Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: A Finely Knit Murder (Seaside Knitters #9) by Sally Goldenbaum

In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder in Merino, the sleuthing skills of Izzy Chambers Perry and the Seaside Knitters are tested as death mars the beginning of the school year… 

Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza is thrilled that her granddaughter Gabby will be visiting for the fall and attending the Sea Harbor Community Day School. Gabby loves the school, with its newly-adopted progressive curriculum, and she loves that the Seaside Knitters are teaching knitting as part of the enrichment program. It’s a huge success, and on crisp autumn days, girls camp out on the terraces, knitting up hats for charity.

But not everyone is happy with the direction the school is taking. Outspoken board member Blythe Westerland has sparked tempers with her determination to unravel the current administration. Then, on the evening of an elegant school event, Blythe’s body is found near the school boathouse.

With a killer on the loose, Birdie is determined to keep Gabby safe. Working together, the Seaside Knitters carefully unravel the layers of Blythe’s complicated life, bringing faculty members and town residents under scrutiny. Before the cast-off rows are made on the students’ projects, the knitters will need to stitch together the evidence to see if a murderer has been walking beside them all along.

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.

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.

I truly enjoy this series. For so many reasons. But the main reason is the four women in the books.  They make this series worth spending the time to read.  Their personalities are all so different, and yet they manage to compliment one another's so perfectly.  They are a perfect storm of everything you'd hope for in a group of friends, and I've looked forward to getting to know them more and more with each story. 

(Insert funny story here... I wrote this review prior to receiving my guest post.  When I read through the guest post, I found it hilariously funny that the author was writing about Nell, Izzie, Birdie and Cass.  It made me laugh, literally out loud.) 

A Finely Knit Murder was a wonderful story.  It was fun, exciting, and the school setting was unique - especially this time of year!  I thoroughly enjoyed feeling all of the excitement the ladies felt about being a part of such a wonderful school's curriculum.  Where were schools like that when I was a kid?! And the murder mystery - brilliantly plotted out and solved!  

I always love visiting the Seaside Knitters. They make me happy - even when they're up to their elbows in a crazy homicide solving caper.  Every time I pick up one of these books, I feel like I'm back home with all of my just as crazy and fun loving friends.  

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. 

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Theresa N. said...

A Finely Knit Murder.
Theresa N

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