Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mystery Book Review: A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue

by
A Nell Fitzgerald Mystery

Plume (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-452-29558-0 (0452295580)
ISBN-13: 978-0-452-29558-2 (9780452295582)
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $13.00

Review: Nell Fitzgerald is crafting her first quilt, going out on her first date, but not involved in her first murder in A Drunkard's Path, the second mystery in this series by Clare O'Donohue.

Nell is working in her Grandmother’s quilt shop Someday Quilts and has joined the Friday evening womens' quilting circle. And Jesse Dewalt, the police chief and a widower with a small child, has asked her out for dinner. She waited for him at the restaurant for over a half hour, believing she had been stood her up. But Jesse had a good excuse: a young woman’s murdered body has been dragged out of the Hudson River, with no identity on her. A black and white picture of a woman in a polka dot dress, however, is reportedly found at the scene but disappears before Jesse can see it.

Meanwhile, a famous artist, Oliver Wilde, has now come to town for a showing, and to teach a course in art. Nell, who had always wanted to try to be an artist, desperately wants to go – but not alone. Her grandmother and one of her quilting friends goes with her. The two elderly women convince her to sign up for the course. It isn’t long after the course starts that Oliver White becomes infatuated with Eleanor, Nell’s grandmother. Nell notices during her art lessons Oliver is also taking a special interest in Sarah, one of the young students. They would go into his office and she would come out in tears. A few weeks later Sarah is found dead in the Hudson. Is this murder connected to the one from several weeks earlier? Is there a serial killer in Archers Rest? And how does Oliver White fit in? He is now dating Nell’s grandmother. Is he a killer? What does anyone really know about him – or the women that were killed?

Nell, against the advice of Jesse, goes to Sarah’s apartment and there she finds another black and white picture of a woman in a polka dot dress. This has to mean something. How are these occurrences related? Being an inquisitive sort, and not one to necessarily follow suggestions to the letter, and against Jesse’s instructions, Nell starts to get involved in the murders, drawing her quilting circle into the action thus creating her own little crime solving circle.

A Drunkard's Path is a captivating mystery, well told. But it's also a tale of relationships, those of a close knit (as it were) quilter's group and of a young outsider, seemingly poor and homeless, and how she comes to have a place in the group. Overall, this is a solid follow-up to the first book in the series, The Lover's Knot, and a very satisfying cozy in and of itself.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Drunkard's Path and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): In the sleepy town of Archers Rest, Nell Fitzgerald is finishing her first quilt and preparing for her first date- with Police Chief Jesse Dewalt. When Jesse stands her up, it turns out he has a good reason-the body of a murdered young woman has been discovered near the Hudson River.

Meanwhile the members of Nell's quilting circle encourage her to take drawing classes with the famous artist Oliver White. When Nell's professor meets her grandmother Eleanor, owner of the Someday Quilts shop, he seems instantly smitten. But once another woman's body is found outside her grandmother's home under a blanket of snow, Nell begins to patch together clues and follow a path of evidence that suggests her professor may also have a degree in the art of murder.

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