A Drunkard's Path
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.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of A Drunkard's Path for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Lover's Knot
Plume (Trade Paperback), October 2008
ISBN-13: 9780452289796; ISBN-10: 0452289793
The Double Cross
Plume (Trade Paperback), September 2010
ISBN-13: 9780452296428; ISBN-10: 0452296420
Location(s) referenced in A Drunkard's Path: Upstate New York
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A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue — A Nell Fitzgerald Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $13.00