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A FINELY KNIT MURDER is the ninth book in the seaside knitters mystery series, not a momentous event all by itself. But it made me think of the fact that that’s how long I’ve been forming friendships with the characters in the series. Nine years (and maybe even longer). And to me, that does seem momentous.

Nell, Birdie, Cass, and Izzy—These four women have become soul sisters to me. They’ve become an integral part of my life.  And with each book, we have become better friends.

As I began writing the first in the series, DEATH BY CASHMERE, I knew plenty of facts about the seaside knitters—like where they went to school, how they ended up in Sea Harbor, a little about their love lives, schooling, and their life goals, their accomplishments and likes and dislikes.

But probably—as is probably the case with your own close friends—they have continued to surprise me on this journey of friendship as we move from story to story.

Before I sit down to write a new seaside knitters mystery, I spend time talking to Nell, Cass, Izzie and Birdie, sharing a ‘seed’ of an idea with them—that tiny nugget that hopefully will grow into a book. And then I beg them to take me by the hand and lead me along to what comes next, to toughen me up as we face the blank computer screen. And in the process, I ask them to tell me more about themselves, to share secrets and feelings and things from their past.

Sometimes the characters jump right in, like Izzy did in ANGORA ALIBI, (the 7th seaside mystery). It took little time for her to share her feelings about pregnancy with me, feelings that moved her to take the actions she did—and that propelled all of her friends into a mystery, a murder, and gradually the steps needed to solve it.

In A FATAL FLEECE, Cass Halloran surprised me by showing me she had a vulnerable side in addition to being a great lobster fisherwoman. She surprised me even more in A FINELY KNIT MURDER as she tries to work through her own feelings about commitment and relationships.

And Birdie—the 80-year-old matriarch—pulled a skeleton out of her closet in A FATAL FLEECE, one that changed her life forever. And a skeleton that none of us (especially me!) was expecting.

sand When I began writing A FINELY KNIT MURDER, Cass surprised me yet again by showing up with a new man in her life. I knew his role in the story but honestly didn’t know at first how he was going to fit into my Cass’s; life. No one knew, not for sure. But at the end of the journey, it made sense to us. And to Cass, too.

Yes, after all these years, these women still surprise me. And that’s a good thing. Surprising means they stay fresh, but not completely comfortable. New, but still old friends.

It amazes me that I’ve known these women for all these years—maybe as long as you’ve known a close and valued friend. They truly are BFFs. To each other. To me. And I hope that their friendship with readers, with you, deepens, too, so that you’ll keep coming back to sit with them on the deck or in the yarn shop, sharing a glass of wine, a bit of gossip, and secrets of Sea Harbor.

New . . .unique . . . and familiar. Kind of like a good marriage, a good partnership. Like BFFs.

A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum * A Seaside Knitters Mystery * An Obsidian Mystery, Hardcover 304 pages *  $24.95 *