Mariner's Compass

Earlene Fowler, Author
Earlene Fowler, Author Berkley Publishing Group $21.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-425-16891-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 322 pages - 978-0-425-17408-1
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-50124-5
Hardcover - 978-1-57490-401-7
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-22170-2
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-42752-4
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A bizarre inheritance, a dangerous quest and a political battle are the main events of Benni Harper's captivating sixth adventure (after Dove in the Window). Benni's work at the San Celina Folk Art Museum is interrupted when she unexpectedly inherits the estate of a stranger named Jacob Chandler. His house in Morro Bay is worth $200,000, but Chandler's will stipulates that Benni can keep the windfall only if she lives in the house for two weeks--alone. As expected, her protective husband, police chief Gabe, is none too happy about this development. But Benni is unwilling to turn down the money, and more important, her curiosity is piqued. After all, why would someone she'd never met make her his sole heir, especially when it turns out that many others were expecting to benefit from his death? To find the answer, Benni embarks on a dangerous search for Chandler's motives, following a series of cryptic notes that he's left for her all over California. Meanwhile, Gabe has his hands full keeping peace between San Celina's mayor and Benni's formidable Gramma Dove, who leads a sit-in at the Historical Museum to thwart the mayor's plan to convert it into a restaurant. As Benni's inquiries lead to unsettling information about her mother, who died when Benni was six, Fowler captures her plucky heroine's secret anxieties, but offsets them with a good dose of humor. Benni's need to know the truth about her family imbues the novel with alluring intimacy and suspense. And Chandler's penchant for wood carving provokes engaging descriptions of that craft, which accompany Fowler's usual bits on quilting and food. Chandler's puzzles test Benni's relationships with her husband, father and grandmother in this excellent addition to a notable series. (May)
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