Knit of the Living Dead
By Peggy Ehrhart
Pub date: 25-Aug-2020
AMBER LOVE 31-JULY-2020 This review is a courtesy provided by NetGalley. To support this site and my other work, please consider being a monthly donor at Patreon.com/amberunmasked; you can also buy my books through Amazon (or ask your local retailer to order you copies). I’m also an Amazon Influencer so you can shop through my lists of recommended products.
When a spooky celebration in Arborville, New Jersey conjures real scares, can Pamela and the Knit and Nibble Club sink their teeth into a bone-chilling mystery that just won’t rest in peace?
Among the countless revelers at the town’s much-anticipated Halloween parade, a woman dressed as Little Bo Peep is the only one making people scream bloody murder. In a scene straight out of a horror movie, the Knit and Nibblers find the nursery rhyme character dead with thick strands of yarn looped around her neck. Pamela and her best friend, Bettina, are set on pinning down who wanted the woman gone forever, but it’ll take every trick they can muster to catch the culprit without becoming the next poor souls to join Little Bo Peep’s dark, endless sleep…
Knitting tips and delicious recipes included!
I was eager to try a cozy set in New Jersey. This is book six in the “Knit and Nibbler” knitting series. I only had one moment of unfamiliarity regarding characters and to whom they were referring near the end of the book. Otherwise, it was easy to get to know each character’s personality and style.
Pamela Patterson is the main sleuthing character as the protagonist; but it’s really her best friend Bettina Fraser who gets nearly as much space who can liaise with the police since she’s a local reporter for a weekly paper, The Arborville Advocate. Pamela’s profession as an assistant editor for Fiber Craft magazine is instrumental in the final twist and reveal.
At first, this book felt like the suspect pool was weak and the alibis held up so theories were such a stretch. Alas, it’s not until 90% through that the clues are put together and I admit I did not decode them earlier. When there’s a cozy theme like knitting, a reader does expect a lot of references to that subject so another mention of a character who may be a knitter or needle artist didn’t necessarily make a suspect. The way the killer tied in to the triple homicide was a cerebral high.
There’s a bit of repetition that I feel could have been scaled back like Pamela’s morning routine of toast and coffee using her fancy china. Literally every morning, Ehrhart detailed the exactness of Pamela’s toast and coffee and china. We get it — she likes routines. I did appreciate the couple of notes about Pamela having some frugality in her life like not being afraid to pick up discarded trash and make it into a treasure for herself.
One thing that showed — and perhaps this is because the setting is in a part of New Jersey across the river from New York City. Although Arborville is a fictitious town, Ehrhart showed how some characters are so invested in their image. One of the knitting club members, Roland, is the only man and he absurdly comes to their Knit and Nibble gatherings in three-piece suits, starched shirts, always wearing and expensive watch, and brings his knitting in a leather briefcase. Even rich people own casual wear. Roland isn’t the only whose image is constantly brought up. In this regard, I felt there was a lot of judgment about people’s looks which I could have done with something reworded to sound like annoying. I haven’t lived out in that part of New Jersey since I was a child so perhaps, it’s all accurate about how people are over there. I know I certainly don’t feel connected to them.
In the end, the identity of the real killer made me a happier reader. There could have been more clues earlier on for the killer. Introducing yet another suspect of an already unrealistic pool of characters at 80% seemed like that had be “the one” that stuck. But it was a superfluous addition adding that particular suspect. Had it been cut and more clues placed about the real killer, I would give it five stars.
Rating: 4 stars