Friday, May 2, 2014

Untangling Murders

by Linda Rodriguez

In my Skeet Bannion mystery series, my protagonist, Skeet, is a knitter who uses time with her knitting needles to untangle the murky problems of murder she faces. In the forthcoming third book in the series, Every Hidden Fear, Skeet’s beloved grandmother has come to live with her, and Gran is a knitter and untangler of problems also.

Skeet’s best friend Karen owns Forgotten Arts, a fiberarts store in the small college town of Brewster, Missouri, 12 miles north of Kansas City, Missouri. Karen raises Romney sheep and angora goats on a farm outside of town and spins her own one-of-a-kind yarns. She sells mill-spun knitting and weaving yarns, as well, and all sorts of knitting, spinning, and weaving equipment.

I love the moments when I write about Skeet walking into Forgotten Arts, perhaps buying yarn for her own knitting projects, and when I write about Skeet, late at night, knitting brightly colored socks for herself or a lace shawl for Gran’s birthday as she ponders alibis, motives, and opportunities for suspects to commit murder. And I do know what I’m talking about because I knit, spin, and do other fiber arts. In fact, I used to take commissions to design and make one-of-a-kind, multicolored lace shawls of various luxury fibers, millspun and handspun, until writing and promoting books took over so much of my time. In fact, I was commissioned to make one very special one for the writer Sandra Cisneros.

Now, I usually save my limited spinning and knitting time for family gifts. However, as I’ve geared up for the publication of Every Hidden Fear (out May 6th), I decided to combine my love of spinning and knitting with the promotion of books. I’ve set up a pre-order contest for Every Hidden Fear with a grand prize of one of those one-of-a-kind, multicolored lace shawls of various luxury fibers, millspun and handspun, that I used to make on commission. I’m designing it on the needles so I don’t have a photo yet to show people interested in entering. Instead, I’m showing these photos of the most recent shawl I made, a Christmas present for my sister. The shawl I’m making will be of approximately the size and shape of this Christmas-present shawl, but with different stitches and colors. The fibers I’ve used so far include baby alpaca, cashmere, merino, and silk.

For two second prizes, each winner will have a character named after her or him in my next Skeet Bannion book, tentatively titled Every Family Doubt. There will also be smaller prizes with either a book or fiberart theme, and everyone who enters will receive a signed bookplate. Simply send an email to with a copy of a receipt, Amazon acknowledgement, or other proof of pre-order and type PRE-ORDER CONTEST in the subject line.

This contest with its special shawl seems to me a particularly appropriate way to celebrate the publication of another book in this series so involved with the fiber arts. As I plan and knit this prize shawl, I find myself mulling over alibis, motives, and opportunities to commit murder since I have another book to write, and life imitates art.

Linda Rodriguez’s second Skeet Bannion novel, Every Broken Trust, is a finalist for the International Latino Book Award and the Premio Aztlán Literary Award. Her first Skeet novel, Every Last Secret, won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition and an International Latino Book Award. Find her on Twitter as @rodriguez_linda, on Facebook at, and blogging at


Mary, knitting really does help with focus and concentration and creative thinking. and those fibers would need to be handwashed and laid flat to dry. Just in case. :-)

1 comment:

  1. So lovely! I knit mostly baby hats these days, small projects, easy on my temperamental hands . . . and I knit mostly at storytelling events, so I think the stories and the fellowship become part of the finished work. Knitting helps me focus . . . ** now wondering about proper care of those fibers, you know, just in case . . . ;-)