Last month (or maybe in November) I read a book that has been on my TBR list for a long time. TOO long, given how much I enjoyed it. That book is Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton, who I was introduced to via the group blog she is a part of. (I don’t remember how I found that blog. Maybe through WendyKnits, as I know Wendy helped Barbara with parts of Casting Spells – it says so in the credits.) If you want to know more about Barbara Bretton’s work, you can find her at her blog, or at Romancing The Yarn, the group blog she contributes to.
CastingSpells (Sugar Maple Chronicles #1)
There are other knitting mysteries out there. I know. I have read some of them. One other series in particular is a series that I enjoy… but it has aspects to it that drive me nuts. In that other series, it seems all the yarn is “frothy” or “fuzzy” or likened to candy. None of it is something I could actually go into a store and buy. And as an experienced knitter who has become something of a yarn snob, none of it is something I WOULD buy, even if I could.
Not so in Bretton’s Sugar Maple series. She uses real yarns, with their real price tags, and the real opinion of real knitters to said yarns. I almost feel I could go on Ravelry and see the exact projects that she’s described, knit by her characters. Right there she sold me on book two. I could instantly relate to the people in her yarn shop, which made me connect to the book and its main characters even more.
Plus, there is magic. The basic premise of this series is that the town is almost entirely supernatural people pretending to be muggles. Vampires run the funeral parlor (not that anyone dies in the traditional sense). Faries and werewolves are around the town, too. And when someone thinks they heard a banshee cry, they just might have.
The mystery part of this story is pretty plausible, but not the entire focus of the story. Its focus is more on the people in the town than on the person who was killed (who is an outsider). Granted, the murder does relate very strongly to the rest of the plot. It’s a well-woven plot, and there are enough hints that you can almost figure out the whodunnit before the Grand Reveal (which is, of course, the trick of a good mystery).
I really liked this first book, and I will be coming back for book two. It’s already on my bookshelf waiting for me…