Book Review: "A Stitch Before Dying" by Anne Canadeo

LinkSummary from When Maggie Messina, owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is invited to give knitting workshops at a Berkshires spa resort, she manages to negotiate a cottage that fits all five of the Black Sheep for what promises to be a weekend of knitting bliss. But while the friends are expert at counting stitches, they haven’t counted on murder. Guests and staff at the Crystal Lake Inn are as varied as a mixed bag of yarn, but most colorful is certainly the owner, charismatic self-help guru and former psychiatrist Dr. Max Flemming. The doctor may have told all in a revealing autobiography, but from his ex-wife to the widow of his former business partner—both employees at the inn—Max seems mired in shad­ows from his past. And when a killer strikes during a mountaintop retreat, the Black Sheep wonder what the good doctor might be hiding. The police seem to be following the wrong thread. But while Maggie’s workshops have given the knitters a unique view of the tensions at the little inn, can they make sense of a crime that is as complexly stranded as a Fair Isle sweater? When the killer murders a second time, the Black Sheep won­der if they’ve dropped a stitch and put themselves in mortal danger. . . .

This is light and fun cozy mystery. I find it very interesting how murder can be described as fun and light but this genre had totally done that. I have enjoyed the other books in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series because they are written well. Even with a rather large character list, the mystery is still tight and woven fluidly throughout the story. I totally guessed wrong as to who the murderer was and I was quite pleased about it. It's never fun when you guess it too early.

What I liked best about the story was the details. I really like stories that take place in spa resorts because they are always very soothing and peaceful for me. However most books, especially mysteries, tend to skim over the description of the resort and its activities in order to get the other parts of action. In this book however, Canadeo allows the reader to enjoy massages, wraps, facials, and other treatments with the characters. Even after the murders, in order to calm themselves down, they still have time to pamper themselves. In turn, it made me like the story better and enjoy it even more.

The only small thing that bugged me was Lucy's passive aggressive behavior towards her boyfriend. She is mad at him for not doing something that he has no idea about. She never told him about the murders that happened on the trip yet she's angry at him for not calling to ask if she's ok. Even being called out on it doesn't change her attitude. Then it drives me nuts when she gets home and she STILL doesn't tell him how she really feels but continues to get angry and irritated at him. It's eventually resolved but I'm still iffy about someone dating someone when the divorce isn't finalized yet. Her whole attitude really annoyed me.

Knitting fans will probably enjoy this book as there is quite a bit of knitting talk in the story. There's not too much that non knitters will get bored but just enough to drum up interest. I'm hoping there will be more books in this fun series. While this is the third book in the series, it can be read completely as a standalone.

A Stitch Before Dying by Anne Canadeo is published by Gallery Books (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series that I've reviewed

Knit, Purl, Die (Book 2)


  1. Very nice review! I think I'd enjoy both the spa parts as well as the knitting parts. I'll keep a lookout for it.


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