Dropped Dead Stitch (A Knitting Mystery)
by Maggie Sefton
Cover Artist: Chris O'Leary
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425227749
Date: 02 June 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Dropped Dead Stitch, the seventh book featuring Kelly Flynn and her knitting friends from the House of Lambspun in Fort Connor, Colorado, is a bit different. Sefton has stepped up to deal with a very serious issue and manages a credible job in weaving this secondary plot into the murder of a rancher during a psychological retreat at his Poudre Canyon ranch.
Since, Knit One, Kill Two, Kelly has been turning her keen observation skills and questioning mind to helping solve crimes that involve her friends. The police do their part, but Kelly manages to turn up a clue or three often by looking at the problem from a different angle -- a trick she learned as an accountant. All of her friends appreciate her ability and now, when Jennifer looks to be the prime suspect in a murder, everyone is hoping Kelly can come up with the real killer.
Unlike earlier books, this starts with a bit of a prologue. Jennifer has always been a bit of a party girl: single and loving it, always up for a good time, and not wanting to be tied down. She knew how to take care of herself and was careful. But the odds tend to catch people up, and one night she got followed home and attacked. Kelly, along with the rest of the gang, has been working with Jennifer to make sure she comes out on the other side of this event with her joy, openness, and sweetness intact. Jennifer is in counseling and things are looking up for her.
Lisa asks Kelly if she and Jennifer would like to come to a retreat in Purdre Canyon and teach a knitting class to the attendees. It's a retreat for women who have been sexually assaulted and is run by Jennifer's counselor. It seems an ideal opportunity for Jennifer, and Kelly is up for the break in routine. That is, it did seem ideal, until it turned out that the man who owns the ranch where the retreat was being held, is Jennifer's attacker.
As you can imagine this doesn't go over well with anyone: the counselor, Jennifer, Kelly, or the other women who have suffered at the hands of such men. But when he turns up dead on the last day of the retreat -- there are too many suspects and no real clues.
Once again, Kelly feels she has to step up and find the killer. The police seem to be spinning their wheels and Kelly find herself a suspect because of some statements she made at the time.
There's a lot of emotional impact in the writing this time. While Sefton tries very hard to manage to convey the magnitude of the aftermath of such an assault, at times it seems as if the reader is being held at arm's length from the character's emotions. At others, the scenes and dialogue are very poignant and emotionally wringing. If anyone you know has every been sexually assaulted, this maybe a difficult story to read, but it's handled with care and respect as a subplot of the over-riding murder investigation.
Note: The book also contains a knitted afghan pattern and two recipes (Nancy's Butternut Squash Soup and Diane's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies).