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Knit One, Kill Two
by Maggie Sefton
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I adore mysteries. In fact, were it not for my equally strong adoration of yarn and knitting, I'd probably spend all my free time curled up with a good whodunnit.

For me, knitting and mysteries are as logical a pairing as, say, whipped cream and chocolate, jelly and peanut butter, or maple syrup on steaming hot pancakes. Knitting affords peaceful, deep contemplation.

When done in public, knitting is the perfect innocuous screen behind which you can keenly observe everything. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple drew many of her wisest conclusions over her knitting.

Maggie Sefton has blended my two passions within her new book, Knit One, Kill Two. The first in a series, it sets an intriguing mystery within a rich, colorful, tactile knitterly context.

Sefton's chatty writing style is easy to follow. The book is almost devoid of gore, opting instead for an underlying tension that kept me near—although not at—the edge of my seat.

The Heroine
The book centers around Kelly, a spunky heroine who works as an accountant in Washington, D.C. and prefers a softball and bat to yarn and needles...or so she thinks.

Everything grinds to a halt when her aunt—a surrogate mother and expert knitter—is suddenly killed during a home robbery gone awry. Kelly returns home to Northern Colorado to settle her aunt's affairs.

After just a few days back home, however, Kelly begins to suspect that her aunt's death was no accident. With the police convinced they have the right suspect in custody, Maggie sets out to solve the mystery herself.

Send in the Yarn
Every good mystery has a strong cast of supporting characters, and Sefton hasn't skimped here. Kelly soon finds herself surrounded by a trusted crew of new friends with diverse skills and experience, all of which come in handy at some point in the investigation.

Kelly and her friends congregate at the yarn store located across the street from Kelly's aunt's house, in what was once their family homestead. (This store is modeled after Lambspun of Colorado.)

While we watch her unravel the mystery of her aunt's death, we also watch Kelly fall prey to the seductive charms of the yarn that surrounds her. She starts with clumsy, timid stitches ("You're strangling the wool, dear!" one character told her) and, by the time the mystery is solved, is ready to tackle her first sweater.

Sefton details Kelly's thoughts so clearly because she, herself, is also a recent knitting convert. She fell under yarn's spell while researching a non-fiction article about knitters in 2003. And like her heroine, Sefton also was trained as an accountant, lived many years in the Washington, D.C. area before moving to Colorado, and has a charming and occasionally mischievous dog named Carl.

Swirling Sub-Plots
Sefton has given this book several plot angles—some of which hint at playing an essential part in the mystery.

When not strangling the wool, Kelly swills endless pots of French roast (did I mention Lambspun also has an adjacent café?), digs up unexpected skeletons in several people's pasts, fends off aggressive land developers, and rejects the unflagging advances of a handsome hero named Steve.

Will Kelly succumb to Steve's attentions? Will she have the fortitude to complete that first sweater? And what plot of intrigue will she stumble into next?

For answers to those questions, we'll have to wait until Sefton's next book—Needled to Death—which is due out in December 2005.
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