Sometimes I come across a Cozy that is especially satisfying. Possibly because of the year that we just had, or maybe for other reasons that are mostly mysterious to me, I was looking to read a Cozy this month that has an especially strong sense of a small community of friends who I could fantasize that I was a part of. Sally Goldenbaum’s Death by Cashmere, the first book in her Seaside Mystery series, was just the right book for me – and I recently re-read it so that this series could be the next in my Most Popular and Recommended series of blog posts.
Death by Cashmere is set in the small fictional town of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. And, as the name of the series suggests, one of the main characters in the series, Izzie Chambers, is the owner of a shop that sells knitting supplies and teaches knitting classes. Izzie opened her shop after returning to the town she grew up in and after having left a big-time job as an attorney.
Izzie, her aunt Nell, and their friends Cass and Birdie form the Thursday-night knitting group. This close group of friends gets together at Izzie’s shop for a pot-luck dinner and some knitting every Thursday evening after Izzie closes the store. (This is a group I’d enjoy being in!)
Pretty soon there is a murder in Sea Harbor, and the friends become sleuths as well as knitters. One of the charms of this mystery is that the author does a much better job than average of explaining why the friends start their sleuthing career. Sometimes the sleuth in a Cozy seems to start investigation almost as soon as the police do. In this book, the group of friends seems to get involved largely because it slowly dawns on them that life in their small village will not return to normal until the case is solved. They don’t just jump into the case, instead, clues turn up naturally that they feel compelled to follow up.
I know it isn’t real, but the writing makes it seem as though it could be, and I was drawn to the knitters. A fantasy group set in a fantasy setting — but I felt it was real and want to join. And, the food — with a lot of seafood being featured — on top of the friendship and the knitting — makes me want to drop everything and head to Sea Harbor!
The author, Sally Goldenbaum, has an interesting background which includes having worked for the PBS station that hosted Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, spending a short time as a nun, and teaching creative writing. Her website is a model that I wish all authors would try to copy. Instead of a jumbled and disorganized Facebook page, her site provides a lot of useful information and a comprehensive bio — brava Sally Goldenbaum! Check out her site here at Sally Goldenbaum.com.
P.S. I forgot to tell you that instructions for a knitting project are included.