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Knitting Fiction

Miss Marple is, of course, the first knitting sleuth—unless you count Madame Defarge (in Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities.) who seeks revenge, not justice, and secretly encodes into her knitting the names of all the people she plans to have killed.  As Wikipedia reminds us, the Fates used yarn to measure out the life of a man:  death is a casual snip of the scissors.

According to Debbie Stoller, author of Stitch ’n’ Bitch (Workman, 2000), a sassy beginner’s guide to knitting, younger women are taking up the hobby.  No surprise then, that mystery series featuring knitters are on the increase.  The following list is an up-to-date guide including:

  • four knitting mystery series,
  • five non-mystery knitting series, and finally
  • four non-knitting (but related) mystery series–one embroidery, one sewing circle and two needlework.  Got that?  Have fun.

Bretton, Barbara

Chloe Hobbs is the half-human half-sorceress owner of the knitting shop Sticks & Strings in Sugar Maple, Vermont, once a haven for witches fleeing the Salem witchcraft trials and now home to witches, vampires, fairies and trolls.  Chloe meets former Boston homicide cop Luke MacKenzie in the first book, which is a mystery.  The other books are romance with just a hint of mystery.

  • 1.  Casting Spells (Berkley, 2008)
  • 2.  Laced with Magic (Berkley, 2009)
  • 3.  Spun By Sorcery (Berkley, Nov. 2010)
  • 4.  Spells and Stitches (Berkley, 2011)

Canadeo, Anne Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series

The Black Sheep Knitting shop of Plum Harbor, Massachusetts is owned by Maggie Messina who leads her fellow knitters in some amateur detecting.  Maggie is the prime suspect when Amanda Goran, owner of rival knitting shop, the Knitting Nest, is murdered.  Each book contains knitting ideas and recipes.

  • 1.  While My Pretty One Knits (Pocket, 2009).
  • 2.  Knit, Purl, Die (Pocket, 2010)
  • 3.  A Stitch Before Dying (Gallery, 2010)
  • 4.  Till Death Do Us Part (Gallery, 2012)
  • 5.  The Silence of the Llamas (Gallery, 2013)
  • 6.  A Dark and Stormy Knit  (Gallery, 2014)

Goldenbaum, Sally Seaside Knitters Mystery series

Izzy Chambers, proprietor of the Seaside Knitting Studio in Sea Harbor MA, and her friends in the Seaside Knitters group get together to knit and solve mysteries in this series of cozies which include knitting patterns. Former nun Sally Goldenbaum has also written the Queen Bees Quilt Mysteries.

  • 1.  Death by Cashmere (Obsidian, 2008)
  • 2.  Patterns in the Sand (Obsidian, 2009)
  • 3.  Moon Spinners (Obsidian, 2010)
  • 4.  A Holiday Yarn (NAL, 2010)
  • 5.  The Wedding Shawl (NAL, 2011)
  • 6.  Fatal Fleece (NAL, 2012)
  • 7.  Angora Alibi (NAL, 2013)
  • 8.  Murder in Merino  NAL, 2014)

Kruger, Mary Knitting Mystery series

Recently divorced Ariadne Evans is the proud owner of Ariadne’s Web, a knitting shop in a small town on the coast of Massachusetts.  Ari is the prime suspect when longtime customer Edith Perry is found strangled with purple yarn in the shop.  Handsome Detective Joshua Pierce enters Ariadne’s life as a threat, not a friend.

  • 1.  Died in the Wool  (Pocket Books, 2005)
  • 2.  Knit Fast, Die Young  (Pocket, 2007)

Sefton, Maggie (pseud. of Margaret Aunon)   Knitting Mystery Series

CPA Kelly Flynn learns to knit at the House of Lambspun, a knitting shop in Fort Connor, Colorado.  With the help of her knitting club friends, she also solves mysteries.  Sefton has now written eight books in the very popular Knitting Mystery series.  Knitting patterns and recipes add to the appeal of the books.

  • 1.  Knit One, Kill Two (Berkley, 2005)
  • 2.  Needled to Death (Berkley, 2005)
  • 3.  Deadly Yarn, A (Berkley, 2006)
  • 4.  Killer’s Stitch, A (Berkley, 2007)
  • 5.  Dyer Consequences (Berkley, 2008)
  • 6.  Fleece Navidad (Berkley, 2008)
  • 7.  Dropped Dead Stitch (Berkley, 2009)
  • 8.  Skein of the Crime (Berkley, 2010)
  • 9.  Unraveled (Berkley, 2011)
  • 10.  Cast On, Kill Off (Berkley, 2012)
  • 11.  Close Knit Killer (Berkley, 2013)

NON-MYSTERY KNITTING SERIES

Dulong, Terri Cedar Key

At 52, Sydney Webster finds herself suddenly widowed and penniless.  She moves to Cedar Key, Fla., to be near her best friend and decides to open a knitting shop there.  In the second book, Sydney’s daughter Monica takes over the shop.  The following books brings new woman into this supportive group of friends associated with the knitting shop.

  • 1.  Spinning Forward (Center Point, 2009)
  • 2.  Casting About (Kensington, 2010)
  • 3.  Sunrise On Cedar Key (Kensington, 2011)
  • 4.  Postcards From Cedar Key (Kensington, 2012)
  • 5.  Secrets on Cedar Key (Kensington, 2013)

Jacobs, Kate Friday Night Knitting Club

Georgia Walker, single mother of 12-year-old Dakota, opens up Walker and Daughter, a yarn shop in Manhattan.  Georgia comes to rely on the Friday Night Knitting Club to help her get through the ups and downs of life.

  • 1.  Friday Night Knitting Club (Putnam, 2007)
  • 2.  Knit Two (Putnam, 2008)
  • 3.  Knit the Season (Putnam, 2009)

Macomber, Debbie Blossom Street Series

Prolific romance author Debbie Macomber says that knitting is her first love.  Her Blossom Street knitting mysteries star cancer survivor Lydia Goetz, proprietor A Good Yarn. a knitting store in Seattle, WA.  Lydia brings a group of friends together in a knitting club where they knit, discuss their lives and work out their problems and concerns. While Lydia acts as an anchor to the series, she and knitting play only a small part in some of the books.  The books that have most to do with knitting are:

  • Shop on Blossom Street  (Mira, 2004)
  • A Good Yarn  (Mira, 2005)
  • Summer on Blossom Street (Mira, 2009)
  • Starting Now  (Ballantine, 2013)

McNeil, Gil Beach Street Knitting Society

Newly widowed with two young sons, Jo Mackenzie leaves London to take over her Grandmother’s wool shop in a small seaside town. She finds support and comfort in a “Stitch and Bitch” knitting group that meets every week.

  • 1.  The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club (Voice, 2009)
  • 2.  Needles and Pearls (Voice, 2010)
  • 3.  Knit One, Pearl One (Voice, 2011)

Smith, Robert Kimmel

Sadie Shapiro is a resident of the Mount Eden Senior Citizens Hotel in Queens, New York.  When her book on knitting catapults her into sudden fame, she adapts quite nicely to the life of a television talk-show celebrity.  The three Sadie Shapiro novels (not mysteries) are funny, heart-warming and enjoyable reading.

  • 1.  Sadie Shapiro’s Knitting Book (Simon & Schuster, 1973)
  • 2.  Sadie Shapiro in Miami (Simon & Schuster, 1975)
  • 3.  Sadie Shapiro, Matchmaker (Simon & Schuster, 1977)

Pattillo, Beth Sweetgum Knit Lit Society Series

Five women and a rebellious teenager are the members of a unique book discussion group in the sleepy town of Sweetgum, Tennesee:  they knit while they discuss books at their monthly meetings.  Led by a “tough-love” librarian, the women share their insights about books and life.

  • 1.  The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society (Waterbrook, 2008)
  • 2.  The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love (Waterbrook, 2009)

NON-KNITTING (other kinds of needlework) MYSTERY SERIES

Casey, Elizabeth Lynn Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series

Yankee Tori Sinclair is a librarian/sleuth who is happy to have been invited to join South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle.  But when an unflattering secret about the town’s past is revealed by a local author, things turn sour.

  • 1.  Sew Deadly (Berkley, 2009)
  • 2.  Death Threads (Berkley, 2010)
  • 3.  Pinned for Murder (Berkley, 2010)
  • 4.  Deadly Notions (Berkley, 2011)
  • 5.  Dangerous Alterations (Berkley, 2011)
  • 6.  Reap What You Sew (Berkley, 2012)
  • 7.  Let It Sew (Berkley, Nov. 2012)
  • 8.  Remnants of Murder (Berkley, 2013)

    Ferris, Monica (pseud. of Mary Pulver Kufeld)    Needlecraft Mystery Series

    When Betsy Devonshire inherits Crewel World, a yarn and needlework shop in Excelsior, Minnesota, she has to learn all about the craft in a hurry.  As she gets to know the town and its residents, she also develops a talent for sleuthing.  Ferris writes clever plots and well-developed characters and includes needlework patterns.

    • 1.  Crewel World (Berkley, 1999)
    • 2.  Framed in Lace (Berkley, 1999)
    • 3.  Stitch in Time, A (Berkley, 2000)
    • 4.  Unraveled Sleeve (Berkley, 2001)
    • 5.  A Murderous Yarn  (Berkley, 2002)
    • 6.  Hanging by a Thread (Berkley, 2003)
    • 7.  Cutwork (Berkley, 2004)
    • 8.  Crewel Yule (Berkley, 2004)
    • 9.  Embroidered Truths (Berkley, 2005)
    • 10.  Sins and Needles (Berkley, 2006)
    • 11.  Knitting Bones (Berkley, 2008)
    • 12.  Thai Die (Berkley, 2008)
    • 13.  Blackwork (Berkley, 2009)
    • 14.  Buttons and Bones (Berkley, 2010)
    • 15.  Threadbare (Berkley, 2011)
    • 16.  And Then You Dye (Berkley, Dec. 2012)
    • 17.  Drowning Spool (Berkley, 2014)

    Hechtman, Betty Crochet Mystery Series

    Molly Pink doesn’t knit:  she crochets and belongs to a crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, and gets drawn into investigating crimes related to her hobby.  Fortunately crochet crime is just as interesting as knitting crime and the group dynamics are similar.  Hechtman thoughtfully includes a crochet pattern in each of her mysteries.

    • 1.  Hooked on Murder (Berkley,2008)
    • 2.  Dead Men Don’t Crochet (Berkley, 2008)
    • 3.  By Hook or by Crook (Berkley, 2009)
    • 4.  A Stitch in Crime (Berkley,2010)
    • 5.  You Better Not Dye (Berkley, 2010)
    • 6.  Behind the Seams (Berkley, 2011)
    • 7.  If Hooks Could Kill (Berkley, Nov. 2012)
    • 8.  For Better or Worsted (Berkley, 2013)
    • and Yarn to Go (Berkley, 2013) is the first of a new series called the Yarn Retreat series.

    Lee, Amanda (aka Rebecca York)   The Embroidery Mystery Series

    Marcy Singer opens the Seven Year Stitch, an embroidery shop in Tallulah Falls, Oregon.  But when the shop’s previous owner turns up dead in the storage room, she must find the killer before the police arrest her.  As Rebecca York she writes the paranormal Moon Series.

    • 1.  The Quick and the Thread (Signet,2010)
    • 2.  Stitch Me Deadly (Signet, Feb., 2011)
    • 3.  Thread Reckoning (Signet, 2011)
    • 4.  The Long Stitch Good Night (Signet, 2012)
    • 5.  Thread on Arrival (Signet, 2012)
    • 6.  Cross-Stitch Before Dying (Signet, 2013)

    –Janet Husband,  updated 1/25/2014

    Posted June/11/2010

     
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