I’m always looking for good authors. I especially like mystery writers who write series. So I was intrigued by Sally Goldenbaum‘s Seaside Knitters mystery series. I like the ocean. I like knitting. I like mysteries – it seems like this series would be a natural.
The series is set in the small town of Sea Harbor Massachusetts. A knitting shop is the ostensible center of the series and the group who solves the mysteries are part of the Thursday evening knitting group, which meets every week for dinner and knitting. Nell, Izzy, Birdie and Cass are the four knitters who work together to solve the mysteries and they spend a lot of time together – getting together almost every day. Nell is the main character in the books, poking her nose into everyone’s business.
I have read two of the books in the series: Death by Cashmere and Patterns in the Sand. The murders in both of them were solved, of course, by the Seaside Knitters. The books are long on atmosphere – you can really get the feel of a small seaside town – but short on sensible plot. In both books the police are too eager to close the murders to actually do any investigating. In both books, the police want the murderer to be someone from out of town and don’t spend much time checking phone or financial records or looking for obvious motives for murder. In both books the Seaside Knitters don’t have a clue until a second murder is committed that ties up both murders for the police and opens new avenues of exploration for the Knitters.
I wanted to like the series, but don’t think I will be reading any more of the books. I like mysteries that treat the police as intelligent people who are careful about investigating crimes. But the police are peripheral in these stories and the Knitters are the crime solvers. But it just doesn’t work for me – I am not convinced that anything in these books is the way life (or death) works anywhere.