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KRAL: Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton

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Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton (Berkley, 2005)

 

The following questions are a springboard for discussion about our first KRAL (Knitting-Read-A-Long). Note: there is no SPOILER ALERT, so if you haven’t read the book yet, STOP HERE! You can use these questions to frame your thoughts, or introduce your own for discussion. Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to liking or not liking a book, but I am going to ask that you explain why you feel about it as you do. Most importantly, let’s have fun!!

 

1. The death of Aunt Helen is crucial in two ways: she is the murder victim that initiates the actions of the novel, but it is her relationships with the various people at the knitting store that causes them to instantly ‘adopt’ Kelly as one of their own. Was Helen’s character developed enough to make this believable or make her real to you, and did you find the ‘adoption’ of Kelly as everyone’s close, good friend at their first meeting believable?

 

2. Did you find the murders and motives believable? Did you guess who the murderer was?

 

3. Sefton created a very visual and tactile explosion of color and touch to describe Kelly’s first visit to the yarn shop. Her senses continued to be overwhelmed by yarn every time she entered the store. Have you ever experienced a similar sensory overload with regard to yarn? Would a non-knitting or non-crocheting reader appreciate and understand this, or did Sefton overdo this for the average ‘civilian’ reader?

 

4. Were the knitting descriptions accurate? (I’m a combination reader, so it made no sense to me!) What did you think when Mimi told Kelly to tie knots when done weaving in her ends?

 

5. Do you think Kelly drinks too much coffee?

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1. I didn’t think Helen’s character was as well developed as I would have liked, although it was clear she was a kind person and well-liked by her friends. While I can see Helen’s friends feeling sympathy for Kelly and wanting to help her clean her aunt’s house, I found the instant best friends aspect a little hard to swallow. This was especially true when Kelly, an accountant, openly shared her aunt’s financial information with people who were, in essence, strangers to her and who might have been the murderer.

 

2. I read a lot of tacky mysteries, so as soon as Gretsky’s character was introduced, I was suspicious. When we found out that Helen had given up a child for adoption, murderer and motive were pretty clear to me. But I may be a ringer here, since I read so many mysteries.

 

3. I enjoyed the first description of Kelly’s reaction to the yarn shop, because I can readily see someone who’s never had any experience with yarn or fabric being overwhelmed by color and texture. But I confess, I got little tired of her getting carried away by yarn every time she went into the shop. I know, I know, it’s a knitting mystery, but I thought it was a little overdone.

 

4. Well, my answer is in the question—I knit combination, so the verbal description of some of her lessons was confusing, but not distracting. I couldn’t believe Mimi told her to tie knots. I thought that was a no-no that no self-respecting knitter would do.

 

5. Yes! Someone needs to introduce her to decaf. And Carl needs a 5-foot fence, not a 3-foot fence, to be safe.

 

I enjoyed the novel, although there were a few problems. There were some typographical and grammatical issues a good editor would have addressed. For instance, I was about to scream if I read the word “resonated” again. Everything resonated with Kelly—the murder, danger, coffee, even saying she might move to Colorado—I wanted another verb!

 

I found the phone call about the framed quilt to Gretsky’s office a very weak point. His assistant should never, ever have taken a business call (or any call, for that matter) on the speakerphone. How unprofessional. Too sloppy for an office run by as status-conscious a person as Gretsky. I know that’s central to Kelly discovering the murderer, but why not have her overhear the receptionist tell the assistant about it while she’s waiting for the elevator, thereby having her race against time to get it before the assistant or Gretsky did? I also wasn’t convinced that he would take it in the first place. Why? How did he recognize that it was important to Helen? Would it have had any meaning to him, as it wasn’t his baby hair in the quilt or anything with his past? Wouldn’t it have served as a visual reminder that his mother ‘rejected’ him (in his words), and that he’d killed her?

 

I couldn’t believe Lizzie could remember Lawrence Chambers mooning over Helen in such detail fifty years after the fact. I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Maybe I need some gingko biloba. And I’m not sure I’d want my accounting firm sending irreplaceable papers across the country so Kelly could telecommute. Sure, I telecommute all the time via my two jobs’ VPN systems, so that’s believable, but my precious tax forms? And why didn’t Lt. Morrison take more seriously the discovery that an item was stolen from the crime scene, even if he already thought he had the murderer? Any good police detective would instantly recognize that as a possible hole for a defense attorney and that he therefore needed to check it out.

 

Strong points for me: I loved that the physical description of Kelly was kept to a minimum. Brunette, that’s it. I couldn’t even find her age when I searched for it. So many novels reiterate how beautiful the heroine is, while in Kelly, Sefton has created a likeable, average woman who could be in the cubicle next door or the same apartment building as the reader, and I really liked that. And I also really liked her being sensible about trapping the murderer—she set it up in a safe place, where her friends could help her, rather than confronting him in a dark alley so we could have him try to kill her, too. Much more sensible and realistic, because I sure wouldn’t tackle a possible murderer without someone there to help me, and I’m one of those people who’ll yell at the movie screen “Don’t go in there!” when our heroine does something obviously dumb.

 

 

 

I'm looking forward to the next one in the series (if that's where we're going). Patty

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I got the first 3 novels of this series for my Christmas present and I read them all in 4 days. I really enjoyed them - esp as I was beginning to knit. I think your answers were very well written and thought out. I'm going to make mine brief - too many distractions walking around the house getting into trouble! :)

 

1) I would have liked to know a bit more about Helen - and I did think the other folks were a bit quick to take to Kelly - but I can sort of see that. I get my hair cut once a year and usually go to the folks that do my Mom's hair b/c they know me thru her. I also think that the length of the book lead to the brevity of setting up the friendships.

 

2) Somewhat believable - I'll admit I was probably enjoying the yarn store descriptions waaaaay too much! I didn't guess the murderer right off - but it didn't take too long.

 

3) I think this probably reflected the author's experience in a yarn store. Frankly, I've not been to one where I felt quite like the description in the book - had a few close experiences in a yarn store in Raleigh and once in a Hobby Lobby (Icing, anyone?)

 

4) The knitting descriptions actually helped me - esp the part about twisting while knitting in the round. And the fact that she kept pulling it out if it was really messed up. I was a bit puzzled about the knots - knitters really don't do that, right?

 

5) DECAF - or better yet, HOT TEA!! :D

 

Ditto the part about the fence - although I had neighbors like that. I think they rather enjoyed the mischief the dog enjoyed when he got out!

 

I think I'll have to reread them all (what a good idea!) to continue....

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Just started reading this today. On Chapter 5.

 

So far.....I think that the way Kelly was adopted into the circle was a bit quick but having come from a small town I could see where this would happen. But I really couldn't see a person like Kelly being so quick to be so open with everyone.

 

As for the description of her first experience of walking into the yarn shop.....been there - done that! Pulse race, all the colors and textures become a blur, palms get sweaty, mouth goes dry and mind starts racing thinking of all the things I could do with each and every one of those skeins :hook....yes, Hi, My name is Angela and I'm a yarn addict :yes

 

Will add more as I read farther :book

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Okay I read this book and I loved it. I read all the comments you have about the but and I realize I have a very simple mind and I did not give a thought to any of the thing you have made comments about. I run into people all the time who will give you their life history if you ask them a simple question and smile. I can't wait for another book to come out in the series. I am not that bright and I just like to be entertained when I read

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Theresa, you have a good attitude, just read and enjoy. There are some books I feel that way about, the story gets me involved or I like one character a lot, so I don't care about any negatives.

but unfortunately I don't find this book to be one of those, for me.

 

The first negative that hit me was the description of "older" women, gray-haired matrons I beleive was the term. I realize matron is not necessarily a put-down, but it seems like such a pigeonhole. I think the character of Lizzie is just ridiculous, supposed to be laughed at, and that is annoying.

 

Ok, to answer the discussion questions.

1. Helen's character is barely there. I don't find the immediate closeness between Kelly and the knitting group believable. Sounds like Kelly has been starved for friendship and they have just been waiting for her to appear.

 

2. Have to admit i skipped ahead and am reading through now. When both Gretzky and Curt are introduced, either could be a suspect, as well as Martha, and Chambers the lawyer initially.

 

3. I don't find the descriptions of the yarn shop overdone, at least not by the point I am at, 2/3 through the book. A really good yarn shop does pretty much overwhelm me with beauty:c9 But it makes me wonder, if Kelly responds that way, why did she always rebuff Helen's attempts to teach her to knit?

 

4. Again, where I have read to, Kelly just learned to purl, so I haven't read the sweater lessons yet. So far the descriptions are kind of vague and seems to me that is intentional, so that whether you knit English or Continental, you will feel familiar with the conversation. the part about dividing the plies of yarn and weaving then tying a knot seems quite odd to me. I might tie a tiny knot at the last stitch then weave ends in. I've never divided the plies--do you all do that?

 

5. the coffee thing is realistic for some people I know who are addicted, but it got a little repetitive.

 

I haven't noticed the word resonated yet, but the use of the word "within" is repetitive....guilt feelings stirred within etc. Another cliche I don't care much for is the antagonism Kelly feels for Steve and wants to hold on to, yet it's obvious as soon as he is introduced that they will end up together (my reason for skipping ahead was to see if they walk into the sunset together on the last page).

 

I think I am going to just skim the rest of it, and read the knitting parts. I do have Needled to Death, the second book, checked out also, so I will shortly be ready to start "skimming" it too:lol

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I enjoyed the book and started the second one. They are fast, entertaining reads. I do have one teeny-tiny peeve-the characters' names are similar enough to confuse me. Chet, Carl, Curt, Burt. Lizzie, Lisa, there's a Lucy in book #4. Megan, Mimi, Martha.

At least in book 2, she stops "resonating" but is still guzzling gallons of coffee.

I think the descriptions of beginning knitting and the mistakes she makes are realistic, but might bore readers who don't knit, thereby limiting her audience.

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I just like to be entertained when I read

 

Me too! But since the point of a discussion group/book club is to discuss, we have to discuss something, don't we? :lol

 

magiccrochetfan, I never thought of it before, but you're right--Kelly says her aunt took her into the yarn shop when she had visited in the past, but never was interested in knitting and in fact, resisted her aunt's efforts to teach her. Guilt over the loss of her aunt? Grief response? I'd buy either as a reason to try to knit after her aunt's death, but the author never has Kelly thinking about this as she's struggling to learn to knit. I did enjoy her fighting with the yarn, though, and the description of how when she relaxed, so did her knitting. And the reason I tried to find out Kelly's age was because I had the same reaction to her initial dislike of Steve. So he reminds you of your college boyfriend, the Slime? How many years ago was that? I think Kelly must be around 30 (if her aunt was 68, that would put her father in his sixties probably when he died, or perhaps a little younger or older, which was 3 or so years before this story takes place), so carrying around that kind of intense dislike for a past beau seems a little too obsessive for me.

 

But like I said, I like the book and I like Kelly. Patty

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Are we ready to start discussing the second book? I've read it and should talk about it before I forget details. Patty asks good questions to get us thinking.

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Finished it today. Must admit it wasn't a real page burner but entertaining enough.

 

I figured Gretzky was the baby and the killer right away and I figured Chambers was the father.

 

I didn't buy the comparing Steve to "Slime" either. I figured Kelly has to be around 30. And she hasn't dated or had a boyfriend in how many years?????

 

I thought the whole "Getting Gretzky to confess" scheme was a bit too tidy and lame.

 

Kelly loves her coffee but I have to confess I totally understand since I'm a 12 cup pot a day person myself.:coffee

 

I have the next book and am starting to :book it tomorrow so I hope that is the next one we are discussing :ccompute

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You kniw for some people it might be really hard to get back out in the datting world. I have been divoreced for almost 10 years and I rarely date. It is just hard to put yourself out their and make the effort. I think Maggie has another book in this series coming out in the spring not sure about this fact. I wish I could meet a group of people where I live that loves to knit and crochet and be great friends. So goofy I know:blush I really like books where I can figure out who did the deed.:yes

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I just finished the first book today. Although I enjoyed it, I did get a little irritated at the constant coffee references. It's like Kelly did nothing but drink coffee 24/7!

 

I think she was brought into the circle of knitters quite rapidly, but being that they all knew her aunt, I found it believable enough. What I found rather unbelievable was that she suddenly got interested in knitting, when her aunt never was able to spark her interest.

 

While there isn't a LYS here, just Joann-type stores, I think the descriptions of the store are good. I would likely react the same way as Kelly did, and be mesmerized by it all. I also found it strange that Kelly would be advised to tie knots....I am by no means an experienced knitter (barely a beginner!) but tying knots just seems wrong.

 

The book has given me a bit of a desire to actually make something knitted. :knit If I could just put the crochet hook down now....:hook:lol

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Sorry I've been MIA, folks, but I had a field project at work that had me so exhausted that I never even fired up the pc. But the project is over and my copy of the second title in the series has arrived, so I'm ready to read, too. I initially thought we'd start the second book March 1, but if everyone is interested, we can go ahead and start sooner if you like (suggestions for a start date?). They are fast reads, so might not merit a whole month for reading and discussing.

 

HappyTee's comment on it being difficult to get back into the dating scene was something I hadn't thought about. I can certainly see that had Kelly been divorced, but Slime was her college boyfriend. Maybe it was a teaser for a future novel in the series? I hadn't thought of it like that.

 

Angie, you're right, it wasn't a page turner, but this genre rarely produces that (cosy mysteries), plus it was the author's first. So all in all, as a first novel, I'd say she did a good job--she created a character we like, a setting we like, and while the mystery was maybe not so mysterious, that plotting may get better over time.

 

Here's a question I just thought of--do you think the author is a knitter herself or just decided to jump on the 'knitting is hip' bandwagon as a spin to market her series? I can't decide myself if she's a knitter or not.

 

Also, I think after the four titles in this series are read (the last is in hardcover and I hesitate to ask folks to buy a hardcover as they're so expensive these days) we should switch, to cleanse our palates and sharpen our needles, to non-fiction. So, I'm opening up the doors to suggestions. Please post suggestions in the Anyone Interested in a KAL/RAL thread so we can limit this thread to just Knit One, Kill Two.

 

patty

 

Oh, and if someone else has already finished number 2 and wants to get the discussion started in a new thread, be my guest! I don't want anyone thinking I'm hogging the book club :lol.

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