Murder in Merino: A Seaside Knitters Mystery
by Sally Goldenbaum
Cover Artist: Doug Martin / i2iart.com
Review by Gayle Surrette
NAL Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451415363
Date: 06 May 2014 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
I have a definite soft spot for books with a solid continuing cast of characters that form a core, if unrelated family. Sally Goldenbaum's Seaside Knitters Mysteries fits that criterion to a tee. While some of the core characters are related, some are just family of the heart; together they are a caring support group that help each other over the highs and lows of life's challenges. These people are the core group in the series.
When you add to the continuing characters those who appear because Sea Harbor is a New England coastal town where the population changes rapid between on and off-season, it makes the books far more interesting for me, and possibly other readers, because the seasonal nature of the town gives more scope to the possible mysteries that could be encountered. This time it's nearing the end of the tourist season and this crime just might mean that the killer is one of them.
In Murder in Merino, Sea Harbor is rocked by the murder of a man who has been a key figure in the community. He knew everyone and, while some didn't care for him, everyone knew him. The fact that he died just before the open house for Izzy Chambers Perry's old house makes it personal for our core characters. His body was found by Jules Ainsley, a recent visitor to Sea Harbor and potential buyer for the house, and Stella Palazola, a newly minted Realtor. Everyone would like to think it was someone from outside the community but Izzy, Nell, and the other Seaside Knitters don't believe it was an outsider; besides they believe Jules is innocent.
With a murderer on the loose in Sea Harbor, there's some danger to asking questions, because you just might ask the wrong question of the wrong person and be in danger yourself. But these women are all smart and astute observers and while they don't really put the pieces together the way you'd expect, they do put them together logically based on what they know of the crime, the people involved, and personal interactions and connections.
Once again the solution is not straight forward, but the solution is logical once you have all the information. Some readers may figure it out ahead of time and others will be very surprised, but all readers will be entertained from page one to the end.
The book also contains a recipe for Seafood Salad, a pattern for the Anniversary Afghan the knitters work on throughout the book, and a full listing of the Cast of Characters noting some of the relationships.