Fool's Puzzle (Benni Harper Series #1)

Fool's Puzzle (Benni Harper Series #1)

3.9 15
by Earlene Fowler

View All Available Formats & Editions

Benni Harper starts over as curator of a folk-art museum after her husband's death, but when an artist is found dead and her cousin is accused, the clues lead to a different truth about her husband's death.See more details below


Benni Harper starts over as curator of a folk-art museum after her husband's death, but when an artist is found dead and her cousin is accused, the clues lead to a different truth about her husband's death.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Young, recently widowed Benni Harper, the foolhardy heroine in this predictable debut, leaves her ranch after her husband's accidental death and becomes the curator of the folk-art museum in the coastal California town of San Celina. Benni is frantically trying to assemble a quilt show when she discovers a local potter stabbed to death in the museum studio. Benni's flaky 21-year-old cousin Rita, whom Benni had seen driving away from the museum, disappears and becomes a prime suspect. When Rita calls asking for money, Benni determines not to tell the police, whose new chief, Gabe Ortiz, has warned her not to interfere in the investigation, and decides to clear Rita by finding the real murderer. The day that the quilt show opens, Benni finds a plastic bag filled with money in the attic of the museum but waits to tell Ortiz until after the opening party. When he goes to the attic to investigate, he finds, instead, the body of the museum handyman. Fowler connects all the deaths in her plot, leaving no threads hanging, but Benni's reckless actions and her love-hate relationship with the enigmatic Ortiz yield an unconvincing narrative. Mystery Guild alternate. (May)
Library Journal
Albenia ``Benni'' Harper, a youthful widow, serves as curator of an impecunious folk-art museum in San Celina, California. Just as the deadline for a quilting exhibit arrives, she spots her cousin fleeing from the scene of a murder. Hastening to clear her cousin's name, Benni stays one jump ahead of police, at the same time learning disturbing facts about her husband's death. Hectic action (mostly driving hither and yon) and dialog accompany the amateur sleuth, who actually reads a how-to-be-a-p.i. book for assistance. The start of a promising new series.
Stuart Miller
Benni Harper debuts in Fowler's neat little mystery set in the central California community of San Celina. Benni, a recently widowed rancher's wife, now serves as curator for the town's folk-art museum and overseer of the attached artists' cooperative. Just before discovering the body of one of the local artists the night before the museum's quilt exhibit is to open, Benni sees her own cousin leaving the scene. Despite the warnings of the local chief of police, Benni cannot help probing into the situation, especially when it seems that the murder in some way is connected to her own husband's accidental death some months before. Fowler depicts a small ranching community and its struggling ranchers with conviction, and her plot is compelling. Her character development could use some work--the subplot about the attraction between Benni and the local police officer comes dangerously close to cliche. All in all, though, this is a very promising first novel, presumably the first in a series. Keep a lookout for the next one.

Read More

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Benni Harper Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Eve K. Sandstrom
"I thoroughly enjoyed Fool's Puzzle...Fowler's characters are terrific...a super job."
Noreen Ayres
"In a single brushfill, Fowler captures people we know, the good, the bad, the bizarre, while keeping us on the edge of our seats..."
Margaret Maron
"I loved Fool's Puzzle. Earlene Fowler is one of the freshest voices to come along this year."

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >