I’m not really a busy body, I’m a quilter.
I work in my grandmother’s quilt shop, Someday Quilts, and I take art classes. I have my boyfriend, Jesse, his daughter Allie, and the ladies of the Someday quilt group to keep me busy. You would think that’s enough, right? Well, somehow I’ve gotten this reputation for sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. I was complaining to our town’s librarian, Dru Ann Love, about it the other day. She looked up from the latest James Patterson to point out that it wasn’t an entirely unfair characterization. Dru Ann likes murder as much as I do, but she keeps it fictional. I would too, if dead bodies didn’t keep turning up all around me. And as far as sticking my nose into it, well, I have my reasons.
First of all, I don’t like to see bad things happen and do nothing. My grandmother, Eleanor, bakes a pie or offers a donation. That’s her way of helping. I ask questions. I look around, and sometimes, I even break into places, though I don’t like Jesse to know that. He’s the town’s chief of police, and prefers me to stay out of trouble.
But mainly, I stick my nose in because I’m good at figuring out who did it. And I think it’s because murder, to me, is a lot like quilting. To a non-quilter, a quilt is just a pretty pattern with nice fabrics cut up and sewn back together. Looks like a lot of work, maybe even looks impossibly difficult. But to me, a quilt is a logical series of decisions, usually with a plan in mind. Just like a murder. Most quilters can look at someone else’s finished piece and figure out how it was put together. That’s what I do with a murder. I look until I figure it out.
And what am I looking for? In even the most perfect looking quilt, there are mistakes. No matter how careful or experienced the maker, every quilt has small errors – corners that don’t quite match, a stitch that’s bigger than the rest.
If I wanted to find the mistakes in a quilt I would start at the top and stare at every square inch until I found them. I don’t, of course, because that would be rude. But when someone is a killer, I don’t care about being rude. I start at the top and keep looking. And eventually I find the mistake. And once I find that, I’ve got the killer. And, as much as I hate being thought of as the town busybody, I do like knowing that with my help Archers Rest is staying the nice, quiet town it was when I moved in a year ago.
Except, of course, for all the murders.
You can read more about Nell in THE DEVIL’S PUZZLE, the just released fourth book in the “Someday Quilts” mystery series. The first book in the series is THE LOVER’S KNOT.
Clare O’Donohue is the author of four Someday Quilts Mysteries, as well as Missing Persons; the first in the Kate Conway series. She is also a freelance television producer, and has worked on shows for The History Channel, Food Network, truTV and more. She lives near Chicago, IL. Visit Clare at http://clareodonohue.com
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
** Clare has generously offered to give away one set (that’s 4 books) of her Someday Quilts mystery series. To enter, leave a comment with a valid e-mail address in the comment box. Please break it up using (at) and (dot), like domain(at)host(dot)com. One entry per person and this is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address. Contest ends on October 4th at 6pm EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified by e-mail and has 2 days to respond. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **