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Authors: Anne Canadeo

A Murder in Mohair

BOOK: A Murder in Mohair
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Praise for the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery Series

“The fast-paced plot will keep even non-knitters turning the pages.”

—
Publishers Weekly

“Congenial characters and a mystery that keeps you guessing.”

—
Kirkus Reviews

“Maggie and her group are as efficient with their investigation as they are with their knitting needles.”

—
Library Journal

“Small-town crafty ambience . . . This enjoyable tale is similar in style to the work of both Sally Goldenbaum and Cricket McRae.”

—
Booklist

“An engaging story full of tight knit friendships and a needling mystery.”

—
Fresh Fiction

“A slew of interesting characters.”

—
Single Titles

“Enthusiastic, engrossing, and exciting.”

—
The Mystery Gazette

“An intriguing mystery with a few surprising twists and turns.”

—
Romance Reviews Today

“Delightful. Enchanting. Humorous. Impressive. Witty. Those are just a few adjectives to describe Anne Canadeo's effervescent cozy.”

—
Book Cave

Meet the Black Sheep Knitters

Maggie Messina
, owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is a retired high school art teacher who runs her little slice of knitters' paradise with the kind of vibrant energy that leaves her friends dazzled! From novice to pro, knitters come to Maggie as much for her up-to-the-minute offerings like organic wool as for her encouragement and friendship. And Maggie's got a deft touch when it comes to unraveling mysteries, too.

Lucy Binger
left Boston when her marriage ended, and found herself shifting gears to run her graphic design business from the coastal cottage she inherited. After big-city living, she now finds contentment on a front porch in tiny Plum Harbor, knitting with her closest friends.

Dana Haeger
is a psychologist with a busy local practice. A stylishly polished professional with a quick wit, she slips out to Maggie's shop whenever her schedule allows—after all, knitting is the best form of therapy!

Suzanne Cavanaugh
is a typical working supermom—a realtor with a million demands on her time, from coaching soccer to showing houses to attending the PTA. But she carves out a little “me” time with the Black Sheep Knitters.

Phoebe Meyers
, a college student complete with magenta highlights and nose stud, lives in the apartment above Maggie's shop. She's Maggie's indispensable helper (when she's not in class)—and part of the new generation of young knitters.

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To my husband, Spencer—with love

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

—
ABRAHAM LINCOLN
(
ATTRIBUTED
)

No good deed goes unpunished.

—
OSCAR WILDE

Chapter One

A
bike ride from Lucy's cottage into the village of Plum Harbor was downhill going, uphill going back. As gravity kicked in and the long slope of Main Street grew even steeper, Lucy tried to remember that this was “the fun part.”

She zipped by a row of shops, most still shut tight on the drowsy, summer morning. Then gripped the hand brakes and forced the old gears to downshift, barely slowing her descent.

The fun part, Lucy . . . the
really
fun part?

A car door swung open in her path and she swiveled around it just in time. The flustered driver shouted at her, but she didn't dare turn to face him.

Just as suddenly, the Black Sheep Knitting Shop came into view. Grateful for the sight, Lucy focused on the narrow drive.

Aiming the bike like a flying missile, brakes squeezed even tighter, she bounced over the gravel and finally skidded to a stop.

The shop was an oasis for knitters anytime of the year, but especially for reckless bike riders on this hot summer morning. The Victorian house, turned into a retail space, had been neglected when Lucy's friend Maggie found it years ago. But as usual, Maggie's artistic eye had spotted the possibilities. She left her position as an art teacher at Plum Harbor High School to follow her bliss and turn her passion for needlework into a full-time career. Maggie had recently lost her husband and needed a complete change to pull her from a well of grief.

Using her retirement nest egg, she bought the building and set up her business on the first floor, a knitting shop as cozy and inviting as her living room. The apartment above was soon rented to her assistant, Phoebe Meyers, a part-time college student and sort of surrogate daughter for Maggie, whose own daughter, Julie, was away at college most of the year.

The shop looked especially pretty in the summer, Lucy thought. The building had been carefully renovated and painted in vintage colors, adorned with shutters, and a bright front door. Window boxes, which hung from the porch railing, overflowed with blooming flowers and trailing vines, while even more summer flowers lined the picket fence and brick path. Maggie's love for gardening—and cooking—followed a close second to knitting. Wicker chairs and tables, set out on the shady, wraparound porch, invited stitching and socializing, al fresco.

Lucy spotted Maggie there with Edie Steiber, who ran the Schooner Diner across the street. In the midst of an intense conversation, it seemed. Lucy set the bike against the fence and pulled off her helmet, wondering if they'd even noticed her.

But Maggie must have. She stood and met her gaze as Lucy walked up the path; she looked serious, Lucy thought. Something in her expression definitely seemed off.

“You saw my narrow miss with that car door, and you want to tell me I'm a terrible bike rider, right?”

“I didn't, luckily. Or I would. I guess you didn't notice the police cars up the street, in front of the movie theater?”

Lucy had not, intent as she was on landing in one piece. She glanced up Main Street to find two blue and white cruisers, along with a police SUV, parked in front of the Harbor Cinema. The lights on top of the vehicles still swirled, just beneath the old-fashioned marquee. An ambulance was parked there, too, though the two uniformed attendants stood talking with a police officer. Not in any rush to take anyone anywhere.

“What happened? Was there an accident?”

Before Maggie could answer, Edie called from the porch. “I'll say. Jimmy Hubbard, the fellow who owns the theater? He's stone cold dead. Someone found him just a little while ago.”

“How awful. What happened? Did he have a heart attack or something?”

“We don't know much.” Maggie started back to the porch and Lucy followed. “From what Edie heard, it sounds like there was a robbery. It must have taken place late last night.”

“A high school kid who works in the theater at the candy counter found him.” Edie stared up at Lucy from her wicker chair. She looked pale and winded, as if she'd just run across the street to tell Maggie the news. “The boy saw Jimmy alive and well around eleven, when he left work. He has keys to the theater and came in early this morning to clean up. First thing he notices is the light by the back door busted up. He says it was working fine when he left the night before. Then he opened the door and found Jimmy lying there. The bank deposit bag right next to him on the floor. Empty, of course. And the boy said . . . Well, there was a lot of blood,” she added in a shakier tone.

Usually a very stalwart soul, Edie had faced many challenges in her seventy-some years—and lived by the code “what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.” But she seemed uncommonly stunned and rattled. Then again, the unofficial mayor of Plum Harbor wasn't getting any younger, Lucy reflected.

“How did you hear this? Did you talk to him?”

“I'll say. The poor kid was terrified. He ran in the Schooner this morning, white as a sheet. I could hardly understand what he was saying. Heck of a thing for a boy that age to find a dead body. I sat him down and called nine-one-one. Then I called his folks.” She pressed her hand to her ample chest. “Set off my palpitations. For a minute, I thought I needed nine-one-one, too.”

“Poor Jimmy.” Though Lucy only knew the man by sight, it seemed an awful fate. “I don't even know how that theater stays in business. There's hardly ever anyone there. There couldn't have been much cash on hand.”

“Yeah, that place is just limping along,” Edie agreed. “Goes to show how desperate some characters are. Not a common thing around here. But you never know.” Edie's sunflower earrings bobbed around her head, flashing a colorful warning. “It makes you think twice about security. I've got lots more than a few bucks in my register at the end of the day. I'll tell you that much.”

Lucy was sure that was true. The Schooner was one of the most popular spots in town and did a booming business in the summer.

Maggie looked less worried, but still concerned. “A crime like this is rare for our town, thank goodness. The police will find the culprit quickly. Still, it worries me. I hope you're careful when you lock up at night, Edie?” Maggie sat in a chair beside her friend. Lucy noticed a basket of yarn in bright summer colors and a pile of patterns, prepared for a class, on the small table next to her.

“Don't worry about me. I have alarm system on top of alarm system. My niece's son, Dale, is working at the diner this summer as a busboy, and Richard, his father, comes to pick him up and keeps me company almost every night while I lock up. Helping Dale take out the trash and all that. Richard is always working late in his shop, behind their store,” Edie explained, “so I don't mind calling if I need a little backup.”

BOOK: A Murder in Mohair
3.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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