Yarn over Murder

Maggie Sefton. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-25842-2

The devastating wildfire that struck Northern Colorado in 2012 dominates Sefton’s somewhat plodding 12th knitting mystery featuring Fort Connor, Colo., accountant Kelly Flynn (after 2013’s Close Knit Murder). Early on, the wildfire threatens the ranch of Jayleen Swinson, and Kelly and her friends rally to rescue Jayleen’s alpaca herd by moving it to Andrea Holt’s ranch in nearby Poudre Canyon. As if this move doesn’t cause enough chaos, Connie Carson shows up to accuse Andrea of stealing her husband, Jim. Also present is Andrea’s ex-husband, Dennis, who’s still hoping to repair their marriage. When Andrea is found dead from an apparently accidental fall, Connie, Dennis, and Jim all come under suspicion. With local police preoccupied with disaster relief, it’s up to Kelly to find the culprit. The rapid growth of the fire, and the human response to it, are powerfully portrayed, relegating the slowly-paced murder investigation to a poor second place. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (June)