No sooner has old Edna Ellett, of Oliver, Ind., died of the flu than her relatives gather to squabble over her estate, from the big- ticket items like the house she shared with cousin Kitty Graf to the quilt she left unfinished. Violist Joan Spencer, who knew Edna from her volunteer work at the local senior center, watches from afar as Edna's overbearing daughter, Mary Sue, dutifully described as good- hearted by innocent acquaintances, tries to outmaneuver her smarmy brother, Leon, and her long-suffering sister, Alice, for a line on their mother's vanished will. As Mary Sue is marshaling the forces for the Alcorn County Quilt Show, however, she's unceremoniously killed, and Joan, whose orchestra has been engaged to play for the show, suddenly finds herself thrown together again with her infuriatingly inconstant beau, Lt. Fred Lundquist, to find the killer and the still- missing will. As if the Elletts weren't enough of a handful--Leon even wants to date Joan--she also has to deal with the thief who's been stealing computer chips from campus computers, and the thief (the same one?) who's made off with her daughter Rebecca's bravely individual entry in the quilt show. Despite some nifty last-minute twists that enliven a moribund plot, the substitution of quilting for the musical background of Murder in C Major (1986) is likely to discourage more readers than it attracts. And such indiscriminate traffic in felonies only reminds you that too many quilters spoil the cloth.