Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Unraveled

Summary: Spring is in the air of Fort Connor, Colorado—and it’s a time of new beginnings for the House of Lambspun knitters. But for Kelly Flynn, a March chill lingers as she tries to mend her broken heart…and solve a cold-blooded crime.

Kelly’s longtime romance has come apart at the seams. To distract herself, she burrows into her demanding consulting business, hangs out with her knitting pals, and takes on the challenge of knitting a scarf from gorgeous unraveled silken sari yarn.
When Kelly accompanies her friend Jennifer to meet with Jen’s new real estate client, the two women discover him shot in his own home. The client, Fred Turner, had a reputation for being difficult at best, unscrupulous at worst, and had a long list of enemies—from his estranged wife to bitter business associates. Unraveling the tangle of clues may prove to be Kelly’s greatest challenge yet. But it’s the only way to catch a killer who’s anything but sorry… -- Berkley Prime Crime

I have been tempted to pick up one of Maggie Sefton's knitting mysteries for some time now, and I finally took the plunge with UNRAVELED. UNRAVELED is ninth book in this cozy series; and while I don't like starting series in the middle, I've realized that I'd miss out on a lot of cute books if I didn't. Heck, I can barely keep up with my reading wishlist as it is. I can't even imagine trying to play catch up too!

UNRAVELED tells the story of Kelly Flynn an accountant who also likes to get involved in solving murders. Since this is a fairly long-running series, it should be obvious that she's had some success. In this novel, Kelly is still reeling from the break-up with her Steve, but she's trying to put her past behind her. It seems like she is throwing herself into her work (and the occasional scarf!) When she and her friend Jennifer stumble upon the dead body of a conniving business man, Kelly can't help but get involved.

Since I enjoy cozies and knitting, I figured UNRAVELED would be right up my alley and perfect to feature as part of Mystery Mondays. And for the most part, I did like this book and its characters. However, I think in the case of UNRAVELED, I did miss out by starting with the ninth book in the series. I appreciated that the author included a character list at the beginning of the story because I did use it for the first few chapters -- there were a lot of characters to keep straight -- but I definitely felt left out when it came to the characters and their past relationships.

Having said that, I think the author did an overall pretty good job of explaining past events. UNRAVELED definitely works as a stand-alone novel -- especially when it comes to the mystery aspect. In fact, this is pretty rare for a cozy as far as I'm concerned, but I enjoyed the mystery parts of this novel more than the ones about the setting and the characters. I just felt as if I was a little late to the party and needed to have a better understanding of the characters to really feel vested in the story.

I can see why Ms. Sefton's knitting series has been so successful, though. The setting of Fort Connor, Colorado is a good one, and I loved all of the gorgeous descriptions of the land. The story took place in early spring and I liked how the author demonstrated the crazy weather patterns for this area, as well as its scenic beauty.

In addition, I liked many of the characters even though I had a hard time keeping everyone straight. I really thought Kelly was a wonderful amateur sleuth, and I liked her ex Steve as well as Kelly's good friends. I especially liked the owners of the knitting shop and the two spinster sisters who made occasional appearances. I know if I had read more of the earlier books, I'd really appreciate these people and their close-knit community.

Finally, I appreciated that there was a knitting pattern for a cute summer tee-shirt. I don't know that I'm quite ready to knit a tee, but I liked the idea that one of the characters was making it during the story and that the author included the pattern. I also liked that there was a recipe in the back for a decadent chocolate cake that the characters were eating. Now this, I could make!

Overall, I enjoyed UNRAVELED and love the premise of this cozy series. I just wish I had read more of the earlier books so I could have had a better idea about the dynamics between the characters.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy! your read.

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a cute series - I'll try to start from the beginning if I find the time to explore it.