just keep hoping they'll get better?)
Kelly Flynn is a book-keeper who moved to Colorado on the death of her aunt in order to help sort out the aunt's estate. She ended up staying rather longer than anticipated and, wouldn't you know it, helped to solve the mystery of her aunt's death (book one) and a further death (or was it two?) in book two. By books three and four Kelly is feeling settled in Fort Connor, especially when she is spending time with her newly-acquired friends at the knitting shop-cum-cafe next door; the money she has inherited from her aunt enables her to give up her job in Washington DC and make a permanent home in Colorado.
The hapless victim in this book is cad about town Derek Cooper; he's a nasty piece of work of the 'love 'em and leave 'em' kind, although we only actually meet him after he's been killed (thwacked on the head with a shovel at his barn in the canyon). Derek's death is first mentioned on page 24; in the previous book in the series the murder victim is found on page 23 - is the author writing to a strict set of rules? I must look back on the others and see if there are further similarities. Anyway, Kelly immediately starts to investigate the crime in her subtle way, which involves lots of knitting and coffee drinking while getting other people to ask questions. After several red herrings - is it the drunk ex-girlfriend, the pregnant current girlfriend, or one of many other girlfriends - on page 240 Kelly persuades the real killer to confess and all is good in Fort Connor once again; the knitters can get back to knitting, playing tennis and having parties at alpaca ranches and Kelly can finally succumb to the advances of local builder Steve.
What to say? I keep reading this series and I don't mind it, but I don't 'deep down' enjoy it and connect with it in the way that I do with some other cozies. The main issue is the weakness of the stories/plots - clearly that's a biggy in a murder-mystery setting; but you can forgive a weak plot line if the story around it is well written and interesting. And, for the most part, the stories in this series aren't that great. The other issue I have is in the huge cast of characters - it's so confusing! At one point Kelly lists some of her knitting friends: "Lisa, Jennifer, Megan, Mimi, Connie, Rosa, Lizzie, Hilda." And when you factor in the non-knitters: Curt, Steve, Eugene, Burt, Marty, Pete, Lucy, Jayleen and probably a few more I've forgotten, you can see how it can be quite tricky to get a handle on who's who.
BUT, after all that, you just know I'm going to read another from this series, don't you? And you know why as well, don't you? Because I already own the next one (and quite possibly the one after), and it's sitting in my unread cozy crime bookcase just begging to be picked up.