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The Double Cross: A Someday Quilts Mystery    by Clare O'Donohue order for
Double Cross
by Clare O'Donohue
Order:  USA  Can
Plume, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I have greatly enjoyed Clare O'Donohue's first two Someday Quilts mysteries, but I have to say that her newest one, The Double Cross, is by far my favorite. While it still has some of that chick lit feel that distinguishes the Someday Quilts mysteries from other cozies, the premise gives it a vintage atmosphere that calls to mind the golden age of mystery.

Her love life on the rocks, Nell Fitzgerald is more than happy to spend a week at a new quilting themed bed-and-breakfast helping fellow quilter Suzanne teach a week-long retreat on journal quilts. Also along for the trip are Nell's grandmother Eleanor and Bernie, who has a history with the B&B's owners. When they arrive, the retreat proves far different from what they imagined. The B&B is not ready to open, owners George and Rita seem to have no clue what they are doing, and all the class participants live in town - and have no real interest in quilting. Suzanne perseveres, but as soon as it looks like her students are finally getting into the subject matter, George is found dead. What Nell thought would be a quiet week away now turns into a race to clear Bernie's name and figure out who in the small group is the real killer.

Country retreats make an excellent setting for an old-fashioned murder mystery, and O'Donohue uses this atmosphere to her advantage. The B&B reeks of mystery as soon as Nell and her friends arrive, and it isn't long before odd things start to happen and tempers flare as a diverse group is brought together, each harboring their own secrets. As Nell has already been thoroughly introduced in the first two Someday Quilts mysteries, O'Donohue was able to focus more on her penchant for finding trouble and sticking her nose into other people's business, thus taking the focus somewhat off her and placing it more on the mystery, which will delight fans of the genre.

Chick lit fans, though, will not be disappointed as Nell's relationship with Jesse continues to twist and turn. Plus, Bernie's story of her high school sweetheart and best friend will have romance lovers dying to know exactly what happened. Even quilters might learn a thing or two from the story. The Double Cross proves that old-fashioned mysteries are not dead. Clare O'Donohue has definitely hit her stride, and I expect the Someday Quilts mysteries to continue carving out their niche in the genre.

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