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Patterns in the Sand: A Seaside Knitters Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum
Cover Artist: Doug Martin/121 Art
Review by Gayle Surrette
NAL Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451227034
Date: 28 April 2009 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

When Izzy Chambers gave up her law practice and opened The Seaside Knitting Studio, she finally felt that she'd found her true home, especially since the Endicotts also lived in Sea Harbor, MA. The events of Death By Cashmere didn't change her mind. Now things have settled down a bit until the a friend calls to say there's a woman sleeping in her display window. Willow Adams is a free spirit and she suddenly decided to take Izzy up her offer to host a seminar in fiber art at the studio. But shortly after Willow's arrival one of the mainstays of the art community is murdered and Willow is accused of the crime once the police find out that Willow is the sole beneficiary of the will. Now in Patterns in the Sand, there are plenty of questions to be answered and Izzy and her friends are not going to let Willow stand alone, they are going to find the real killer.

The great thing about books in a series is that after the first books, you pretty much know what you're getting. Not that the mystery is predictable -- these two books have had very different mysteries. No, you know because you are going to get reacquainted with the main and secondary characters that you met in the first book. Over time and books, you come to have your favorites and you'll look forward to each succeeding book as if it was a chatty letter from a dear friend catching you up on all the doing of the neighbors and the town since you last visited. A good series is like taking a break and going to spend some quality time with friends you've never met.

Goldenbaum has constructed a town and its people with care and attention to detail. This town works -- you can actually imagine living in it. The friendships are close or strained. They gather together for comfort and bicker among themselves. And of course there's always gossip--friendly or snide. This sets the scene for parceling out the clues because, as the characters live their lives in the story, you receive information as the main characters receive it. Of course, it's up to the reader to determine what is important among the many bits of information gathered just as the sleuth or sleuths have to do the same thing.

The dialogue rings true and the setting remains a delight. It's a short visit to the seaside for the duration of the mystery. The plotting in Patterns in the Sand seemed, to me, to be much more complex than the previous book. There were several threads that wove together to deliver this story and to fill in the reader on the background necessary for understanding the motivation that lead to the murders.

. A seaside summer resort town is just the right setting to keep new people coming to town and thus keeping the plots coming. Even without the summer people, there are enough year round residence to generate grudges, jealousies, and petty revenge to keep the series moving along. I, for one, look forward to the next Seaside Knitters Mystery.

As an added inducement to picking up Patterns in the Sand, the book contains a knitting pattern for The Inside-Out Knit Chemo Cap designed by Joyce Forker.

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