Sometimes readers ask me where ideas for mysteries come from. Where, indeed? Everywhere, I guess—but that’s not a very satisfying answer. And sometimes, looking back, I haven’t the faintest idea where the first seed of an idea came from. But today, when I looked through the Seaside Knitters mysteries lined up on my bookcase, I gave the question serious thought—and surprised myself when one of the books jumped right off the shelf and landed flat on my lap. It was ANGORA ALIBI, which comes out in paperback for the first time this month.
I remember exactly where the idea for Angora Alibi came from. Exactly. Without question.
And here’s why.
Each fall my husband and I spend a few weeks on Cape Ann where the seaside mysteries are set and where our daughter and her family live. I gather atmosphere and facts for the mysteries as I walk through the small towns along the sea, stroll the beaches and parks and neighborhoods—the places where the Seaside Knitters live and love (and solve mysteries), always looking for those elusive ideas that jumpstart a mystery, a murder, a plot.
One morning Don and I were walking along Niles Beach in Gloucester, a small stretch of sand and sea that’s ideal for running, for family swims, for early morning walks. This particular day we noticed an infant car seat sitting on the sand near the low granite wall that separates the beach from the road. Now, that’s not unusual for a beach that families love, except at that early hour only a couple of fishermen were walking across the sand toward their boats. Not a mom or dad or baby in sight. “They’ve gone for a walk beyond the granite boulders, out of sight,” we decided,
But the next day, the car seat was still there, still without a baby in its protective cave. And it was there the next two days, and then a third.
That third night there was a spectacular nor-easter, and when we went back the next morning to check on what had become a bit of an obsession for us (including our married daughter and her friends, all of whom had young children who played on that beach), the car seat had been tossed across the road by the storm and was now filled with sand and water.
And the next day it was gone.
It was easy to write, that first draft chapter for Angora Alibi.
Izzy was pregnant. Each morning she ran slowly along Paley’s Cove, a small strip of protected beach that families loved. But the morning she spotted it, the tenor of her daily exercise changed. There it was, an infant carseat. Empty. Alone in the sand. She stopped, shaded her eyes and looked around. Not a mother, not a baby in sight. The infant seat was there the next day— and the next, now playing with Izzy’s emotions and hormones, invading her dreams and disrupting her sleep as she cradled her own ponderous belly, protecting her unborn baby from something she sensed, but couldn’t see. On the fourth day of the carseat’s appearance, Izzy heard reports of a nor’easter coming in. Unable to leave the unprotected carseat there any longer, alone on the beach—Izzy decided suddenly to do something about it.
I wrote the chapter quickly—it was vivid in my imagination—and I sent it along to my editor. She was intrigued.
“Write it,” she said enthusiastically.
But one idea does not a mystery make.
Who left the carseat there?
Where did it come from?
Where was the owner? The baby?
And since this was to be a mystery…..who was murdered? and why? And what did any of that have to do with an abandoned infant carseat?
For what seemed like an eternity, I had absolutely no idea. None.
But then my friends came through, just like they always do. Izzy, Nell, Birdie, and Cass—my seaside knitters—took me by the hand and helped me figure it out. They coaxed me to explore the fine details that go way beyond the seed of an idea that started it all. Together we plunged in and solved the mystery—and just in time to allow Izzy’s baby to be be born into a peaceful and safe Sea Harbor.
I hope you’ll give figuring it out a try, too. I promise the seaside knitters will help you…. But not too much.
Thank you again for being here today.
Angora Alibi (Seaside Knitters Mystery - Book 7) by Sally Goldenbaum
Publication Date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: NAL Trade
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from NAL Trade)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Sally Goldenbaum on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
Seaside Knitters Mystery
1. Death by Cashmere
2. Patterns in the Sand
3. Moon Spiners
4. A Holiday Yarn
5. The Wedding Shawl
6. A Fatal Fleece
7. Angora Alibi
8. Murder in Merino
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Angora Alibi, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
The Seaside Knitters of sunny Sea Harbor are busy crafting a baby blanket for a member of their circle. But as the due date draws near, so does a puzzling plot....
Yarn shop owner Izzy Chambers Perry is having a heady summer. She and her new husband, Sam, are expecting a baby. She’s trying to stay active with bike rides, runs along the shore, and spending time with the Seaside Knitters—until the day she spots an abandoned baby car seat and a familiar blanket on the beach. Izzy immediately recognizes the blanket’s material—a soft yellow angora yarn she displayed in her shop window last fall. Maybe it’s the hormones, but Izzy has a terrible feeling....
After a local man dies during a scuba dive, Izzy discovers he was actually murdered and is connected to the abandoned car seat. Now it’s up to the Seaside Knitters to investigate. With their careful attention to patterns—and their fierce commitment to bringing Izzy and Sam’s baby into a peaceful town—they’re determined to knit this mystery together.
Sally Goldenbaum's seventh Seaside Knitters mystery, Angora Alibi is a great addition to the series. Readers who enjoy a mystery that is focused just as much on the characters as on the murder itself, will love Goldenbaum's writing. Each Seaside Knitters novel shows the genuine friendships that can develop among friends and neighbors and how messing with one, means you're messing with them all. Long time fans of the series will delight in the coming of Izzy's baby and new readers to the series will fall in love with the seaside town on Sea Harbor.
What I liked:
As usual with any Sally Goldenbaum mystery, there was plenty going on in Sea Harbor. This is such a quaint little seaside town and I always love revisiting it with each book in this series. It is loosely based on the town of Gloucester and the surrounding Cape Ann area. Goldenbaum has certainly created a town that is rich in history and mystery. I like the fact that she is able to incorporate tidbits about the area and it's foundations into all of her novels. If you can't really visit Sea Harbor you might want to consider the area it's based on for a little seaside vacation sometime.
Goldenbaum's characters are always a highlight in her novels. The Seaside Knitters are a group of ladies that have been through a lot together, including the solving of several mysteries. What I love about this cast of characters is the strong friendships that have developed throughout the series. Each women and the men in their lives contribute something different to the group. I love a series that focuses on the friendships of women, their strengths and complexities and Goldenbaum always does such a wonderful job with this aspect of her writing.
Izzy is having a baby! Izzy is one my favorite Seaside Knitters and I have enjoyed watching her character come into it's own throughout. Her relationship with Sam, her wedding and now the arrival of her first child. She has shown a lot of growth and a lot of change and she's got a very intuitive mind and in this particular book, her mind is getting the best of her. I liked the fact that this mystery hit home a little bit with Izzy since she was expecting and an abandoned car seat and blanket are so important to the story. It gave the story a sense of urgency. It had to be solved before the coming of the baby, it just had to.
What I didn't like:
Though I truly love this series, this particular mystery seemed a little off to me. As always I loved Sea Harbor and the Seaside Knitters, but the additional characters and mystery for this one fell a little flat for me. I wanted it to be more intense and less predictable. I loved the coming of Izzy's baby and all of the knitting that surrounded it, but the mystery just wasn't as mysterious as usual.
This one may not have been my favorite as far as the mystery goes, but I still loved the interactions of the characters and learning more about them and their home. A minor hiccup I'm sure, because Goldenbaum is an excellent writer.
Angora Alibi is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the birth of her first grandchild and the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Angora Alibi by Sally Goldenbaum.
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