Yes, mystery lovers, read on! Our mystery unfolds all during the year in a continuing series posted monthly here on our Home Page…
In February we introduced our mystery. You met our narrator, young Brooklyn-based “Quilt Detective,” Mitzi McDruben, along with her faithful receptionist Ruthie, and able assistant, Raoul.
Mitzi took on her first quilt case: The Mystery of the Missing Quilt. Her mission? To find a missing quilt. Her time frame? Exactly eleven days. Her problem? No one knows what the missing quilt looks like! In this month’s episode, Mitzi explains her sudden absence. She’s been tracking her suspect, Board Member, Margaret McDougal, all the way to Paducah, Kentucky.
Read a new mystery episode each month as Mitzi searches for clues leading to the missing quilt.
Following each episode, take the Secret Passage to receive your instructions for making or finding eleven different quilt blocks in EQ5 or EQ6.
During the final episode, Mitzi solves the mystery, and YOU discover how to put your blocks together in EQ5 or EQ6 to form a secret “Sky Lights” mystery quilt.
Our “Sky Lights” quilt was designed especially for EQ learning fun by Fran Iverson Gonzalez from Edmond, Oklahoma.
Our mystery series was written by Megan McMorris, a Free-lance author from Portland, Oregon.
And now, grab your gumshoes. Tilt back your chair. But keep one eye on the door as you get ready to solve…The Mystery of the Missing Quilt!
Episode Seven: The Bridal Shower
“What are you looking at?” I looked over at Raoul, who was expertly moving his Ford Mustang down the Long Island Expressway while still managing to smirk at me, as he loves to do.
“I just never knew it would come to this, Mitzi. A bridal shower on Long Island? What’s next? Picking out matching baby clothes for little Buffy?”
“You’d be well advised to keep your beady eyes on the road, young man.”
To be honest, this wedding shower stuff wasn’t such a thrill to me.
But then again, I hadn’t anticipated making such headway
with Suspect Number Six, Board Member Margaret McDougal.
And it had taken a trip to Paducah, Kentucky to reach this point in the investigation….
I’d received an anonymous tip on the phone, claiming that there was a sighting of the Mystery Quilt at the American Quilter’s Society (a.k.a. AQS) Show in Paducah.
Ruthie had taken the message. So I hadn’t had the honor of talking with the tipper myself. I had a few things in mind to say to this character, but the problem with anonymous tips is that they tend to be … well… anonymous. Therefore, I could only wonder at who had led me astray: The “sighting” had been a false alarm, you see.
But the trip hadn’t been a waste after all. Not in the least. Shortly before I left, Raoul (who was all set to take over for me in the questioning of the next suspect) found out that our suspect was in fact going to be taking a trip to Paducah herself.
At first I thought this was too coincidental, if you know what I mean.
The thought that I was heading straight for a trap did not escape me.
When I arrived in Paducah, though, it all made sense. The place was crawling with quilters! And our suspect, a shop owner, had a booth at the show.
Margaret McDougal, Suspect Number Six, was 75 years old and biting into a chocolate brownie when I sauntered over to her booth in the Wall Quilt area under the banner Cyber-Fiber Cafe.
“Hello, I believe you’ve caught me on my chocolate break,” she smiled, revealing some chocolate-covered teeth. “You ought to try one of these before they run out — they’re at the concession stand.”
“They do look tasty,” I agreed, wondering how exactly I would be able to extract a clue out of someone in the middle of a bustling trade show.
“I’m sorry, where are my manners,” she wiped her hands on her chocolate-colored pants (how convenient!), extending her hand. “Margaret McDougal, owner of ‘Cyber-Fiber Cafe’ in New York City.” She explained her store’s name. Turns out she has the only combination quilt store/internet-connected coffee house known to woman. Their customers can, as she put it, “surf, sew and shop” for fine fabrics, coffees, quilt design software and naturally… chocolate in the shape of quilt blocks.
“Hi, I’m Maggie,” I assumed my alias. “I live in New York as well, which is why I wanted to meet you.” (I thought I might as well admit where I lived. It might give us more to talk about.) “I was just visiting relatives in Louisville, and I knew that the show was going on so I thought I’d take a scenic road-trip for the weekend. I’m trying to get into quilting myself, so I figured I’d get some good ideas.”
Another woman brushed by me, crossing over behind the table next to Margaret. “Sorry I’m late, Margaret. I saw an old friend and lost track of the time.” She put a Diet Coke on the table, opening it with a fizz.
“That’s quite all right, Ginnie,” Margaret replied. “If you hadn’t taken your sweet time, I might never have met my new friend. She’s from New York too!” She outstretched her arm to me, bowing her white-haired head down. Ginnie looked up at me and smiled as she raised her Diet Coke can to her lips, as if she’d just now noticed me.
“I’m needing a break myself,” said Margaret. “Why don’t you accompany me on my break, Maggie, and you can fill me in on all your quilting plans. I’ll be back in half-an-hour, Ginnie.” Margaret came around the table to me, putting her arm through mine. “Shall we? I’ll show you where they’re selling those tasty chocolate brownies. I call it doing market research.”
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she took quite a liking to me during our chocolate-filled break. And I managed to extract plenty of interesting quilting morsels from her (after all, I was supposedly learning to quilt and she was the expert). Plus the brownies were great. And in the process, I also managed to get invited to her granddaughter’s wedding shower!
“You absolutely must come,” she had said, her eyes gleaming. “To be honest, I think it’ll be such a bore myself. I would’ve thought that passing around china patterns would have gone out of style by now, but who knew they’d still be carrying on as if they didn’t have anything better to do! Anyway, I’d love you tospice up the festivities. It’ll do my daughter and granddaughter some good to see that little old ladies aren’t the only ones who quilt! I’ve been trying to get them to start stitching for years. I even made a quilt as my granddaughter’s shower present — it’s the same block that I made for my daughter’s baby blanket. Such a beautiful block it is.”
And don’t think I didn’t ask the obvious. “Oh really?”
I sat forward in my chair as she took another bite of her brownie
(chocolate chip, this time. The woman knew her chocolate!).
“And what block is it?”
She looked up, furrowing her brow. “Why, you know what? I don’t even believe I know what it’s called. No one has even thought to ask me the name of the block. It’s just stars and squares. How silly of me! See, I can tell you’re going to be a great quilter already. Your grandmother will be proud! But you’ll be able to see the block when I give it to Maxine — that’s my granddaughter. I can even show you how to make it sometime. You’ll have to come to see my shop! So what do you say, will you be my date for the shower?”
I didn’t have the heart (or the option) to say no. Which is how I came to be sitting in Raoul’s Mustang in my all-purpose black dress, camera on my lap, ready to snap a Polaroid of the block in question. Raoul was serving as both chauffeur (I don’t have a car) and getaway-driver in case anything tricky should arise. He’d graciously accepted the offer to wait outside in the car for a few hours. (He had a new book on Mount Everest he was looking forward to cracking into, so he didn’t mind being idle for a couple hours with no interruptions.)
As we passed into Garden City’s limits, with streets named Pine and Maple and manicured-lawns-with-picket-fences, I suddenly felt silly to have felt the need to include Raoul as a backup (this was hardly Alphabet City we were talking about).
It never hurts to err on the safe side, though. Especially when you’re dealing with the Mystery Quilt.
“Do come in,” the woman at the door smiled at me. “And you are …”
“Maggie, I’m so glad you could come!” Margaret rounded the bend at a fast clip, embracing me in a familiar hug. “Mary, this is the lovely girl I was telling you about that I met in Paducah. Maggie, this is my daughter, Mary.”
I shook Mary’s hand, looking for similarities. Clearly the friendliness wasn’t genetic, as it was clear that Mary thought her mother was quite loony to invite a perfect stranger to such an intimate gathering. I found it rather sweetly odd myself, but that didn’t stop me one bit from making myself at home, entwining my arm in Margaret’s as her date, as she led me to the kitchen.
“I brought some sinful chocolate brownies from the shop just for us to nosh on,” she said in a whisper. “Shall we?”
As the rest of the guests mingled and arrived, Margaret and I dove in to the brownies. “I think I’d go quite mad if I lived in the suburbs again,” Margaret said. “Did it for 40 years, and that’s quite enough for me. The city spoils you rotten, and I love every second of it,” she giggled. “My daughter, Mary, thinks it’s mad to live on the Upper West Side by myself. Oh, she tries to get me to move here and I just won’t hear of it. What would I do without a corner store, you know what I mean? And needing to commute to my shop??”
I was becoming quite smitten with Margaret McDougal (which was strictly against the rules, seeing as she was technically a suspect). But our private party couldn’t go on forever (the “official” party had to go on, to be exact). Soon we were all gathered in a circle, oohing and aahing over various china patterns and lingerie and bath bubbles as Margaret and I elbowed each other, rolling our eyes. (Thanks to Margaret, I was spared the agony of actually having to pick out a gift — she wouldn’t hear of my bringing a present. “You’re my date,” she declared. “Your presence is a present itself.”)
And the best was saved for last — when Margaret stood up to present her gift. I joined her with my Polaroid. “Let me get a few snaps of you once she opens her gift,” I said when she looked at me inquiringly.
“Well, what a lovely idea. How thoughtful of you!” she said as she placed her gift on her granddaughter’s lap. If she only knew.
I slammed the car door shut, startling Raoul as he was engrossed in his book. “I got the goods,” I dropped the Polaroids on his lap. He shut his book, taking out his folder of quilt blocks to match them to the mystery block.
“Raoul, I think I’m in love.” I looked longingly at the front door where Margaret had hugged me, pressing her card into my hand with a promise of my first quilting lesson.
“What? I thought only girls went to those things.” He looked at the door as girl after girl filed out.
“I’m in love with Margaret McDougal and the whole idea of quiltmaking,” I declared, sighing as I started the car. (I took over driving duty so he could play quilt detective.)
“Girl, get a grip.” Raoul turned to the task at hand. It wasn’t until we turned back onto the Long Island Expressway that Raoul let out his trademark whoop.
“I’m in love with Margaret McDougal, too, because she’s led us closer to the Mystery Quilt,” he held up a block from his folder next to my Polaroid. “Meet McDougal’s beloved block. No wonder it doesn’t have a name — it’s a combo: Nine Patch and Friendship Star.”
To be continued…
Is Margaret McDougal as motherly as she seems? Where did Raoul get the Ford Mustang? Will we ever tell you where we found actual chocolate blocks in the shape of quilt blocks? And will Mitzi really take up quiltmaking?
Mitzi puts another quilt block into her clue list next month when she continues her search in the Mystery of the Missing Quilt.
Now YOU help Mitzi out by drawing the Star and Nine-Patch block in EQ5 or EQ6. You’ll find step-by-step instructions in Mystery Quilt Lesson #7.