Title: On Skein of Death (Riverbank Knitting Mystery #1) by Allie Pleiter, Narrated by Brittany Pressley
Published: June 1, 2021 by Penguin Audio
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 2/5 stars
Notes: Audiobook gifted to me by Penguin Random House via the Volumes App
One sentence review: A predictable knitting mystery that could’ve been 10 chapters shorter, and can definitely be adapted into a cheesy Hallmark or Lifetime movie.
For Libby Beckett, opening her charming yarn shop, and introducing customers to the joys of knitting and crochet, is the work she was meant to do. Until the yarn she loves is used for murder….
Libby has come home to Collinstown, Maryland to live her dream and open her own yarn shop, aptly named Y.A.R.N., along the Chester River. To Libby, Y.A.R.N. stands for “You’re Absolutely Ready Now.” But the acronym changes whenever inspiration strikes, and customers add to the list of suggestions that fill the blackboard wall in a shop stuffed with color, fiber, and comfort.
Libby is thrilled when she lands famous Norwegian knitting celebrity Perle Langager for a series of events at Y.A.R.N. Libby’s English bulldog, Hank, has been modeling one of Perle’s doggie sweaters, and customers just can’t wait to see Perle in action. The mayor of Collinstown even decrees a Collinstown Yarn Day to celebrate. But once Perle arrives in town, she seems distracted and on edge. And when she’s found strangled with a skein of red yarn, Libby knows she has to solve a knotty mystery before her new life unravels.
This was exactly what I thought it would be. When I was swiping through the Volumes app and spotted this, I knew it would be a cozy mystery that would take my mind away from life for awhile. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be in terms of quality of writing, characters, and plot, but…it still wasn’t amazing. If you’re a cozy mystery type of person or a knitting enthusiast, I think you might really like this one, though!
The plot was honestly decently strong. We have a store owner that is tied up in a murder investigation after the celebrity that was supposed to headline a big event at her store is found dead. The store owner is the last one to have seen her alive and–as far as anyone knows–the last one to have communicated with her. Sounds pretty standard, sounds good.
***Minor spoilers ahead!***
It was going so well until the MC took over the entire investigation, despite laws in place that should’ve made her EXTREMELY amateur sleuthing work illegal and no one cared??? Like, the mayor, the deputy, no one really cared that this annoying shop owner obsessed with yarn and knitting just comes on the scene and starts messing with things that were really none of her business.
Everything after the initial beginnings of the plot just got so far out of hand and it was really just ridiculous that I gave up on this being “one of the good ones” of the genre.
There was a romantic and familial subplot that really did nothing for the overall plot or story development, and felt like nothing more than a way for the author to draw out a story that was already way too long.
The MC was your stereotypical white chick that just got a divorce and is trying to reinvent herself by taking on a venture that would be way over her head if it was in our world. She was annoying, dramatic, self-centered, and boring. There was this sense of entitlement about her that especially irked me, and the side characters were hardly charming enough to keep me from hating this whole novel because of this very meh character.
Like with any mystery, there were quite a few side characters (just loved how they were all the whitest of white — that’s sarcasm) and none of them stood out or were very interesting in any way.
Honestly the only reason I didn’t rate this book 1 star is because I can tell the author genuinely researched knitting and the craft. I’m sure Pleiter has a real love for it. The initial idea was interesting and could’ve been developed in a more complex way, but the execution felt so sloppy.
The character development, the climax, the character dynamics and relationships, they felt forced and rushed. It was just bad. I really wanted something to hang onto, but my enjoyment of knitting couldn’t make this book a win.
Would I recommend this? Not exactly. If cozy mysteries and knitting are your thing, think it’s something you might want to try. But the overall craftsmanship of the story isn’t there and I’m not sure how much enjoyment you can really get out of this story.
I really wanted to like this one. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. Please consider following for more posts like this! You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads, or buy me a cup of coffee on ko-fi. Thanks again for reading! Bye for now honeybees.