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Spider Web (Benni Harper Mystery) Hardcover – May 3, 2011

79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 “Benni’s warmhearted openness and her deep faith make her an engaging companion, indeed.” — Booklist

 “No wonder Benni Harper fans are so faithful." — Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Earlene Fowler was raised in La Puente, California, by a Southern mother and a Western father. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Allen, a large number of quilts, and twenty pairs of cowboy boots.

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Product Details

  • Series: Benni Harper Mystery (Book 15)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425240983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425240984
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greetings from a native Southern Californian!

I've been married 37 years to my high school sweetheart, Allen, who was born in Kansas. We met when we were fifteen. We don't have children, but are owned by a spoiled and extremely intelligent Pembroke Welsh corgi named Boudin. We call him Boo. Though I'm a native Southern Californian, my parents are not. My father was born in Colorado and grew up in a migrant worker family. My mother's family were cotton sharecropers in Arkansas. I've been writing since I was in my late-twenties. I published my first novel, Fool's Puzzle, when I was in my late thirties. I like to ride horses when I can (and luckily, have friends who own horses), walk my dog, travel with my husband, sometimes do scrapbooking when I have time. I have three sisters. I'm the number two sister.

I was named after my father and my grandfather. Both of them are named Earl. The first book I remember reading by myself was Curious George. I think it was the one where he went to the circus. My favorite fictional character is Old Yeller. He had courage and loyalty, two virtues I admire greatly. If I wasn't a writer, I'd love to be a dog trainer. Back in the 1980's, for a year and a half, I taught a weekly craft class at a retirement home in Covina, California. My youngest member was in her late sixties; my oldest was ninety-eight. Those fifteen women taught me way more than I ever taught them. I love strawberry ice cream and fried tacos. Together or separately. Doesn't matter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Books and Chocolate TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Benni Harper, curator of San Celina's folk art museum, is busy coordinating the first ever Memory Festival, a celebration of memories of loved ones through quilts, crafts, scrapbooks, photographs, oral history and other tributes. The fair promises to be a wonderful event but is soon overshadowed when a local policeman is wounded, the target of a sniper who has a vendetta against cops.

Benni is concerned for her police-chief husband, Gabe, who may also be a target and is showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder through violent nightmares about his time in Vietnam. As if this isn't enough, a mysterious woman moves to San Celina who shows more than a passing interest in Gabe, leading Benni to wonder if this is yet another woman from his past.

The Benni Harper series is my favorite in the amateur female sleuth genre. Fowler has a way of telling the story that makes the characters seem real and I like how she brings out Benni's faith in God without this being Christian fiction. By that I mean it is simply a natural part of who the character is without being a primary focus of the story.

With the theme of celebrating the memories of loved ones, Fowler did a good job of letting the reader share Benni's feelings as the character remembered when her mother died and writes, "Losing your mother when you are young changes you; the ground beneath your feet is never quite firm enough. You never completely trust happiness again." And in this description as Benni recalls the death of her first husband, Jack: "His death was no longer a painful throb but more of a soft pinch to my heart. Though you never believe it in those first horrific moments of loss, life does keep moving forward."

Spider Web was a good story and kept my interest throughout.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sara Berger on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Spider Web by Earlene Fowler
This latest Benni and Gabe Ortiz story is a fascinating one. In the course of collecting stories for memory books, Benni hears some wonderful and touching recollections of life during World War II. The story of Winnie the nurse in the Philippines was difficult to put down.
There is a sniper in town, targeting police officers, and this has sent Gabe into the nightmares of Post Traumatic Stress from his service in Viet Nam. Benni tries to help him herself, but he denies needing or wanting help.
Meanwhile, in a lighter frame, Grandma Dove and her sister Garnet are trying to `help' Benni's father, Ben, with his love life. He doesn't want their help and is trying to escape from their ministrations, all the while complaining to Benni.
A new woman has come to town and is asking Benni a lot of personal questions. Who is she and what does she want? Is she a former lover of Gabe's? Benni doesn't trust her and has friends look into her background.
All of this is happening during the run-up-to and excitement of The Memory Festival. There were booths with quilts, others with pottery, books, scrapbooks, photography, and other ways to remember occasions and loved ones. As Chair of the Festival, Benni is constantly on the go and meeting with folks. She is determined to not chair this festival again (an I know what she means).
I heartily recommend this book published in hardcover by Berkley Prime Crime, ISBN: 978-0-425-24098-4.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In San Celina, California, a sniper fires at the driver's side window of a parked police car near the town courthouse. Nobody was hurt as the vehicle was empty at the time of the shooting. Town police chief Gabe Ortiz leads the inquiry wondering what the motive could be.

Gabe's wife Benni Harper is busy with her myriad of jobs as a museum curator, rancher and caring for her beloved older relatives while also preparing for the first annual Memory Festival where she and the Coffin Star Quilt Guild will show their Graveyard Quilt for the first time in public. At the same time Benni scrambles with not enough hours in the day, a woman comes to town seeking a retirement home. However, instead she meets with Benni to discuss Gabe.

The latest Harper whodunit (see State Fair) is a fun amusing cozy due to the antics of the lead couple's eccentric family and friends. The sniper mystery is cleverly set up with readers, Benni and Gabe wondering about the motive; while the female stranger in town adds quite a wallop to the mix. This is a strong entry as even the most powerful people sometimes need help.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of the Benni Harper series since Earlene Fowler first introduced us to Benni Harper in FOOL'S PUZZLE and her latest, SPIDER WEB, is a great addition. Other reviewers have provided a synopsis of the plot so no need for me to repeat that again. Why do I like the book? One of the things I appreciate most about Ms. Fowler as a series writer is that she hasn't grown tired of her characters and she hasn't fallen into the formulaic trap. In some series, you can almost identify in which book the author gets bored and is just cranking out another story without much thought. Not so with Ms. Fowler. Her characters continue to grow and evolve and in SPIDER WEB she has expertly woven several apparently disparate threads together into a cohesive story. I especially appreciate the introduction of Gabe's PTSD, which is sadly relevant today with returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms Fowler deftly acknowledges the price combat troops pay, sometimes triggered years later by a chance event, without making them pitiful. I admire Ms. Fowler's ability to make us laugh, make us cry and make us think all within the same story and I've often thought that Benni Harper is someone I'd love to know. I look forward to many more stories about Benni and San Celina!
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