A Dark and Stormy Knit
Curiosity Killed the Cat
Knitting graffiti, in Plum Harbor? Maggie Messina doubts it could ever happen in her quiet village. Until the new parking meters on Main Street are found covered with cat-faced cozies. In the dark of night, the mysterious Knit Kats have struck again! The infamous gang of stitching graffiti artists are totally harmless, and their pranks all in good fun. Or so Maggie and her friends think. Until a yarn-covered corpse is discovered a few days later—the tangles identical to Knit Kat handiwork.
These threads of evidence should be easy to follow. But the clever Knit Kats hide behind a website and secret identities. The murderer could be anyone. A familiar face in town, even a copy Kat. But when Maggie’s assistant, Phoebe, becomes the prime suspect, the knitting friends know the police have dropped a few stitches. With no time to rest on their needles, the Black Sheep set out to unmask the crafty killer. No simple task, when all Knit Kats look the same in the dark.
When a knitting graffiti group called the Knit Kats decides to protest Plum Harbor’s new parking meters by covering them with handmade cozies, Maggie Messina’s mildly amused; the meters are a pain in the butt, and who knows – maybe the stunt will bring increased business to her shop. But then a young college student is found dead, her body wrapped in an afghan knitted in the Knit Kat’s signature style, and Maggie’s forced to wonder if the unconventional activists have graduated from harmless pranks to homicide…
A Dark and Stormy Knit is the sixth of Anne Canadeo’s Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries. It’s the first I’ve read in the series, but I can guarantee it won’t be the last. What I appreciate most about A Dark and Stormy Knit is that while it’s a traditional whodunit with a knitting theme, it’s not an overly precious read. The trappings are cozy, yes, but Canadeo’s story’s got a bit of an edge to it. There’s action, there’s tension, there’s danger, and Canadeo doesn’t treat death as a punch line; when Maggie’s assistant Phoebe discovers the corpse of somebody she knows, it shakes her to the core, and it continues to affect her for the rest of the book. Add to all that a mystery that’s twisty, turny, and intelligently crafted, and you have a book much more nuanced and complex than its punny title and pastel-hued cover might suggest.
My only real complaint about Canadeo’s tale is the manner in which she chooses to tell it. A Dark and Stormy Knit is written in the third-person, and the first two-thirds are told exclusively from Maggie’s point of view. This makes sense, seeing as Maggie is the series protagonist. But then, with no preamble, Canadeo starts randomly dropping in scenes (not entire chapters, mind you – just individual scenes, and probably only three or four in total) told from Phoebe’s point of view. The scenes are exciting and add to the story, Phoebe makes for a more likable and engaging narrator than the stodgy and straight-laced Maggie, and if Canadeo had adopted this style right from the very beginning then I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. As it stands, though, the change-ups are both confusing and distracting and serve to interrupt the flow of an otherwise quickly paced and smoothly written book.
Reviewed by Kat