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Spider Web
A Benny Harper Mystery #15
Earlene Fowler

Berkley Prime Crime
May 2012 (paperback)/ 978-0-425-24799-0
Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Benni Harper leads a full life in San Celina, California. She is happily married to Gabe Ortiz, her second husband. She works as the Folk Art Museum curator, and is also a rancher. Gabe is the police chief and, try as he might, he can't keep Benni from some unofficial sleuthing of her own.

As the San Celina Memory Festival preparations continue, Benni is hard at work on a Graveyard Quilt being made by the Coffin Star Quilt Guild. She is not, however, prepared for a sniper to strike, injuring Officer Bret Mitchell. This is the second sniper shot at a local police officer, and Benni worries that her husband could be next.

Gabe has his own concerns about this, and begins to suffer from nightmares and PSD from his tour in Vietnam. Benni wants to help him, but he becomes more withdrawn. Is the mysterious stranger, a new woman in town, also a woman from Gabe's past? Benni is wary of her, and the situation serves to add to the ongoing list of worries she faces.

I've enjoyed most of the books in this series, but this is not one of my favorites. I do love the realistic characters, and the accurate portrayal of life in a California town steeped in history. The mysteries in this story are compelling, but I feel that there was too much emphasis on Benni's state of mind .Benni came across as a weaker woman than she has in previous books, and I found that disappointing.

Overall, the book is an interesting read, despite my misgivings about Benni. If you have followed this series, you won't want to miss this latest installment. The sub-plots involving family members such as the lovable Grandma Dove, are entertaining.

Cozy mystery lovers with an affinity for quilting, western settings and family values will be drawn to this book, and in fact to the series.

Other reviews of titles in this series

Broken Dishes, No 11
Delectable Mountains, No 12
Spider Web [review 1] [review 2]

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012
© 2012