Kelly Flynn has been enjoying motherhood and avoiding murder, but when a friend's life is cut short, she enlists the Lambspun knitters to catch a heartless killer in the last Knitting Mystery novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Only Skein Deep.
Kelly is happily busy with her son, Jack, now a rambunctious four-year-old preschooler. Jack keeps his mom on her toes and drinking all the coffee she can handle at Pete's Porch Café. Kelly's friendly waitress Julie is hoping to become an accountant. She makes sure she keeps Kelly caffeinated and up-to-date on her career progress.
Kelly splits her free time between Pete's and Lambspun, where her fellow knitters love hearing all about Jack's latest exploits. They've also been taking a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about crimes that Kelly had a hand in solving over the years. But the Lambspun crew is horrified when a very present-day murder occurs in their midstand Julie is the victim.
With her sleuthing instincts on full alert, Kelly starts asking questions. The well-liked waitress may have had enemies no one knew about, or she could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kelly and her friends at Lambspun soon learn that the answers are knottier and more shocking than they ever dreamed...
About the Author
Maggie Sefton is the author of the New York Times bestselling Knitting Mysteries, including Only Skein Deep, Knit to Be Tied, Purl Up and Die, and Yarn Over Murder. She has worked in several careers over the years, from a CPA to a real estate broker in the Rocky Mountain West.
Read an Excerpt
"Here you go, Jack," Kelly Flynn said as she unhooked the child car seat restraint straps, then stood, holding open the side door of her sports wagon. The little boy with sandy brown hair had already freed himself from the loosened straps and was scrambling across the seat toward the open door.
Jumping down to the pavement, Jack started to race toward the group of preschool children already on the outdoor playground.
"Hey, hey! Where's my hug?" Kelly called out, then leaned down toward Jack and held her arms open.
Jack turned around, threw both his little arms around Kelly's neck, and gave her a quick hug and a grin. Then he raced off toward the irresistible lure of his friends sliding down the slide, swinging on the swings, and climbing the smaller-sized jungle gym bars.
Kelly grabbed her carryout coffee mug from inside the car, then closed the door and walked over to the preschool parking lot, watching the children play. Another preschool mother strolled over to join her.
"Hi, Kelly," the young woman said.
"Hey there, AnaSofia," Kelly said. "It looks like Jerry's leg has completely recovered. He's barely limping now."
"Oh, he'll be limping a lot once he gets back home after preschool. I told him not to run, but he forgets everything I tell him the minute he gets here and sees his friends," she said with a smile.
Kelly gave a short laugh. "I know exactly what you mean. Jack sees kids on a playground-any playground-and he heads straight for them."
"Do you have one of those smaller gyms in your backyard?" AnaSofia asked. "I was thinking about getting one since Jerry just loves climbing and going down the slide. Will and I decided we'd get a set for the yard."
"Yes, we have one, and Jack really uses it. He's even taken some wooden blocks outside and built things under the slide in the shade. He loves playing out there during the summertime."
"I think you said Jack would be going to kindergarten next year, right?" AnaSofia asked, glancing toward Kelly. "Will and I don't know if we should send Jerry then or not. Some of my friends are holding their boys back for another year so they'll be older. Jerry won't be five until August next year."
"Yes, Jack will be starting kindergarten next year, and he'll be five in May. He can't wait to get there. Jack plays with a friend's little five-year-old girl, Molly, and she is constantly telling Jack what they're doing in kindergarten and showing him things she's made." Kelly laughed softly as she stared into the playground. "Steve and I call her Miss Molly because she loves to organize things. Then show everyone what she's doing and talk a mile a minute."
AnaSofia smiled. "That sounds like one of my neighbor's kids. Brian will talk your ear off whenever he comes over to play and asks questions. He wants to know everything you're doing and why, even if you're just raking leaves in the fall." She laughed out loud.
"That sounds exactly like Miss Molly. Molly is, well, kind of bossy. Jack just ignores a lot of what she's telling him." Kelly chuckled, recalling many of Molly's moments.
A phone's musical ring sounded, playing an old country music song. AnaSofia grabbed it before the male singer started the chorus. "Hey there," she said, giving Kelly a smiling wave as she turned away.
Kelly waved in return and walked back to her no-longer-shiny-new sports wagon. Client accounts were calling.
Retired Fort Connor police detective Burt Parker stood on the sidewalk that bordered the garden patio of KellyÕs favorite local yarn and knitting shop, Lambspun of Colorado. The garden patio was filled with customers clearly enjoying lunch or a late breakfast while seated at caf tables scattered around the picturesque patio under the trees and in the sun.
A take-out cup in his hand, Burt smiled at Kelly as she exited her car. "I've often wondered if you ever miss your sporty little red car, Kelly. I still haven't gotten used to seeing you drive up to the shop in a family car."
Kelly glanced back at the sports wagon. Three years old now and worn in with a growing toddler turned preschooler-definitely a family car.
"No room in the red car for a child seat," Kelly said with a grin. "A cute sporty car was fun but didn't work for a family."
"Well, you're right about that. My daughter and son-in-law switched over when she got pregnant the first time. But that was years ago, and there were no 'sporty wagons' then. There were station wagons with three rows of seats." Burt rounded the border sidewalk that led to the front entry of the knitting shop.
Walking beside her dear friend and mentor, Kelly shifted the briefcase bag on her shoulder. "I remember those. We only had my dad's four-door sedan, because he drove to client sites. But some of my school friends had station wagons, and we all loved sitting in the back seat that faced backward. That way we could wave at other drivers."
"And make faces. At least, that's what my kids did," Burt said with a laugh as they walked up the brick steps leading to Lambspun's front entry.
"I refuse to comment, because it would incriminate me," Kelly teased as she walked through the door that Burt held open.
Kelly stepped inside the entry foyer of Lambspun and paused, as she always did, and glanced around at the wonderland of fibers surrounding her. Color, color, everywhere. Pastel pink and blue baby sweaters with tiny buttons were hanging from the ceiling with tags recommending patterns. A delicate multicolored shawl was draped over the top of a bookcase, which held several popular books on knitting, spinning, weaving, and all manner of fiber arts.
"I see that the Lambspun elves have been busy," Kelly observed as she strolled through the foyer. "There are several new yarns displayed."
"Oh yes. We received a shipment yesterday," Burt said as he followed after her.
Kelly stroked a brilliant turquoise skein and read the label. Fifty percent merino wool and fifty percent silk. Her fingers had grown much more sensitive over the years, Kelly noticed, so that she could detect the presence of silk in an unknown skein simply by touch. "That's a striking color," she said before she slowly wandered into the next room straight ahead.
Kelly called it the central yarn room because it was filled with bins and shelves that lined every wall. Every bin spilled over with skeins and balls of yarn of every color imaginable. Kelly always loved to stroll through this room and touch, touch, touch.
"I'll tell Mimi you're here," Burt said as he walked toward the adjoining room. Kelly called that room the Loom Room because it held the largest weaving loom in the shop. Beyond that was the front room of Lambspun knitting shop with the winding table as well as the counter with the cash register, plus scores of knitting accessories.
A particularly pretty shade of lime green caught her eye-bright as the limes themselves at the nearby City Market. She fingered the yarn and recognized the familiar touch of pure cotton fiber.
Kelly noticed the caf owner's niece, Cassie, seated at the end of the long library table located in the shop's main knitting room. She had a stack of magazines in front of her.
"Hey there, Cassie. How're you doing?" Kelly asked as she set her travel mug on the long wooden table. The surface was almost completely covered by small containers holding stitch markers, clips, small scissors, stray knitting needles and crochet hooks, plastic containers with homemade cookies, and a raised glass-covered cake dish that was usually filled with homemade cupcakes or other tasty temptations.
"Hi, Kelly," Cassie said, looking up with a smile. "Mimi asked me to find an article on cable knitting she saw in one of these magazines. We have several customers interested in learning the technique."
"Cable knitting, huh? That's way over my head, so I certainly won't be any help," Kelly said as she plopped her oversize shoulder bag onto the table and settled into one of the wooden chairs along the side.
"You're so funny, Kelly," Cassie said as she paged through the magazine. "I'm sure you could learn any knitting technique out there if you decided to. But you're happy knitting what you know."
Bingo. Cassie had nailed Kelly's longtime excuse.
"Well, you've got me there, Cassie," Kelly said with a smile then took a sip of coffee. "Truth is, I just don't have time to learn something new and time-consuming. The only time I have to knit nowadays is when I'm here at the shop." She leaned back into the chair and relaxed.
Cassie glanced up. "Yeah, I can't picture Jack letting you knit when you're at home."
Kelly nodded. "You got that right. By the way, have you heard anything about your finals?"
Cassie nodded. "I already got the email from my literature professor, and I finished the class with a score of 92 out of 100. That really helps, because I'm not sure what my grade in chemistry will be. If it's in the 70s range, then that lit grade will help average it out to a B range in the 80s."
"You've got that analyzed for sure," Kelly said with a little laugh. "That brings me back to my university days from years ago. How'd Eric do? Or does he not know yet?"
Cassie leaned back into her chair. "He got an 82 on his anatomy exam and a 70 on his econ. But he's sweating the results of his biochemistry exam."
Kelly made a face. "I don't even want to think about how hard that one would be. I still remember how challenging those university science classes were years ago."
Just then, the sound of fast footsteps echoed as Mimi Shafer Parker walked through the central yarn room into the main knitting room. Her cheerful smile made Mimi's seventy years melt away. Kelly marveled that Mimi never looked her real age.
"Well, hello, Kelly. It's good to see you. How's little Jack doing?"
"Going nonstop as usual," Kelly replied as she relaxed against the chair. "I swear, the only time Jack slows down is when he's sitting on the floor playing with those large building blocks or when he's asleep in his bed at night."
"Sounds like Jack," Cassie remarked as she flipped through the magazine pages.
Mimi laughed her little musical laughter, which went up the scale then down again. "Oh, I can picture little Jack now," she said. "I bet he's really enjoying preschool."
"Oh yes. He loves it. They've got some of those extra large plastic building blocks in one of the playrooms. So the kids get to build all sorts of things. One time when I stopped by to bring the class some fruit juice I bought, Jack and his friend Jerry had built some sort of structure about four feet high. Then, another kid in class knocked it down." Kelly chuckled, remembering.
"Oh, for goodness' sake," Mimi said with a little frown. "Was Jack upset?"
"Not for long. Jack and Jerry yelled at the kid, then ran off into the playground and jumped onto the slide." She took a deep drink of coffee.
"Typical playground drama," Cassie said, reaching for another fiber magazine. "I remember my preschool, years ago. There was one little boy who was a real bully. He used to threaten some of the other kids that he'd beat them up if they didn't give him their snack cookies. Most of them got scared and gave him their cookies. Then one day another kid took a long wooden block and clunked the bully on the back of the head. He burst into tears and never gave anyone any trouble again."
Kelly laughed lightly. "That's a snapshot of real life for sure."
"Well, let's hope there aren't any mean bullies in little Jack's class," Mimi said in her most maternal tone before she walked into the workroom next door.
Cassie glanced to Kelly with a smile. "Mimi is so sweet. She wants to picture everything and everyone in the very best light. Nothing bad ever happening."
Kelly let out a sigh. "I know. Mimi has seen a lot of tragic events in her life. So naturally, she tries to focus on the good things."
Cassie peered at Kelly. "I know about Mimi's son dying in the Poudre Canyon when he was at the university. He took drugs at a party one weekend and walked right over the side of a cliff into the ravine and broke his neck. That is so awful. Mimi must have been devastated."
"I'm sure she was. I didn't know her then. In fact, that was so long ago I was probably still in university myself."
Cassie's brow arched. "You said that Mimi's seen a lot of 'tragic' things in her life. What were the others?"
Kelly hesitated. If she answered Cassie's question honestly, she would be opening a Pandora's box of memories-some happy but others heartbreaking.
Cassie's gaze narrowed, and she smiled a little. "You're thinking about whether to tell me or not. I can see it on your face, Kelly. You're hesitating."
Kelly had to laugh. "Boy, Cassie, you've learned to read me really well. Can't get away with anything, can I?"
"Nope," Cassie said with a grin. "So tell me. You're making me really curious."
Kelly laughed again and looked out into the central yarn room beyond. No one else was around. No customers and no browsers. No Lambspun elves were nearby or close to the knitting table, either. She beckoned Cassie closer. "C'mon over here. I'm going to lower my voice. I don't want anyone else to overhear."
Cassie immediately jumped up from her chair at the end of the library table and swiftly joined Kelly along the side. She pulled out the chair beside Kelly. "Now I can't wait to hear."
Kelly took a long drink of coffee. She figured she was going to need it to deliberately sort through her memories for some of those traumatic events she and her Lambspun friends had witnessed several years ago. Kelly didn't have to search very far. One of those distant memories suddenly appeared before her eyes. The image of a young woman bent over and floating facedown in one of the basement sinks in the Aztec blue dyed water.
Kelly closed her eyes and quietly repeated what happened years before. "A young college girl was killed in the shop basement late one night, years ago. She was drowned in a sink filled with water . . . and Aztec Blue dye."
Cassie's big brown eyes popped wide. "WHAT!" she whispered in a raspy voice. "Who killed her?"
Excerpted from "Dyeing Up Loose Ends"
Copyright © 2018 Maggie Sefton.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to agree with Publishers Weekly. The first 40 pages were a review of the past 15 novels. There was additional reviewing of the past throughout the rest of the book. Add in all the tiresome references to "black gold" which are endlessly repeated in all the books and i was left with more of a novella than novel. The constant use of laughing, chuckling, cackling, etc wasn't a cute device, just annoying. Overall, not this author's best effort.
Not nearly as good as previous 15. The wrap-up was sluggish.
I agree that reviewing all the past cases was a bit of a disappointment for those of us who have read the previous books. By the time the new story started I was rather bored. I was very disappointed in the handling of the mystery, in the previous books there was a stronger resolution from the murderer about their actions. With this one the reason was explained and then dropped and considering the side elements I was left with a feeling of of let down when it was not followed up on.
I really enjoyed this series. Will miss it if this is the last book!
Dyeing Up Loose Ends by Maggie Sefton is the sixteenth tale in A Knitting Mystery series. Kelly Flynn is married to Steve and her son, Jack is now a boisterous four-year-old in Fort Connor, Colorado. Kelly spends her days at Pete’s Porch Café and Lampspun working on her client’s accounts and enjoys evenings with her family and close friends. Julie, one of the waitresses at the café, takes accounting classes at the local university and is currently having some issues with her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends and her money grubbing brother. One morning Jennifer and Pete arrive at the café to find Julie’s car already in the parking lot. It looks like Julie has worked her last shift. They find Julie dead in her car from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kelly and the Lambspun crew have another theory and they set about untangling the clues. In between, the group has a wedding to organize for two special people. Join the Lampspun crew one last time in Dyeing Up Loose Ends. All our favorite characters from A Knitting Mystery series returns in Dyeing Up Loose Ends. The book has a nice, steady pace and a conversational writing style that makes Dyeing Up Loose Ends easy to read. A Knitting Mystery series used to be one of my favorites and I could not wait for each new installment. The last couple of books, though, have felt like they were done by someone else. They lack the same depth and complexity of the earlier books in the series. Most of Dyeing Up Loose Ends is spent reminiscing (I ended up skimming through it since I have read every book in the series and I wonder if someone double checked their information). The various characters share recollections on the cases they have solved as well as discuss how Kelly came to Fort Connor, inherited her various properties, her accounting business, how Kelly met Steve, and how they other characters paired up and married. The murder mystery was simple and there was little investigating. Identifying the guilty party was a snap. There are cozy moments as Kelly spends time with her friends, a lot of eating, time with the children, a wedding, and time spent at Lambspun. There are lovely descriptions of yarn included in the story and I laughed at Carl’s continued determination to catch a squirrel (my dogs have given up). I believe this is the end of A Knitting Mystery series. I just wish the author had decided to go out as she started the series. If, like me, you have read all the books in this series, then you will want to read Dyeing Up Loose Ends (to find out what happens to the various characters). For those who are new to the series, I suggest starting with Knit One, Kill Two.
I was confused as I began reading this book and the friends were reminiscing over past cases they had been involved in solving. I kept waiting for a new story to emerge, but that didn’t happen until about a quarter of the way into the book. Even then, there were many memories rehashed throughout the story. The mystery was good, but not my favorite in this series.
Author Maggie Sefton is a wonderful writer. Her books are always fast reads for me because I can’t seem to stop turning the pages. Over the first half of, DYEING UP LOOSE ENDS, consists of the characters reminiscing. With most of the talk centering on protagonist, Kelly Finn’s past cases. This is a great (if not a bit too long) reminder for longtime readers of the series, and a wonderful way for new readers to catch up on things. The whodunit itself, was short and fast. Maybe a little too so. I would love to have seen Ms. Sefton delve into that storyline a bit more. The victim, Julie, seemed to have had a bright future. DYEING UP LOOSE ENDS will make a nice addition to any Maggie Sefton fan’s collection.