The Silence of the Llamas

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The Silence of the Llamas (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #5) by Anne Canadeo

The Black Sheep Knitting group has headed out to the countryside, doing some good farm stand shopping.

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The crew is on their way to visit friend’s of Dana’s. Her old college friend Ellie; married Ben Kruegar, sold her successful business, bought a property in Plum Harbor, and created a Llama farm.

Aw, how cute.

Aw, how cute.

This weekend is Ellie ad Ben’s big grand opening of their farm, the Laughing Llama. While the event is fun, full of food and farm animals; somebody isn’t interested in it. In fact, the llamas are attacked by someone with a paint gun, severely injuring them.

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AAAAHHHHH

It turns out that, that isn’t the only bad thing that has been happening. There have been a series of “pranks” as the couple calls them, ranging from missing items, the animals being released, etc.

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It turns out that the idyllic countryside is not that idyllic after all. There is a development company that wants to buy up all the farms, and a group of people are trying to protect the lands. They believe that the Kruegars bought the land, only to turn it over to developers, but Ellie and Ben claim they are here long term.

HMMM

Their hired hand Dot, is a great help, but not really close to them.

Then one night they find the dead body of the man who was most interested in stopping them from “selling”, Jason Ridley. Now the police are looking at Ben for the murder, and the Black Sheep Knitting group are on the case.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So there are two mysteries in this novel. One is the sabotager, and the other is the murderer. This mystery was half good, with the murder being done excellent.

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while the sabotage part wasn’t that good. I mean I figured it out immediately.

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It wasn’t as bad as Stitch Before Dying , but not as good as Till Death Do Us Purl or While My Pretty One Knits.

***Spoiler Alert***

So as soon as I read this on page 43:

“Oh, Ellie, what’s the difference? We know who it is. Justin Ridley. He’s the only one who could have done this. The only one who has any reason to harass us. Who believes he has a reason,’ he [Ben] corrected himself.”

I knew it was Ben.

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I knew Ben was like the husband in Gaslight and Dangerous Crossing, just after the money and behind the scheme to sabotage so he could get it.

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to Till Death Do Us Purl

For more cases of sabotage, go to A Taste for Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

 

Best Guacamole Ever! (Plus Make Your Own Tortilla Chips!)

While My Pretty One Knits

So in While My Pretty One Knits, one of the characters, Suzanne Cavanaugh, makes guacamole. They give a recipe for it at the back of the book, but I chose not to follow that one. Instead I’m going to give you the best recipe for Guacamole ever, our old, very healthy, family recipe (I’m Mexican if you were wondering).

Guacamole

Thoughts prior to cooking:

I never used to like avocados or guacamole as a kid, but now it is like I want it on everything.

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  • Avocados
  • Lemon Juice

Wash the avocado and cut it in half. Remove seed.

Using a spoon, scoop out the innards, separating it from the outer skin, and placing it in a bowl. Mash the avocado.

Squirt a bit of lemon juice and serve. 🙂

Tortilla Chips

Now what is guacamole without chips? Well I’ll tell you how to make your own, healthier and cheaper ones.

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Cut the corn tortillas into 8 wedges and lay them on a baking sheet.

When you have filled the sheet, lightly spray or squirt olive oil on them. Add salt to taste.

Bake them in the oven until crispy, be sure to flip them over from time to time.

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chips

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For more recipes involving avocados, go to Zucchini-Tomato Soup

For more recipes, go to Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken

While My Pretty One Knits

While My Pretty One Knits

 

While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #1) by Anne Canadeo

In this book we are introduced to the Black Sheep knitting group and its members. Maggie Messina is the leader, she was once a high school art teacher, but now is the owner of the knitting shop, Black Sheep. in Plum Harbor, Massachusetts. She was giving a class on knitting,  of which four women attended and became best friends. Of this group is newly divorced, graphic designer, Lucy Binger; yoga loving, health foodie, psychologist, Dana Haegar; multitasker, incredible cook, mother of five, real estate queen, Suzanne Cavanaugh; and the punk, funloving, and unconventional, assistant at the Black Sheep, Phoebe Meyer. The group gab, knit, and solve murders.

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The series are told in the viewpoint of Lucy Binger, the only member that is new to the area, having relocated to Plum Harbor from Boston after her divorce.

So in this book, Maggie is getting her shop ready for a big event. Her old high school student, Cara Newhouse, has become a real success. She went to art college, rediscovered knitting, has become a writer for Knitting Now!, and has written multiple books. She has agreed to come to Maggie’s shop and do a discussion and book signing.

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Lucy had been assisting Maggie for the big event, and when the two have finished rearranging furniture, they move on to their favorite thing, knitting!

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They are soon joined by Savannah and Dana, and are waiting for Phoebe to start their group. The door opens and they expect to see Phoebe, but instead see…

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Amanda Goran

Ahh-1

Amanda Goran is the owner of the other knitting shop in Plum Harbor, The Knitting Nest. Amanda Goran hates Maggie and is always trying to make things hard for her. She spreads lies and rumors about the shop, insults Maggie and her displays, and is an all around foul person to be around.

Hate her that's so raven

But today, Amanda acts different. She acts nice.

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She compliments Maggie, and even says she will be at the event early.

What?

And that’s not the only thing. She had her hair done, teeth whitened, and is wearing make-up. The expensive kind.

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She tells Maggie she is backing away from The Knitting Nest. This is strange as her shop was Amanda’s lifeblood. She was crazy for it, and even when it wasn’t doing well took on extra jobs to keep it afloat. She wants to back off?

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And that’s not all, where is she getting the money from if her shop does so poorly and she’s backing off? Everyone knows she is also in the  middle of a divorce. So where is the money coming from? Something is definitely up.

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The next day, Lucy arrives early to help Maggie with any last minute things. She gets there at 8:55, arriving before Maggie does. Maggie went all out with mini quiche, muffins, berries, etc. The two quickly get everything set up. Cara enters, and Lucy hates her on sight. Although she can’t quite figure out why, jealous perhaps? Cara is a gorgeous blonde, and a little nervous about the whole event.

Soon there is no time to worry as the room is filled with guests. Everyone is there, except Amanda. Odd, as she said she would be there early. But perhaps something happened, or Amanda is planning on getting in late and causing problems.

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Cara begins her presentation when Suzanne barges in. Lucy is wondering what is going on, when Suzanne shouts that Amanda is dead.

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Maggie regains control of the group, and sets a moment aside to honor Amanda. She tells people they may leave but if they wish to stay, than Cara will continue. Amanda wasn’t very well-liked in the town as she is harsh and mean, but a few people leave saddened by her death.

The rest remain and Cara continues, although very poorly and flustered. After the presentation, they only thing people want to discuss is Amanda. How did she die? What happened? Although no one really knows the answer. Eventually everyone goes home, and continues with their life.

The next day Lucy walks downtown to talk to Maggie, and to try to find out more info on Amanda. She stops at the local diner, the Schooner, and discovers that it wasn’t an accidental death, but murder!

Murder

Someone bashed in Amanda’s head! The police think that it was a robbery gone wrong, but unfortunately have no leads.

Lucy heads to The Black Sheep and discovers that she isn’t the only one who thought they’s come to get more info. The rest of the group is there as well. Just as they are dishing, two cops, Detective Walsh and Detective Reyes come to question Maggie. They heard that Maggie and Amanda were rivals. Maggie tells them about how horrible Amanda was to her…but…it doesn’t sound like that. It sounds more like Maggie was crazy about Amanda and harassing her. Instead of the other way around.

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The next day Dana, Savannah, and Lucy head out do morning yoga. Dana is a real enthusiast, while Suzanne and Lucy are just trying it out. Suzanne and Lucy are not really interested, or planning on coming back. Lucy speaks to the instructor and finds out that Amanda used to come, and was friends with the instructor. She saw a lot of changes in Amanda and suspects a new boyfriend. Why else would she be constantly going to Boston?

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The three head out to breakfast, when they stop and look at The Knitting Nest, which is right across from the yoga place. Just as they are about to leave, Lucy sees something through the window. She goes around the back to get a closer look, when she falls in the snow and the person who was in the building takes off. And without Lucy even getting a good look at who it was, height, weight, gender, hair color, etc.

They report it to the police and split their separate ways.

The next day Maggie and Lucy go to Amanda’s funeral. When they get there, they run into Amanda’s was soon-to-be ex-husband, Peter. At first he is heartbroken and melancholy, then the next minute giving a sales pitch to Maggie to buy The Knitting Nest stock.

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A day later, Maggie is bothered again by Peter to check out the stock and get it before he sends it to an auction house. Maggie decides to check it out and takes Lucy for support.

As the two check out the stock, they discover lots of stuff. Lucy also sees Amanda’s dogs, her dogs that she treated like children, but Peter is treating horribly. One of them is super friendly, but appears to be sick. Lucy feels so sorry for her that she adopts it and drops the dog off at the vet.

At the vet, Lucy meets the new veterinarian, the young, handsome Dr. Matt McDougal.

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The two hit it off, with Lucy unsure of whether or not it is harmless flirting or if he is really interested in her. For all she knows he could be married.

The group meet again and eat food, knit, and discuss the case. They discover that Peter has a gambling problem and will be inheriting a hefty insurance policy as the divorce wasn’t final.

The next day, Lucy returns to the vet and discovers that her dog, Tink ate something. They can’t tell what it is or get her to hack it out. So instead they will have to operate to remove it. Besides getting help for Tink, Lucy also finds out that the Doctor is in the middle of a divorce. Bonus for her.

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The next morning, Lucy heads over to The Black Sheep to pick up some dog sweaters Peter brought with the stock Maggie purchased. As she is looking for the box to give as a thank you to the vet, Cara shows up to talk to Maggie. The two look for buttons, while Lucy roots around the millions of boxes Peter brought.

Lucy finally finds it and heads over to the vet. Tink is ready and waiting, but the doctor is not. He’s in the middle of a surgery. A disappointed Lucy heads out, completely forgetting to drop off the sweaters. She releases Tink into her house and studies the information provided by the vet and the gross orange yarn specimen from Tink’s stomach. She decides to head over to The Black Sheep and show off her dog to Phoebe. As she heads over to the shop, she hears police sirens. When she gets there, she sees Maggie being arrested! Apparently the police received a tip about the murder weapon being in the store and found it, arresting Maggie for the murder of Amanda Goran.

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Now it’s up to The Black Sheep knitters to solve the case and clear Maggie’s good name!

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Thoughts after reading:

I loved this book.

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I thought the characters were amazing and relatable. It was nice to see a collection of such different people being friends.

Now even though I was able to solve the mystery early on, I still love it as it was written extremely well, with just the right amount of red herrings to throw you off the scent.

All ini all it was a fantastic read (as is the rest of the series) and you should definitely check it out.

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For more mysteries, go to Glazed Murder