Book Review: The Vampire Knitting Club

Crocheter though I am, knitting always seems to be the most popular of the yarn crafts. So, when looking for a new audiobook to stitch to, I found that this title grabbed my attention.

I decided to start The Vampire Knitting Club series since I’m an avid reader of books, especially mysteries and gothic literature. I’ve come to the understanding that many of my fellow stitchers listen to audiobooks as they work as well.

I’m not sponsored. I paid for this book with my own money, and will always give an honest opinion about everything I review.

Genre

The Vampire Knitting Club is considered a cozy mystery, also called “cozies”. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is a subgenre of crime novels that usually feature an amateur sluthe, placed in a small town or close knit community pardon the pun, and all of the violence or intimate situations happen off page. They generally focus on puzzle solving more than suspense.

Agatha Christie is a good example of written cozy mysteries. One of my favorite authors.

An example for television would be Murder, She Wrote, my favorite TV show to this day.

I was quite excited to start this book as it features a combination of yarn and mystery.

It is on the short side, the audiobook is just over 6 hours long. So it’s probably considered a novella.

The summary and the title left me thinking that this would be a light, funny type of book.

Book summary

Lucy Swift has just arrived in Oxford where her grandmother, Agnes Bartlett, runs a knitting shop called, Cardinal Woolsey. Her shop is named for a famous Cardinal who was king Henry VIII’s almoner and, I’m sure, the yarn related pun.

She’s jobless due to downsizing, boyfriendless due to him being a jerk, and desperately looking forward to seeing her beloved grandmother. Lucy sees her on the street as she walks towards the shop and calls to her! But Agnes Bartlett is walking away and ignoring Lucy completely. That’s not like her. Lucy follows her down an alley, but there’s no one there.

She decides to wait for her in the shop, maybe she’d been wrong and it wasn’t her at all. But how could she not recognize her own grandmother?

Lucy has just left her parents in Cairo, Egypt, where they are archeologists on a dig. She couldn’t be more ready to spill her heart out to her grandmother and get some much needed advice about her future.

There’s a Twist

However, upon arriving at Cardinal Woolsey’s she finds that her grandmother has passed on peacefully in her sleep, almost a month before.

While Lucy’s head is still spinning, she attempts to clean up the disorderly yarn shop that she was sure her grandmother would never leave in such disarray. Wondering if her grandmother was, perhaps, showing her years before passing on, she finds her grandmother’s glasses on the floor… Agnes was practically blind without them. Wait, what was that sticky brown liquid next to them? Enter the incredibly attractive Rafe Crosyer, who claims to have been a friend of her late Grandmother, but wasn’t aware of her death either. She feels an instantaneous pull towards him, but also feels like she should keep her distance. He offers his sympathy and his card, if she needs anything day or night just call. But was he really friends with Agnes?

After being adopted by an adorable kitten Lucy decided to call Nyx, she meets Detective Inspector Ian Chissim, he’s handsome, flirty, and seems to sincerely hope that she decided to stay here in Oxford. She doesn’t know if she should tell him about the glasses, she doesn’t have enough proof.

Before she can wrap her head around what’s already happened.  Lucy is shocked to find out that she, who can’t knit a stitch, has inherited her grandmother’s shop and the flat above it.

Before she can catch her breath, she finds out that a wealthy man wants to buy her newly inherited shop. It was what Agnes wanted they assure her. But her will said something entirely different. Once again she has to wonder if her grandmother’s mind was all there.

Lucy hopes that her Grandmother’s assistant, Rosemary should be able to help her piece together what happened. However, she’s not exactly the nicest of ladies and the news that her grandmother had let Rosemary go a few months before make her less sure then ever that she knew what she was doing.

The Problem

Lucy has plenty on her mind and her plate. Between figuring out if her grandmother really died peacefully, trying to make a decision about the yarn shop, and wondering who was actually trustworthy. Then she comes face to face with none other then her Grandmother. Lucy is reeling, but amazingly happy to see her! There’s just one problem, well there are a few problems, but the most pressing is that her grandmother is now a vampire.

With the revelation of her grandmother being alive, or rather, undead, comes a few more.

1. Lucy is supposedly a witch, 2. There is a nest of vampires that come for knitting club bi-weekly, 3. Her grandmother was murdered and she has to investigate it herself since alerting the police would mean the tricky detail of there being no body would come to light. Lucy can’t help but hope that there is a number 4. Her grandmother is being tricked and manipulated into thinking that all this is true. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen in real life….does it?

Reader

Sarah Zimmerman is the vocalist for this audiobook and the rest of the books in the series. It took me a couple of chapters to get used to her ironic/sarcastic tone.

I assume because the main character is quite sarcastic, she chose that tone for the first person narration. After hearing her various voices and accents, I found her to be a wonderful voice actress.

Each character has a different voice and speech pattern that is quite enjoyable. You can easily tell the difference between them as well which is always something I look for in an audiobook.

The Review

I stitched away while I listened to this book. This was only about a 6 inch square when I started and is well over 2 feet here. I used up the skein of purple Big Twist Value yarn completely for reference.

Through the book Nancy Warren creates irony filled situations without it being laughably ridiculous or making it completely unbelievable.

I would definitely call this a light book. It’s clearly meant to be comedic, if the title didn’t let on. However, it does have serious and well thought out moments.

I love the setting of a timeless street in Oxford, England. The tea shop next door sounds like somewhere I would love to be. I hope that it comes in more in future books.

It’s an overall good storyline, though I found it a tad predictable at times. The author definitely captures and conjures the images of the characters and their surroundings well enough for you to “see” it in your minds eye. Even having guessed the books direction, I found myself really enjoying the journey of the storyline.

Most of the violence happens off page when it does happen and I didn’t feel like there was suddenly a monster in every shadow after finishing it right before bed. I believe it is not made to be listened to with children, but on you’re own discretion I couldn’t see why a 16 year old and up couldn’t read the first one at the very least.

I found Nyx to be one of my favorite characters as she seems to have the best idea of what’s going on at all times. Raf is an excellent character as well and projects the gentleman you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley perfectly, his affection for wool and skill for knitting makes him quite swoon worthy to my stitching soul.

My critic

Lucy is an interesting character, however she is prone to stereotypes, which in a book full of stereotype breakers can be maddening. Even when it’s fairly obvious that someone isn’t what they seem, she grasps for the stereotype and maintains that thought process until she knows the person better.

The book, at times, tries to make her seem wiser and like her grandmother, but it also definitely makes her out to be the atypical millennial who doesn’t know which way is up. It’s probably exacerbated by the fact that everyone around her is decades if not centuries her senior.

If you’re looking for an Agatha Christie look alike you’ll be disappointed. But if you want a humorous mystery with vampires, witches, murder, and yarn. Then I would recommend it. I’ve already started the second book, stitches and witches so we’ll see how the blanket progresses.

The Vampire Knitting Club Book 1

The link above is not an affiliate link, it just takes you to the book on Audible.

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