Monday, January 9, 2012

A Drunkard's Path: a Someday Quilts Mystery featuring Nell Fitzgerald by Clare O'Donohue

Genre: mystery series

Twenty six year-old Nell Fitzgerald has sought emotional and physical shelter at her grandmother's followed a failed romance.  Finally getting her footing (and taking advantage of the free rent), Nell has decided to take some art classes while she works part-time at her grandmother's quilt shop Someday Quilts.  The books begin with Nell being stood up as she tentatively enters the dating world again.
Maybe I shouldn't say tentatively because Nell doesn't just go home and sulk about her no-show date, Police Chief Jesse Dewalt.  Instead she seeks him at his office, only to learn that he is investigating a dead body found in the river.

As the reader will quickly learn, Nell can not stay out of a mystery and she is at the river bank within minutes.  So begins, The Drunkard's Path.  Add in a world famous artist who falls for Grandmother Eleanor, but whom Nell suspects might be connected to the first dead woman found in the river and also to the SECOND dead woman found just feet from Eleanor's yard.  To spice up things, Eleanor's quilt group takes on the challenge of helping Nell with an "unofficial investigation" into artist Oliver White and into a young student Kennette who has suddenly appeared in Archers Rest.  Of course, I was delighted that one member of the quilting group was a retired librarian who used her excellent information seeking skills to aid Nell.  This was a fast fun read that fits into the mystery series genre nicely, but doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary. 

As I have mentioned before, I like mystery series if the author "fleshes out" the main character and supporting characters as the series develops.  I can't say whether this happens with O'Donohue because this is the first Someday Quilt mystery I have read.  I was somewhat taken aback by the cavalier treatment given to all the laws that Nell broke as she tried to solve the case.  And one big stumbling block for me within all amateur sleuth stories, including television stories such as Murder She Wrote, is that dead bodies keep showing up by these people.  If I knew someone like Nell and murder seemed to follow her around, I would find a new friend!!  I might even ask her to leave town!

Another side note of disappointment on my part -- In the story both Kennette and Nell who have never quilted before whip up a couple quilt tops in record time, with almost no effort.  From the viewpoint of someone who stills considers herself a beginning quilter, despite having sewn for over fifty years, I find those aspects unrealistic and detracting.  Even having Kennette select "drunkard's path," a somewhat complicated curved pattern, as her first quilt top was silly to me.  But then, these characters are artists so I guess their aptitudes outshine mine!

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