Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Murder of a Needled Knitter (A Scumble River Mystery #17) by Denise Swanson

School psychologist Skye Denison has been waiting forever for her happily-ever-after with police chief Wally Boyd. But her bliss threatens to unravel on the very first day of their luxurious honeymoon cruise, when Skye becomes convinced that she has glimpsed her mother on board! Surely even momzilla May wouldn’t have manipulated Wally into booking the same trip that her knitting group is taking…or would she?

May’s possible presence can’t cool Skye and Wally’s ardor on their personal Love Boat, but discovering knitting expert Guinevere Stallings as she lies dying from a stab wound leaves them untangling the clues of yet another murder investigation rather than getting tangled in the sheets. Since Skye found the body, she’s considered a top suspect, but she’s far from the only one. Guinevere’s imperious ways needled nearly everyone, and she left an impressive number of enemies. It’s up to the crafty newlyweds to figure out which of the wronged parties was angry enough to cast Guinevere off…permanently.

Honeymoons Are Meant for Two
How Skye and Wally ended up honeymooning on a knitting cruise

When you picture a romantic honeymoon cruise, I bet that image doesn't include a bunch of knitters sharing your trip.  Mine didn't either.  However, when I proposed setting a book during Skye's honeymoon, my editor pointed out that if Skye was leaving Scumble River the book wouldn't have the same feeling as the rest of the series.  That made me realize, that if I wanted to take Skye out of town at least a couple of the regular series characters would have to go along with her.  

The problem was how to have these characters pop up with relying too heavily on deus ex machina.  The only way I could come up with was to have Wally-with the help of some maneuvering by May - go to the local travel agent who offered him a good deal on a cruise for which she had a large group already booked.  The group of course turned out to be May's knitting club.  I put a clue to this scenario in Murder of a Cat's Meow and set up the rest in Murder of a Stacked Librarian.  My only regret was that I wasn't able to figure out a way to have the Dooziers onboard. 

My problem then became that I knew nothing about knitting.  I began my research by reading several books about the hobby and asking my Facebook peeps for stories about their groups.  

Five Things I Didn't Know About Knitting/Knitters

1. There is a hierarchy based on where yarn is purchased.  Exclusive little shops - good.  Discount stores - not so much.  

2.  Knitters become extremely annoyed if you dis their creations or fail to wear what they've made for you.  

3.  Yarn is the currency of the knitting world and hoarders abound.  

4.  Although most knitters are wonderful people, there is a competitive dark side to the hobby.  

5.  Knitting needles can be deadly.  

Have you ever been a part of a hobby group that contained with a member who was so obnoxious you wondered if he or she would make it out of the meeting alive?  

New York Times Bestselling author Denise Swanson writes both the Scumble River and Deveraux's Dime
Store mystery series.  Denise was a practicing school psychologist for twenty-two years and grew up in a small town similar to Shadow Bend and Scumble River.  She is married to classic music composer David Stybr and lives in Illinois with her cool black cat Boomerang.

This is a long running series that continues to surprise with every new book that comes out.  In Murder of a Needled Knitter, Skye and Wally's honeymoon isn't exactly picture perfect.  Joined by May, Skye's mother, and members of Skye's knitting club on a cruise ship, Skye and Wally find themselves smack dab in the middle of a murder mystery that's absolutely thrilling.  

Being the 17th book in the series, I wasn't sure what to expect.  But it was such a wonderful story!  Not only were all of my favorite characters along for the cruise, Skye and Wally finally stood up to May.  That's been a REALLY long time coming, and I was excited to see the two of them happy and confident.  

Ms. Swanson's writing is always superb, but I have to admit that this was my favorite book in the series thus far.  It truly was one of her finest!  

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own. 

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of Murder of a Needled Knitter by Denise Swanson to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!

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