08 May 2013

A Safe and Cozy Place

A guest post by Sally Goldenbaum.

Sally Goldenbaum is the author of the Seaside Knitters Mystery series, along with two dozen published novels. Her most recent mystery, ANGORA ALIBI is available in bookstores now.

When my grandmother was eighty years old and I was ten, she taught me how to play bunko and how to knit. Jane Fitzgerald was an accomplished, amazing woman, but when it came to me, her success rate was a mere 50%. I could play bunko with the best of my eight aunts. Beat the dice off them. But knitting and purling escaped me and left me holding a lapful of yarn holes.

And then I grew up and became a writer.

And some years after that, I found out I was about to be a grandmother…

Grandchildren…. knitting.

And so it all began…

But I didn’t set out to write a ‘knitting mystery’. What I plotted and planned to write was a mystery based on the unlikely friendship of four women of varying ages (30-ish to 80). Smart, funny, hopefully wise women who care about each other and the small seaside town in which they live and love, work and eat delicious seafood. A former lawyer, a retired nonprofit director, a lobster fisherwoman, and a grand dame with a head filled with life’s lessons. Those are the women of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts.

But I needed a way to bring these four women together on a regular basis. Something that would serve as both a place—and as a metaphor for the crimes these women solve with increased regularity.

And that happened to be knitting.

A yarn shop with a room in the back that overlooked the sea and had a fireplace to keep them warm during blustery Sea Harbor winters. It’s there, in that back room, that Nell, Birdie, Izzy and Cass meet on Thursday nights to enjoy Birdie’s fine pinot grigio and Nell’s fantastic seafood pastas. It’s there they sit around the low coffee table with yarn baskets beside them—and peel away the layers of their friends’ and neighbors’ lives, discovering secrets in order to solve crimes and to bring peace
back to the town they love. Just as they scrutinize complicated knitting patterns, pick up stitches, and occasionally pull out a row of mistakes, they carefully construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct the motives and pathways that lead to a murderer.

In ANGORA ALIBI the knitters meet in the back room often, working diligently on a baby blanket for Izzy’s about-to-be born baby. And it's there they share the tensions in Izzy’s doctor’s office. It’s there they comfort a young nurse when her cousin is killed. And it’s there they chart a course that will eventually lead them to the murderer.

Izzy’s Yarn Shop is the knitters’ safe haven, the place where the women of Sea Harbor settle down with their yarn and their needles. It’s the place where they sip their wine or tea and peel away the layers of their friends’ and neighbors’ lives, discovering secrets in order to solve crimes and to bring peace back to the town they love. I would never kill anyone in the Seaside Knitters series with a bamboo knitting needles or a hand-knit noose.

No, the knitting—and the Yarn Studio—is where their friendship is nourished, right along with their sleuthing skills.

A warm, safe, and cozy place.

Click on  this link for Sally's  website, like her facebook page,  or follow her on twitter.

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