The Double Cross: A Someday Quilts Mystery
by Clare O'Donohue
Review by Gayle Surrette
Plume Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780452296428
Date: 28 September 2010 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Nell Fitzgerald is happy in her new life, working in her grandmother's quilt shop, learning to quilt, and allowing herself to be the artist she always wanted to be. She's much better off than with her former fiancé, or she was until her relationship with Chief Jesse Dewalt hit a rough patch. So naturally, she jumps at the chance to help Suzanne when she's asked to do a quilting class on journal quilts at Patchwork B&B. If only Bernie didn't see this as a betrayal.
I read The Lover's Knot when it came out, but somehow missed A Drunkard's Path. However jumping into book three having missed book two was no problem. The same interesting mix of characters who have now settled into their roles are present. Even if there wasn't a mystery to pull the characters together to help one another, they're a wonderful mix of women who are developing abiding and supporting friendships.
The Double Cross is a mystery on many levels. First, when Bernie hears that Suzanne is going to be teaching a class at Patchwork B&B and that several of the quilt groups members are going with her for the weekend, she feels betrayed and hurt. Bernie had dated George Olnhausen throughout high school and Rita, now his wife, had been her best friend. Why is it that after all these years and through Bernie's own marriage is she still upset by the idea that anyone she knows would associate with them? Then there's the Inn when they finally arrive – it's frankly not ready for guests and it turns out all the people signed up for the class were strong-armed by George to attend. The tension between many of the class attendees is thick enough to cut with a knife. Something is going on.
This time Nell has learned to take things slow and think before acting. Things are obviously not what they seem, but which things are off-kilter, and which are just generally weird, is a bit hard to determine. What makes things a bit more strained is that this far in the mountains they can't get cell signals and so have to drive to town to use their laptops or make phone calls. Inconvenient, but nothing to worry about until it looks like there might be a scam going on.
Knowing a police chief just might come in handy, but having one drive up to visit because the phone didn't work is even better. Or it would be if they were still an item--or are they? Is this a final breakup or just a clearing of the air. Nell doesn't know and with everything that's going on neither do we.
As with The Lover's Knot, there are lots of small stories that are woven and entwined with the main plot. The fairly large cast of characters aren't there to fill space, they all have a part to play in the mystery and in many of the subplots. O'Donohue manages to keep all the threads interesting and the tension just high enough to keep you turn the pages to find out what happens next.
The Double Cross makes the point that cozy, craft mysteries don't lack for high tension and an exciting conclusion.