source: free review copy courtesy of Partners in Crime Tours
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Published by: Ambleside Publishing
Publication Date: September 2018
Number of Pages: 250
At a crossroads between a cringe-worthy past (Todd the Toad) and an uncertain future (she’s not exactly homeless, but it’s close), Lucy Swift travels to Oxford to visit her grandmother. With Gran’s undying love to count on and Cardinal Woolsey’s, Gran’s knitting shop, to keep her busy, Lucy can catch her breath and figure out what she’s going to do.
Except it turns out that Gran is the undying. Or at least, the undead. But there’s a death certificate. And a will, leaving the knitting shop to Lucy. And a lot of people going in and out who never use the door—including Gran, who is just as loving as ever, and prone to knitting sweaters at warp speed, late at night. What exactly is going on?
When Lucy discovers that Gran did not die peacefully in her sleep, but was murdered, she has to bring the killer to justice without tipping off the law that there’s no body in the grave. Between a hot 800-year-old vampire and a dishy detective inspector, both of whom always seem to be there for her, Lucy finds her life getting more complicated than a triple cable cardigan. The only one who seems to know what’s going on is her cat … or is it … her familiar?
The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren is one of those books that you can read in one sitting. There is a nice mix of the paranormal, humor and knitting in this cozy mystery. Twenty-something Lucy Swift travels to Oxford to visit her grandmother after catching her boyfriend cheating on her. She sees her granny Agnes walking around further up the street where her knitting shop is so Lucy decides to wait inside the local tea shop for her. Soon enough Lucy is told her grandma Agnes passed away weeks ago. Lucy is left in a state of shock and tries contacting her parents who are working at an archaeological site. Something doesn’t feel right as Lucy tries putting clues together about her grandma’s death. She is told Agnes passed away peacefully in her sleep but Lucy finds her broken eye glasses and what looks like blood stains in the knitting shop. She visits her grandma’s lawyer who tells Lucy that grandma Agnes left her the knitting shop, some money and a family diary. Agnes also leaves Lucy a letter instructing her to keep the shop as it is and telling her to read the family diary and that she will soon know more. Little by little, mysterious characters appear, like handsome Rafe Crosyer and Lucy is left wondering what the heck is going on. Also, the knitting shop and the stores on that block seem to be a hot commodity and although Agnes leaves Lucy a note saying not to sell the shop, there are real estate agents making Lucy offers and telling her that her grandma was eager to sell before she passed.
“The thought of this dark and virile stranger-who reminded me of a Bronte hero-knitting, well, you never thought of a Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester dropping a stitch.” -p. 48, The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren
I really enjoyed The Vampire Knitting Club. It is the start of a series and I would love to read the rest of these books. I enjoyed the humor, the mystery, the knitting and this was just a fun cozy read. I liked Lucy and I loved how the story-line pulled me along and had me guessing. The cozy knitting shop setting was such a nice touch and I like the cover too. This is my first time reading about vampires knitting. The ones in this story meet late at night for their knitting club and they knit so fast their needles are a blur. Also really cute was Lucy’s cat Nyx who follows her around and points at the foods he wants. As I mentioned, this is a series I want to keep reading so it is now on my wish list. Author Nancy Warren will be here Friday to answer a few interview questions, please stop by.
I didn’t believe in vampires. They were creatures of fiction, not personalities who knitted socks and crept along the dark streets of Oxford.
A shiver of fear ran over my skin and my eyes popped open wide. I cursed every horror movie I had ever seen, and the entire works of Stephen King, as I reached out and turned on the lamp on my bedside table.
Cardinal Woolsey’s knitting shop has appeared on postcards celebrating the quaint views of Oxford, of which there are many. But when a visitor has tired of writing ‘wish you were here’ on the back of pictures of the various colleges, the dreaming spires, and the dome of the Radcliffe Camera, a cozy little shop painted blue, brimming with baskets of wool and hand-knit goods, can be so much more inviting.
My grandmother Agnes Bartlett owned the knitting shop and I was on my way to visit after spending a very hot month at a dig site in Egypt visiting my archeologist parents.
Gran was always ready to wrap her warm arms around me and tell me everything was going to be all right. I needed comforting after discovering my boyfriend of two years Todd had stuck his salami in someone else’s sandwich. I referred to him now as my ex-boyfriend The Toad. I was thinking about Gran’s wisdom, her hugs and her home made gingersnaps, when I started to feel as though cold, wet fingers were walking down the back of my neck.
My wheeled suitcase clanked and rattled behind me along the cobblestones of Harrington Street as I looked around, wondering what had caused the heebie-jeebies.
The October day was chilly and crisp and, in the mid-afternoon, the street was busy with shoppers, tourists and students. Church bells chimed three o’clock. When I glanced ahead, I saw my beloved Gran. She wore a black skirt, sensible shoes and one of her hand-knit cardigans, this one in orange and blue. She was walking with a glamorous woman in her sixties whom I didn’t recognize. I thought Gran looked confused and my hackles immediately rose. The glamor puss was holding an umbrella over Gran’s head, even though the day was dry and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
I waved and called, “Gran!” moving faster so my suitcase began to bounce.
I was sure they saw me, but as I sped toward them, they veered down a side street. What on earth? I lifted my case and began to run; though my case was so heavy it was more of a grunting stagger.
“Gran!” I yelled again. I stopped at the bottom of the road where I’d last seen them. There was no one there. A dry, shriveled leaf tumbled toward me and from a window ledge a small, black cat regarded me with what looked like pity. Otherwise, the street was empty.
“Agnes Bartlett!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
I stood, panting. The side street was lined with a mixture of half-timbered cottages and Victorian row houses, all clearly residential. Gran hadn’t popped into a shop and would soon emerge. She was visiting in one of those homes, presumably. I wondered if it belonged to her friend.
Well, there was no point standing there. I’d go to Cardinal Woolsey’s and wait for Gran there. Her assistant, Rosemary, would be running the shop and I could let myself into the upstairs flat and unpack while I waited for my grandmother to return.
I retraced my steps, but when I reached the entrance to the quaint shop and tried the door, it didn’t open. I tried again, pushing harder, before my other senses kicked in and I realized that no lights were on inside.
A printed sign hung on the windowed front door. It said, “Cardinal Woolsey’s is closed until further notice.” At the bottom was a phone number.
Closed until further notice?
Gran never closed the shop outside her regular closing days. And if she had, where was her assistant?
I stood on the sidewalk that feeling came again, like cold fingers on the nape of my neck.
Excerpt from The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren. Copyright © 2018 by Nancy Warren. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Warren. All rights reserved.
Nancy Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 60 novels including the Toni Diamond cozy mystery series.
She shares her time between Victoria, British Columbia, and Bath in the UK
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disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free copy of The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren through Partners In Crime Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.