Strangers on a Skein by Anne Canadeo

Phoebe Myers, Black Sheep Knitting Shop's assistant manager, finally comes out from behind the counter to sell her own creations--Socks by Phoebe--at the Plum Harbor Farmers' and Crafts Market, a lively, colorful venue that draws shoppers from miles around. But her excitement cools when she learns the previous tenant of her booth, farmer Jimmy Hooper, committed suicide. She's barely raised her Grand Opening banner when Hooper's death is upgraded to murder.

Phoebe worries that her stall is jinxed when things go from bad to worse. The last person she wants to see, her ex-boyfriend Harry "The Potter" McSweeney, appears in the stall across the aisle to sell his wares. The Black Sheep advise Phoebe to be strong and resist the handsome artist's spell. But romantic sparks and tempers explode in a very public scene--and a pile of broken pottery. Before Phoebe can get back to business, her stall is trashed, her Facebook page hacked, and another vendor is found dead.

The Black Sheep worry for Phoebe's safety, especially when Harry becomes the prime suspect in both crimes. Phoebe refuses to believe he's a killer and is determined to prove him innocent. Her friends are not convinced, but for Phoebe's sake--and her safety--the Black Sheep puts their wits together to catch the crafty marketplace killer who's hiding in plain sight. (from goodreads.com)

My Thoughts

I’m a newcomer to the Black Sheep & Company Mystery Series and let me just say, I found this book delightful.  It centers on Maggie, the owner of a knitting & yarn shop, and her small group of friends who she knits with. There’s Suzanne, Dana, Lucy, and youngest friend, Phoebe. Phoebe works in Maggie’s shop and also lives in the apartment upstairs.

The mystery begins when a spot opens up at the local farmers market and Phoebe is invited to sell her handcrafted socks and other goods at the market. It’s very difficult to get a spot and when a local farm passes away and Phoebe is asked to come and be a vendor, she jumps at the chance.

But things aren’t exactly what they seem. While it is originally believed that the former owner of the stand died of natural causes, the police soon discover that Jimmy Hooper was murdered. And as weird things start going on at the farmer’s market, the knitting friends begin to think that there was more going on with Jimmy and the market than anyone realizes.

My favorite part of this series was Maggie and her friend group. I enjoyed that they all got together quite frequently to knit and chat and enjoy food together. And it make me happy how even though Phoebe was a bit younger (in her twenties) the group accepted her as one of their own, and looked after her. A lot of things happen to Phoebe in this book because she is the one who has a stand at the market, and the rest of the friends all look out for her to make sure she is ok.

The mystery kept me guessing. At first I believed one thing, but soon realized that I was on the wrong path and started believing another. There are many different characters in the story, including an ex boyfriend of Phoebes, as well as another young man who might be interested in dating her. It made me laugh and the ladies all had certain ideas about who Phoebe should date next, although they kept that conversation to themselves and didn’t let Phoebe know, for fear that she might think they are interfering.

I’m definitely interested in checking out the rest of the series. While cozy mysteries can often be read as standalones because they fill you in on what you missed, it sounds like there were a lot of interesting mysteries in the beginning of the series that I would like to check out. The characters in this story were really pleasant to read about and I want to read the rest of the books to find out more about their lives.