Does knitting always mean a murder?

Murder Tightly Knit:

Vannetta Chapman

Now any title with knitting in it always attracts me as I knit everyday – physiotherapy for my arthritis but also keeps my hands busy! However, in this book knitting is fairly tangential to the storyline except in 2 aspects:

  1. The owner of the wool shop is involved in what might be considered a conspiracy;
  2. Amish women are frequent knitters; often knitting clothing for themselves and their families or for sale to increase their income. And some of the wool in the shop comes from Amish farmers.

Now in this particular wool shop they sell a very special kind of wool that is also very expensive – that is camel wool. Not I’ve heard of alpaca and so on wool for knitting but this was the first time I’d come across camel wool to knit with. Although thinking about it, camel hair coats have been around for ages and are much prized and expensive!

I therefore looked up camel wool and what could be knitted with it – I’m always curious like that – I knew that it could be woven and thus used for cloth, tents, carpets etc and of course the use of camel hair like this goes back to Biblical times and thus producing such wool would be very appropriate for an Amish farmer.

So we come to knitting with it. If it is baby camel wool then it seems it is possible to knit with the pure wool, but older camels’ wool is usually mixed with something like cashmere. Baby wool is lightweight, extremely soft, durable, heat conducting (ideal for those who have circulation problems), hypoallergenic, and contains lanolin thus reducing static and being dirt repellent! My word, the ultimate wool it would seem… one web site I encountered really believes this and raves about its medical potential for a number of conditions (

So, digression over, back to the book. One of the characters within it is called ‘Miss Marples’ by some of her friends and the writing style, with lots of red herrings and twists and ‘cosy’ women (of a certain age) undertaking investigations alongside the police in a small enclosed community is very reminiscent indeed of Miss Marples!

It is not a thriller, and not a police procedural, but there is murder and nefarious doings and an understanding of Amish life. It was tagged as ‘Christian’ but to me it seemed more that the main characters had strong religious beliefs rather than it being any type of Christian fundamentalism of preaching. As such, and as a non-believer, I was still happy to read it  as I didn’t feel preached at, but just accepted the beliefs and ways of expressing themselves as being part of the way the man characters lived their lives. I was in fact interested in how the characters operated psychologically.

I was somewhat surprised and concerned about the prevalence of ‘preparedness’ for disasters element that seemed to be around in these locations with the US and the number of guns and ease of acceptance of their use bothered me but then it always does when US life in detective novels especially, is described.

Overall, the book had a slightly cosy villagey feel to the style and writing without stretching the brain too much.

3.5 stars and would recommend to someone who would be interested in the Amish.


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