Last year, I participated in the Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Challenge. If you missed my earlier posts about the challenge, I only needed to read 10 cozy mysteries – but they all needed to be from different sub-genres. For the most part that wasn’t too difficult, but one of the ones that I had to dig for was the crafts or hobbies sub-genre. Thankfully, I managed to find a copy of While My Pretty One Knits a week or so before the end of December!
While My Pretty One Knits is the first in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series written by Anne Canadeo. Like most cozies, it’s set in a small town and features a handful of characters who I imagine will be central to the rest of the series. The general gist of the story is that a rival knitting shop owner turns up murdered; and of course the main suspect is the proprietor of the Black Sheep.
The first thing I’ll say is that I was really thrown off by who the main character was. Turns out, it’s not Maggie, the shop owner – even though the first chapter sets it up to think she is. Nope, it’s Lucy, who isn’t even mentioned in the first chapter. Or if she is, it was so brief I didn’t remember it. I spent half of the second chapter trying to figure out who in the world she was. (A friend and fellow knitter, apparently.)
That kind of set the stage for the rest of the book. As a very baby knitter, I enjoyed some of the knitting references – but they were few and far between, and didn’t make me WANT to knit. And that’s a big deal. When you read a cozy, a good cozy, you should be totally engrossed in the world. You should WANT there to be wish-granting-witches, or talking ghost dogs, or delicious bread shops. You shouldn’t be totally disinterested in the theme, because then why are you reading the book? I picked up While My Pretty One Knits because I enjoy knitting – I’m not so sure any of the characters in the book actually did.
And the story was utterly predictable and boring.
Such a shame, really – anyone know any good knitting stories?
Paperback: 249 pages Published: May 2009 by Gallery Books Source: Purchased
While My Pretty One Knits on Goodreads
The Black Sheep Knitters — Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne, and Phoebe — meet once a week without fail, sharing the varied and colorful skeins of their lives as much as knitting tips, recipes, and small-town gossip, and creating an intricate, durable pattern of friendship. Now a shocking murder has peaceful Plum Harbor, Massachusetts, in knots — and the Black Sheep women must herd together to protect one of their own from a scandalous frame-up.
Maggie Messina, beloved owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is thrilled to be hosting a workshop for one of her former students, now a celebrity in the knitting world. But the celebration is upstaged when Amanda Goran, the owner of the rival Knitting Nest, is found dead in her shop on the other side of town.
Maggie had reasons to dislike Amanda, a thorn in her side ever since Maggie’s shop surpassed Amanda’s in popularity. Then again, it wasn’t hard to dislike Amanda — the contentious woman, whose marriage was on the rocks, seemed to specialize in causing misery all over town. But the pointed evidence has a detective casting a suspicious eye on Maggie. She may be a whiz at knitting, but can she keep the police from needling her before her shop, her reputation, and her circle of friends become unraveled?