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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Round-Up: Someday Quilts Edition

Someday Quilts is a series of cozy mysteries centered around a quilt shop on the Hudson, and written by Clare O'Donohue.  I learned about the series some years ago, because she and some quilty friends of mine are in the same guild, and read the first two novels when they came out.  I rediscovered them when Beadboy3 was in his book-pulling-down phase, and picked up the other novels she had written since the first two.

The Lover's Knot:The first book struck me as better -- more complex and bit edgier -- than most crafty/cozy mysteries.  Nell flees NYC and heartbreak to stay with her grandmother in a small town on the Hudson, and learns to quilt in her grandmother's store.  O'Donohue's refusal to make the characters one-dimensional is what sets it apart from other novels like this.  The victim and murderer in particular defy easy categorization, which makes the crime poignant.

The Lover's Knot:The second novel wasn't quite as good; I wasn't too interested in the new characters, and the solution to the mystery came out of left field.

The Double Cross:The third novel moves away from Archer's Rest, the setting of the first two, to a would-be quilters' retreat (I hope someday to go to one, but not like this one!).  Once again the characters were complex and realistic, and O'Donohue added lots of bizarre, intriguing clues.  The solution, however, while perfectly logical and "fair," involved disappointingly mundane explanations to the weirdness.

The Devil's Puzzle:A good novel all around -- fascinating new characters (I hope we hear more from them), welcome backstory to Nell's grandmother and her store, and a decent mystery and explanation.

Cathedral Windows and Streak of Lightning:Two e-novellas which serve as good introductions to the series.  The mysteries are a bit lighter, and the solutions a bit more feel-good.

The Double Wedding Ring:My favorite of the series.  The mystery is good and allows us to learn more about the local police chief's background as a NYC cop.  Moreover, quite a bit of the novel focuses on the relationship between him and Nell, and events that could have led to cliched misunderstandings and melodrama were instead handled by the characters with satisfying maturity. 

I'm looking forward to more from O'Donohue!

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