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Posted April 18, 2004
SATISFYING AND EXCITING
If mysteries can be warm, satisfying, and exciting, Earlene Fowler does it with her Benni Harper series. For those who haven't met Benni yet, she's quite a protagonist; she's a cowgirl, a quilter, a sometimes detective, and the happily married wife of handsome San Celina , CA Police chief Gabe Ortiz. Beginning with the cowgirl part, Benni lives on a ranch on California's Central Coast. Moving on to the quilter, Agatha Award winner Fowler has titled this book, the 11th in her series, 'Broken Dishes,' which is also the name of a quilt pattern. Described as a simple pattern made up of triangles 'arranged in a four-patch square,' it achieves the effect of broken dishes by placing the square at different angles. Now, while the quilt pattern may be simple the problems faced by a ranch familiarly known as Broken Dishes are not. This is a 5,000 acre spread once owned by Joe Darnell, Benni's father's best friend. Joe had mortgaged the ranch to the hilt, wishing to save land that had been in his family for half a century. His idea was to turn the place into a dude ranch. But, then Joe had a heart attack and died. Now, the ranch is in the hands of his daughter, Shawna, and her husband, Johnny. Unfortunately, it looks like the dude ranch may become a dud unless something turns business around - Benni to the rescue. Her idea is to lure customers with the promise of real Western hospitality, home cooking, hunting, fishing, trail rides, barbecues, and rodeos. Good plan and all goes well until the first guests discover a skeleton in a poorly made grave. Of course, someone's been dead and buried for quite a while. Nonetheless, it's up to Benni to keep the guests happy and feeling safe. Her nemesis, 'Hud' Hudson shows up and it's discovered that the late whoever was murdered. To complicate matters further there are whispers that a well known travel writer is among the guests. None of this will look well in print. Fowler fans know that she stitches a well connected plot with both surprises and fun along the way. 'Broken Dishes' may well win this author one more Agatha.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2009
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