Who wouldnít grab an opportunity to enjoy Ėfree of chargeóa relaxing weekend at a ritzy spa owned by a New Age celebrity? Like most of us, the Black Sheep Knitting Club members need a break from the various stressors in their lives. When the opportunity to hang out at Dr. Max Flemingís Crystal Lake Inn presents itself, they pack up their needles and head for the Berkshires.
The spa offers something for everyone: yoga, massage, writing workshops, knitting (of course!), even a moon meditation on the mountain. Such varied offerings attract a host of quirky characters, but not all of them are full of the love-and-peace vibe. Just hours after the Black Sheep Knitters arrive, thereís a dead body in the mix, and all those kind and colorful retreat participants suddenly seem more sinister than serene.
While Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne and Phoebe would be happy to knit 24/7, readers donít have to know the difference between stockinette and garter to enjoy this charming mystery. A Stitch Before Dying is the third book in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series. Itís always more fun to follow a series such as this from beginning to end, but I missed the first two entries and still found this one to be thoroughly enjoyable. Author Anne Canadeo does a masterful job of filling in the background action from previous books without getting heavy-handed. Knitters will recognize kindred spirits among the diverse characters here, but anyone who enjoys crafting will easily be able to substitute his or her own hobby. Itís more about the obsession than the specifics.
Itís a shame that the editor fell asleep on this one, leaving readers to contend with far too many typos and a few baffling timeline discrepancies, because Canadeo certainly holds up her end of the project. She spins a lively tale of clashing personalities, betrayal, love, lust, and tangled motives while allowing each of the knitters a chance to shine. Thatís not an easy task with so many players, either. Best of all, Canadeo doesnít thrust her protagonists into the action. These ladies arenít chasing after killers or poking into the police investigation. Maggie and her friends behave sensibly, and are drawn into the business of sleuthing through a well-planned series of events outside their control. In the end, though, itís only the Black Sheep Knitters who can sort out the pattern to identify and catch a killer.