Visiting Dolly’s cozy corner is like coming home in a way. She and I have been sharing books and lives for years now. Thank you for inviting me back.
And in the beginning there was . . .
The release of the tenth seaside knitters mystery this month (Trimmed with Murder) has me feeling nostalgic (TEN books. That means ten plus years of hanging out with Nell, Izzy, Cass and Birdie—ten years of friendship with these ladies, ten years of following them around and asking them to share their lives with me).
It has me thinking about the very beginning of the series when I had nothing but a vague idea that I wanted to write a mystery series revolving around four smart, curious women of different ages, four women with four unique personalities—just like the wonderful readers who have come to share them with me.
Here’s how they came about. I sat down in front of a blank computer screen and began writing four essays about the women I’d like to have as friends. I decided on an age span that I found interesting—30s, 40s—60 and Birdie, who is Sea Harbor’s wise and wonderful grande dame, somewhere around 80. The essays included things that might never appear in the books, but allowed me entry into their lives, telling me where they were born, went to school, what they studied, their first romantic encounters, first jobs. Astrological signs. Hobbies and idiosyncrasies.
- Izzy and Nell came from the Midwest where I now live. Izzy headed to Boston to college, just as my daughter did. Nell loves to cook (me, too).
- Birdie is an easterner who has always lived in the Cape Ann area, but she was actually inspired by a Midwestern woman, a mentor of mine— a wonderful woman who taught me philosophy years ago, who marched at Selma and who is an infinitely wise and wonderful friend.
- And Cass, my favorite lobsterwoman, was inspired by several books I read about a lobsterwoman who was raised in New England and worked on Cape Ann. I loved the idea of a woman overseeing crusty fishermen – and then sitting in Izzy’s back room and learning how to knit.
And the place? That was easy. My daughter lives on Cape Ann, and about the time I was developing the series, she was beginning her family. Grandchildren on Cape Ann. A place I would want to visit often.
- Sea Harbor, the seaside knitters’ town, is culled from all that I love about Cape Ann and Boston’s North Shore. Charming New England villages, wonderful little stores and restaurants, and interesting personalities and nationalities forming communities that live and love and work together.
Ten years. Happy anniversary Nell, Izzy, Cass, and Birdie. Those long-ago essays were a start, and in each book, I hope to delve a little deeper into their lives, finding out what makes each of them the woman she has become. In TRIMMED WITH MURDER we learn a little more about Izzy’s family. I hope you enjoy meeting Charlie….
Until next time, thank you for joining me in this wonderful Cozy Corner. And thank you Dear Dolly.
About The Author
Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the birth of her first grandchild and the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl.
Trimmed with Murder:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (November 3, 2015)
New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02B2Y
In this holiday yarn from the USA Today bestselling author of A Finely Knit Murder, all Izzy Chambers Perry wants for Christmas is to keep her brother out of jail….
In Sea Harbor, the holidays mean cozy fires, festive carols, and soft skeins of yarn waiting to become hats and sweaters and scarves. And this year, Izzy and the other Seaside Knitters are also knitting tiny ornaments to decorate a tree for the first annual tree-trimming contest.
Their holiday cheer is multiplied when Izzy’s younger brother, Charlie Chambers, unexpectedly arrives to volunteer at a local clinic. He brings with him outspoken hitchhiker Amber Hanson, who is returning to Sea Harbor to claim an inheritance. She quickly reacquaints herself with the area—and forms an unlikely friendship with Charlie. But their bond is shattered when her body is found beneath the undecorated trees on the Harbor Green.
Charlie is a suspect in the murder, so Izzy and her fellow Knitters step in to uncover the truth. Their journey takes them into Charlie’s past and tests their fierce love for him. But it’s only by peeling away long-buried secrets that they can hope to restore joy to the season and enjoy the shining lights of the newly decorated trees….
I have been looking forward to this book since I finished A Finely Knit Murder in the Spring and it is even better than I had hoped!
Charlie Chambers, Izzy’s brother, returns to Sea Harbor very unexpectedly and just happens to pick up Amber Hanson along the way. Charlie is there to start work at a free clinic and Amber has some papers to sign regarding an inheritance. They become fast friends knowing that neither of them plans to stay in town for long. Sadly Amber’s visit is cut short when she is found dead on the Harbor Green. Charlie may have been the last person to see her alive and quickly becomes the prime suspect. So Izzy and the Seaside Knitters are plowing through the clues to prove his innocence. They are also hoping he stays in Sea Harbor well past the holidays.
Curl up in front of the fire with a class of wine and enjoy the latest Seaside Knitters mystery. I sure did.
Sally Goldenbaum breathes such life into these characters it is hard to remember they are not real. Izzy, Nell, Cass and Birdie are the Seaside Knitters. They meet each week at Izzy’s shop to work on their projects, enjoy some delicious food and discuss everything from knitting to families and sometimes even murder. They also gather at least once a week at Nell’s along with their families and friends for a potluck dinner and some adult beverages. The current crime is also a hot topic. After 10 years we have met so many wonderful characters. I have given up trying to choose a favorite because I love them all.
It was so easy to envision Sea Harbor at Christmastime. The annual tree decorating contest is an awesome idea. All the trees recently planted on the Harbor Green and each business or group trimming with specially made ornaments all to raise money for charity.
Several plotlines, Charlie’s return after so many years, Amber’s life that was tear jerking as we came to know more and more, the holiday events. They all converge when Amber is murdered. The killer strikes several chapters into the story so Amber has found her way into our hearts. Charlie’s pain at the loss was just so sad.
Like all the earlier installments friendship is the main theme of this book. The people we meet in these stories are one big family. The celebrate the highs and are so supportive in the lows. There are shoulders to cry on, hugs are passed out freely and ears are always open to listen. Great food and drink and yarn entangles them altogether. And vicariously we get to go along for the ride.
It has been an amazing 10 books and I truly can’t wait for trip #11.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”