The Devil's Puzzle (Someday Quilts Series #4)

( 6 )


Book #4 of the Someday Quilts Mystery series

Nell and the crafty Someday Quilters undertake their first cold case in the latest addition to this bewitching series.

After their quilting retreat upstate, the Someday Quilts ladies return to Archers Rest to prepare for the town's big anniversary celebration. But their plans are unexpectedly derailed by the discovery of a human skeleton in Nell's grandmother's backyard-making Eleanor the prime ...

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The Devil's Puzzle (Someday Quilts Series #4)

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Book #4 of the Someday Quilts Mystery series

Nell and the crafty Someday Quilters undertake their first cold case in the latest addition to this bewitching series.

After their quilting retreat upstate, the Someday Quilts ladies return to Archers Rest to prepare for the town's big anniversary celebration. But their plans are unexpectedly derailed by the discovery of a human skeleton in Nell's grandmother's backyard-making Eleanor the prime suspect in a murder. But a skeleton isn't the only thing that's long been buried. When a wave of vandalism raises fears that the town's bygone history of witchcraft has been reawakened, secrets are unearthed that could change life in Archers Rest forever. In addition to a thrilling mystery and the warm camaraderie of the ladies, The Devil's Puzzle is full of the quilting lore and techniques that Clare O'Donohue's readers adore.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Near the outset of O'Donohue's satisfying fourth cozy set in the Hudson River town of Archers Rest (after 2010's The Double Cross), Oliver White, a prominent English artist, shows series heroine Nell Fitzgerald a grim discovery: a skeleton at the bottom of a hole dug in the rose garden of Nell's grandmother, Eleanor Cassidy. Oliver was planning that night to propose to Eleanor, who runs a quilting shop in Archers Rest, but as Oliver indicates to Nell, this unsettling find has left him in no mood to discuss marriage. While Nell investigates what appears to be a homicide, Mayor Larry Williams, who owns the local travel agency, seizes on the mystery of the skeleton to promote the town's upcoming Fourth of July and 350th anniversary celebration. Nell's special relationship with the Archers Rest police chief, Jesse Dewalt, and her helpful group of quilters add warmth and interest. (Oct.)
Library Journal
A skeleton in Nell's (The Double Cross) grandmother's backyard brings up talk of witchcraft and other long-buried secrets.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452297371
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Series: Someday Quilts Series, #4
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 531,411
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

CLARE O’DONOHUE is a freelance television writer/producer. She produced television’s most popular quilting show, Simply Quilts, on HGTV, and she is currently producing and writing for a variety of television crime shows, including Forensic Files. This is her first novel.

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Reading Group Guide


It has been a busy summer for Archers Rest's unofficial sleuth Nell Fitzgerald. Along with the town's upcoming anniversary celebration, for which she is organizing the quilt show, she and her grandmother Eleanor's beau Oliver have planned a surprise renovation of Eleanor's backyard in preparation for his marriage proposal. In fact, apart from the occasional prodding that she marry the town's sheriff Jesse, things are going according to plan for Nell.

However, the renovation uncovers a thirty-year-old skeleton that dashes any hope of a proposal, incites immediate controversy in the town, and leads Nell and Jesse on an investigation that casts even the most highly respected members of the community, even Nell's own grandmother, as suspects involved in cold-blooded murder decades in the making.

The Devil's Puzzle is a book about finding the truth in the details, about doggedly pursuing the facts despite the odds. It is about being true to oneself and one's community, regardless of how it paints us in the public eye. It is a book about trust, honest, and forgiveness.


Clare O'Donohue is a freelance television writer and producer. In addition to the someday Quilts series, she is the author of Missing Persons.


  • Who is Nell Fitzgerald? What is your impression of her at the start of the book? How would you describe her relationship to the residents of Archers Rest and how does that relationship help or hinder her role as honorary detective?
  • When the skeleton is uncovered, it sparks a lot of curiosity and controversy throughout the community. What does the discovery mean for Nell? What is your take on Glad's reaction to the discovery? What is your opinion of the mayor's plan to exploit the skeleton to promote Archers Rest?
  • During a quilt club meeting, Bernie opines that, "if the majority of quilters were men, quilting would be taken more seriously as the art form it is, instead of treated as a quaint old tradition." What do you think of this notion? Where does quilting fit into the world of art? What role does quilting play in the Archers Rest community?
  • While discussing marriage, Eleanor says, "someone once said to me that a woman can live her whole life without a man and be complete, but a man needs a woman." What is your opinion of this sentiment? How do you see this idea reflected in the relationship between Nell and Jesse? Between Eleanor and Oliver?
  • It is discovered much later in the book that part of the killer's plan was to implicate others in the community. Who were your early suspects, and why? Which clues did you find most compelling?
  • A lot of the tension in The Devil's Puzzle centers on a community's presumptions about its citizens. How are Glad, Eleanor, Ed, Mary Shipman, and the mayor seen in the community? How does town gossip inform each of their lives? How does that gossip complicate Nell's investigation?
  • Nell and the members of the quilt club share a passion for quilting. In fact, Nell observes that, "it's amazing what you can tell about a person by their quilts." What is your opinion of this idea? How much of oneself can and should be expressed in her art? What connection do you see between Nell's passion for quilts and her passion for sleuthing?
  • Eleanor admits to being ashamed of marrying Winston for financial security. What was your reaction to the revelation of this marriage? How did it inform your view of Eleanor, if at all?
  • Family plays an important role in The Devil's Puzzle. How would describe the relationship between Nell and Eleanor? Between Mary and Glad? What qualities in those relationships do you see reflected in Molly's determination to solve the disappearance of her great uncle Winston?
  • Before the murderer is revealed, Nell collects more information about each of the suspects, and many secrets are revealed. Whose story most surprised you? Whose story did you find most relatable? Were there any characters about whom your opinion changed by the end of the book?
  • Ultimately, the mayor's crime could be considered a crime of passion. What is your opinion of the mayor's story? How do you see his actions throughout the book and what does it say to you about the mayor's character?
  • What future do you see for Nell Fitzgerald? How has her relationship with her grandmother changed? How has her relationship with Jesse changed? How has her place in the community changed?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    There is a lot going on in Archer's Rest.

    First, Nell and Oliver are planning a huge surprise for Eleanor. They are going to replant the beautiful rose garden in her backyard and bring it back to the way it was before Grace, the previous owner died. But the surprise turns out to be on them as while digging up the garden they discover the skeleton of a human body. The mystery is started as Nell and her Chief of Police boyfriend, Jesse, start to gather clues to determine who the deceased was and how he came to be buried in rose garden.

    Archer's Rest is also planing a a big anniversary celebration for the town. There will be a parade, a carnival, a quilt show, and fireworks to mark the 350th year since John Archer had founded the town that bears his name.

    Add to that, someone is vandalizing everything from the school to the cemetery, and the rumors are flying around town about ghosts and witches.

    As the clues and many secrets are revealed the job of sewing them all together may be too much for Jesse even with Nell's help. Thankfully they have many friends willing to assist them in solving this mystery.

    My Thoughts
    Visits to Archer's Rest are like a trip to visit friends. Friends that understand perfectly my overwhelming fabric stash and my vast collection of quilting books and magazines.

    My favorite passage from this book, "We are all joined by needle and thread, by the usefulness and beauty of a quilt, and by the friendships that form because of it."

    I love the way Clare writes, she describes the scene, makes her characters shine, threads together a complex plot with so many suspects, and keeps it all tight and real. This time there were so many pieces I didn't know how they were all going to come together but she sews everything up with missing a stitch.

    This is the perfect story to cozy up with as the weather turns cooler. Sit back and enjoy as Archer's Rest works together to not only pull off a fine festival but uncovers the real "devil" behind this mystery puzzle.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Plume, A Division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    A Great Mystery

    This well-crafted mystery was a delight to read. The storyline kept me intrigued as it came to an exciting and surprising finish. The mystery plays a large part in this book, but it's the relationships and camaraderie among the residents that keeps me coming back. With an endearing cast, great dialogue and the sense of small-town community, this is the best book yet in this character-driven and charming series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    Fun & Spooky

    Great addition to the series! Loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    If you like fast moving stories with a lot of what seems like ol

    If you like fast moving stories with a lot of what seems like old friends you will love all of the Clare O'Donohue books . Can't wit for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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