"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." (James Bryce)

Friday, June 8, 2012

A FATAL FLEECE (Sally Goldenbaum)

While Sally Goldenbaum's Seaside Knitter mysteries are wonderful cozies, they are mostly about close friendship and community.  Nell, Ben, Izzy, Sam, Birdie, Cass, and the rest are, in many respects, too good to be true:  They exercise faithfully, eat abundantly without ever gaining weight, and they age gracefully without worrying about excessive sun exposure, senior moments, or retirement funds.  You will not find an edgy mystery here, but you will find an intriguing group of people who support and love each other while relentlessly investigating crimes against cherished friends and neighbors.  I would consider this series to be inspirational in tone.

Francis Finnegan is an eccentric old man who owns a piece of prime Sea Harbor real estate.  Since the death of his beloved wife, Moira, he has let his beachfront property become unkempt and overgrown and has developed a reputation for being surly and uncooperative, especially when it comes to those who propose developing his land.  Trespassers and potential buyers are not welcome.  His contentious relationships with his adopted daughter, Beverly, and Sea Harbor Councilwoman Beatrice Scaglia add to the tension, and when Finn, as he is called, is found dead on his beloved property there are numerous suspects to consider, even lobster woman Cass, who is his unexpected heir.  Why was Beverly cut out of the will?  Why was Finn so determined to keep people off of his land?  What is  Birdie's visiting brother-in-law, Nick Marietti, up to and why was he seen arguing with Finn just before he was killed? There are some interesting and unexpected twists and turns here that blend so seamlessly into the plot that most readers would think, "Of course!  That makes sense!" without ever having suspected the truth ahead of time.

If you are in the mood for a gentle mystery, this one might be for you.  This time around, for me, the characters in this series just seemed TOO perfect, their lives TOO well-ordered and their relationships TOO supportive.  However, Goldenbaum creates a wonderful sense of place in Sea Harbor and the sleuthing that takes place is clever and subtle.  I actually would love to live there and know these people, especially if I were invited to the Friday night barbecues on Ben and Nell's deck! You don't have to be a knitter to enjoy reading this one.

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