Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I read Died in the Wool and Knit Fast, Die Young by Mary Kruger. I thought these were fun mysteries, not the best, but enjoyable reads. I'd pick up #3 once it's in paperback, but I wouldn't rush out to buy the hardback. In Died in the Wool, Ari discovers the body of tightwad customer Edith Perry in her shop, and she sets out to help the police solve the murder. In the second, Ari is at a wool festival when she stumbles into the well-hated knitting magazine editor as she's dying (stabbed by a knitting needle). With yarn an important clue, Ari is in a better position than the police to find the culprit. Ari is likable enough and Josh, the cop in charge of the case, tries to keep her in the real world. I have a few gripes: there's almost no comic relief (except some extremely bad puns), in each book, there is a second murder that seems really unnecessary (almost as though Kruger got halfway through the first book and thought the death count was too low and so threw in another), and in each, Ari confronts the killer Jessica Fletcher-style. However, unlike a lot of cozy mysteries these days, the writing is very good, the book is well-edited, and I thought the character development was well-done. If you enjoy cozies and/or knitting, chances are you'll like these. I thought they were better written and the characters more fleshed out than in the Maggie Sefton knitting mysteries.

I also read The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood, the third Beatrix Potter mystery by Susan Wittig Albert. These have all been utterly charming. As a bonus, you could easily read these to kids, as there's no adult content of any kind. The first is The Tale of Hill Top Farm in case you're looking to start these. Talking animals, nosy villagers, charming children looking for fairies--if that sounds saccharine and cheesy to you, well, you might not like these. They're gentle tales that evoke Miss Potter's own charming tales for children, and the mysteries take a back seat to the intrigue of the village and of the animal communities. If you're looking for pulse-pounding suspense, this is not the mystery for you. But if spending a couple of hours in the company of a cast of charming characters, both human and otherwise, then light a fire in the fireplace, make some tea, and sit down with one of these novels.


Holly said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the knitting mysteries. They just seemed like they would be right up your alley. And I know you've reviewed the Beatrix Potter mysteries before, but the fact that you said they could be read out loud to kids and involved fairies and other such things....hmm, I may have to take a look at them now. Since Ella is into all things fairy-related these days.

allisonmariecat said...

This one didn't even have a murder in it! A mystery, but no murder. There's no strong language, only the slightest hint of sex (references to a wife producing an heir, really PG flirtations between characters), and while there's some violence (a pretty brutal war between the rats and a big, fierce cat), it's made clear that violence is not the answer to problems. The kids looking for fairies part of this one was sooooo sweet. They each had a problem they needed help with and set out to get help from the fairies, with Beatrix's help. The first two don't have fairies, but they have the talking animals part (the badgers are really funny). Anyway, I already went on and on about these, but they're definitely worth looking into. I can't believe what a great job WIttig Albert did on these.