Saturday, May 21, 2011

I received an invitation...

Annie's Attic Mysteries.
I like the concept, but after FINALLY having finished Mary Kruger's painful knitting mystery I'm very wary about crafting related "mysteries".

BTW, let me tell you about Mary Kruger's Died In The Wool... OMG! It so very well pointed out that you really need to know your subject before you start writing... Now, I have to say that there might be some differences in the American way of doing things and the way I have learned, but I really find it hard to believe the differences would be that... big and obvious. Nevertheless, those details were easier to overlook, but the main point that made the book unenjoyable to me was the main character's behavior. She forces herself into the investigation, holds back information from the investigator, and then gets angry with him, because he arrests one of her friends. Mind you that she lives in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone and are practically "friends" with everyone - had he arrested ANYONE it would have been "her friend", and she would probably have pouted about it. Then this friend's wife, who is also the main character's best friend, gets angry with her, because... I really don't understand. Because her husband was arrested for a murder that happened in the friend's yarn shop? Or?
The main character is also supposed to be a knitting designer, and doesn't know anything about internet, selling patterns online, free patterns online - and this book was published 2005.

"Are you going to have any patterns available?"
"Of course I am. That's the whole point."
"I didn't mean that. I meant, sample patterns."
Ari stared at her. "Give them away, you mean? The whole point of this is to make money."
"A lot of people have put free patterns online", Barbara said.
"Really? Why would they do that?"
"Sometimes it's the only way for people to publish their ideas", Kaitlyn said quietly.
Ari turned to her. "Have you done that?"
"What, and lose my copyright? If I tried to publish it in print later, I wouldn't be able to because of that." She paused. "When I was first learning to make web pages, I did put a design on my own site, though, a simple one. A scarf in garter stitch."
"Well, anyone can make one of those, so that's okay."
"It was for beginners", Kaitlyn said defensively.
"And it was nice", Susan said firmly. "Of course, though, she's right. Why give something away for free?"
Barbara was leaning over Ari's shoulden. "Ari, haven't you ever looked at anything to do with knitting online?"
"No. I told you, I think the Internet is a waste of time..." 
blah blah blah
"Maybe." Ari was frowning at the screen. "people really put their patterns online without expecting payment?"
"I hate to say it, but I've gotten some good ones that way."
"Hmm. maybe that's an idea. What do you think?" She turned to ask Kaitlyn.
"Why?" Kaitlyn said.
"As samples. You know I do that every now and then in here. It gets people to see what I do, and I usually get customers from them."
Kaitlyn was frowning. "Well, if you want to."
"I'll think about it. I think I'll check out some other sites here tonight", she added.
blah blah blah

Free knitting patterns. Now who would put those on the web? 
blah blah blah
Typing some more, she st back, waiting for results. "Free knitting patterns", she read aloud, scanning one group of type. It had a web address highlighted at the bottom. Below, there was another grouping and then yet another. Shew glanced up to see the number of results for her search, and blinked. It numbered in the thousands. "That many?" she muttered, and clicked on the address for the first site.
Now, this is the results I get today... it wouldn't have been much different 2004. Knitty has been around since 2002, Knitting Pattern Central since 2004, I started my blog 2006 and Ravelry was launched 2007. In 2004 Magknits was around and Fibertrends' felted slipper clogs was a free pattern online... oh, that I didn't know that then... *sigh* Today the pattern has sold over 8000 copies. Think about that a little, miss Kruger. Who indeed puts their pattern online for free and loses the copyright? What?

Anyway, the knitwear designer in the book clicks the first link that appears, and gets someone's personal page where the owner provides free patterns, and among these she spots her own design. It seems that the owner of the site has been lifting patterns from books, leaflets and prints, and publishing in her site. Now, remember, this was the first result of the list, according to miss Kruger. The knit designer returns to the "main screen" and finds out that ALL the sites giving knitting patterns away are of the same quality.
"Some of the sites were for businesses that sold patterns, like hers. Others gave credit to the original publishers. A lot of them offered original designs, free of charge. Too many, though, had been pirated.
Ari was more than disturbed now. She was angry and appalled, as she leaned back in her chair. Kaitlyn had mentioned designers losing their copyrights if they published online, but this was far worse. This was direct infirngement, direct theft. She wondered if the publishers knew. She wondered if her own designs had been stolen."
It - naturally - turns out that that indeed had happened, and that plays a big part in the whole murder investigation.
But - the author of the book knows so painfully little about yarn, spinning, knitting, keeping shops, keeping sheep, designing... uh. Murder investigation, even how people behave, act, react... The main character uses a lot of time thinking about how everyone is going to be SO upset, but totally ignores her own 7-years-old daughter. She whines "running your own business is 24/7. So is being a mother. I have to find some time to work on new designs. And somewhere in there I have to get housework done", but she isn't doing any of this much in this book. I think she has 2-3 SHORT discussions with her daughter, PLANS sitting down to design, but, ah, cannot, because she is interrupted, and then she goes off to Internet to google her name again. Yap yap yap yip yap. Whine whine, yada yada, blah blah blah.
No. No more Mary Kruger for me.

If you want to read kntiting related murder mysteries, read Maggie Sefton. It's not the best mystery book I've ever read, but if I'd give Mary Kruger 1-2 on the scale 0-10 (Yes, I have had worse.) I'd give Maggie 7-8.

If you'd like a copy of Mary Kruger, pocket, bought from bookstore, but read by the dinner table, so it's full of stains, thrown discusted away several times, picked up again, after lots of sighing, being waved in the air during upset exclamations and explanations on how one actually spins, or that you can hardly garrot anyone with wool, because it's almost as elastic as rubber, and tends to break before it gets tight enough to actually stop anyone from breathing, and that you don't keep your sheep free on your front lawn. You just don't. If you know ANYTHING about sheep, that is. Anyway, if you want a copy which is in no way mint condition, but you get the second book, that IS in mint condition - I think I have opened it once - with it, just tell me and I'll send it to you. :-)

Anyway, back to attics. I love Elizabeth Enright's "Return to Gone-Away" and Villa Caprice! I DROOL over the piles of Edwardian clothes... I have dreams about places like that... table after table covered with interesting, beautiful, amazing things, shelves, cupboards, closets, cabinets, chairs, even floors, everything covered with colors, patterns, lovely things... *sigh*
One could wish Annie's Attic Mysteries are similar, though I'm not quite happy about the idea I get from looking at the homepage of the series.

So - there we are again. If I want to read something, I need to write it myself ;-)
I just hope I had the same selfconfidence I had 10 years ago :-D Now I'm not so sure I can anymore :-)

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