Author: Betty Hechtman

ISBN: 978-0-425-25221-5

Betty Hechtman’s Yarn to Go: A Yarn Retreat Mystery caught my attention for several reasons: 

·         It is the first in a new series, making it an excellent choice for a reader who is new to Hechtman’s writing.

·         The setting is a knitting retreat, which capitalizes on the revival for yarn craft going on globally. Currently, Ravelry, an online community of knit and crochet enthusiasts, has over 3 million members; and new knitting groups are popping up locally all over the U.S. through Meetup.com and local yarn shops. I am a knitting enthusiast myself, so how could I resist a book with an overflowing yarn basket and black cat on the cover?

·         The genre is cozy mystery, a subgenre of mystery, designed for readers who want the intrigue without the violence.

Because I am new to reading cozy mysteries, I thought New York Times bestselling author Betty Hechtman would be a good place to begin. 

The story opens when the protagonist, Casey, learns her aunt has died and now she must take charge of the knitting retreat that is scheduled to open within days. The problem is that Casey, an accomplished dessert chef, doesn’t know a knitting needle from a crochet hook. Additionally, she is an introvert more comfortable whipping up delectable desserts alone in her commercial kitchen than she is at organizing a group of chatty women and one reluctant man. Nevertheless, with the help of master knitting instructor Kris, she plows ahead to fulfill her obligation.

The first quarter of the book has the reader getting acquainted with the cast of characters and the California seaside town where the event takes place. The first plot point occurs in Chapter 7 when the most sympathetic member of the knitting group is found stabbed in the heart with two sharp straight knitting needles. The question everyone asks is, “Who could have possibly wanted her dead—and why?” 

To complicate the mystery, Casey believes that the hit-and-run accident that killed her aunt was no accident at all. And then there is the accidental death of another knitter at last year’s retreat who fell off the cliff overlooking the ocean. Three deaths—all of them avid knitters, all at Cadbury. Are they related? And if so, who is behind it and what is their motive?

My favorite part of Yarn to Go was the description of the knitting projects. I loved reading about the unique yarns and patterns each of the participants had. The author offers, as a bonus to readers, a free recipe and a free knitting pattern. The recipe is delightful, a from-scratch pastry. (I won’t spoil the surprise by specifying what it is.) However, the knitting pattern really is no pattern at all, and I found it to be a let-down. It’s merely a plain swatch that one would give to a beginning learner—only done larger to form a scarf. If only the author would have included a real pattern—something interesting—I believe all the knitter-readers would be delighted rather than disappointed. However, to be fair, that has nothing to do with the story itself. 

I recommend Yarn to Go for readers who like a female amateur sleuth who dares to pursue the tough questions about some very untimely deaths—but wants to skip the gore and graphic sex often found in traditional adult mysteries. Fans will eagerly look forward to the next book in this delightful new series.


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