cover image Irish Chain

Irish Chain

Earlene Fowler. Berkley Publishing Group, $18.95 (309pp) ISBN 978-0-425-14619-4

This well-textured sequel to Fool's Puzzle, also named for a traditional quilt pattern, intricately blends social history and modern mystery. Folk art museum curator Benni Harper is involved not only with an upcoming cross-stitch sampler exhibit but also with the Senior Citizen Prom and a local oral history project. Before the dance, she hears of a feud between retired merchant Brady O'Hara and Oralee Reid, the retirement home roommate of Miss Violet, her former teacher. On prom night, Benni discovers the bodies of Brady and Miss Violet. As her new love, temporary police chief Gabe Ortiz, investigates, Benni tries to stay out of his way, but she unravels the threads of the mystery herself while interviewing local Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII. Fowler's easygoing style, along with down-home Benni's charming personality, makes this a blue-ribbon cozy. (Mar.)