A Guest Blog By Sally Goldenbaum
Author of the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series
Sometimes readers wonder why cozy mystery series have themes, like knitting or cooking or gardening or managing tea shops. Why isn’t a plain old murder enough? Who needs herbs and bamboo needles or trowels and tea when you have a dead body?
Why, indeed? There are plenty of good reasons, I think, including providing a marketing hook or the author’s interest in the theme. But in truth, those weren’t the ones that influenced me.
So I turned to Nell, Izzy, Birdie and Cass to help me answer why this series has a knitting theme. The women of Sea Harbor are not ‘professional knitters’. A retired nonprofit director, an ex-lawyer, a lobster fisherwoman, a wealthy octogenarian. Not a professional knitter in the lot (although, admittedly, the ex-lawyer owns a yarn shop).
But the yarn shop is the key—because that’s where it all began.
One night (in Death by Cashmere, book 1). Nell brought her niece dinner when she was working late. Birdie dropped in that night for extra needles, and Cass, walking by the shop on her way home, smelled the linguini with clam sauce through the open door.
They came, they stayed, and from then on, the four women came together every Thursday night.
It’s in the back room of Izzy’s shop that they anchor and deepen their friendship; it’s the place where they share their lives and secrets, tears and laughs. It’s a safe place, as Nell says in Murder at Lambswool Farm (the newest seaside knitters mystery), where they can sip Birdie’s wine and knit together the intricacies of a murder in Sea Harbor as surely as they can knit up anniversary afghans or wedding shawls or soft hats for friends in chemotherapy.
In Murder at Lambswool Farm, their fingers are working overtime creating knit vegetables and baskets to grace the tables for the first farm to dinner event. And as it often does, their knitting becomes the backdrop, the soothing glue that helps them sort through their fears about a stranger who has come into town; or as they worry about a family clinic in disarray; and as they mourn the death of a dear friend. It’s the safe place where they can sort through observations, where they can begin to connect the dots to solve the murder that has pitted friends against friends and neighbors against neighbors.
I hope you’ll come sit with them, feel the sensuousness of their yarn, the tang of Birdie’s pinot gris, the warmth of their friendship, and the spinning of their thoughts as they solve the mysteries of Sea Harbor.
The door to Izzy’s shop is always open.
Sally Goldenbaum is the author of more than thirty novels, most currently the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series, set in a seaside town north of Boston. Murder at Lambswool Farm, the eleventh in the series, was released this month and A Finely Knit Murder is being released in paperback. Sally divides her time between land-locked Kansas and Cape Ann, MA, the geographic inspiration for her series.
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