cover image Spider Web: A Benni Harper Mystery

Spider Web: A Benni Harper Mystery

Earlene Fowler. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-24098-4

Benni Harper and her second husband, police chief Gabe Ortiz, face two unexpected situations in Fowler's well-paced 15th mystery set in San Celina, Calif. (after 2010's State Fair). First, a sniper takes a shot at a police car parked near the courthouse, shattering the driver's-side window. Fortunately, the vehicle was unoccupied. Second, a strange woman, supposedly scoping out the central California coast for a retirement home, finagles a meeting with Benni, who's discomfited by how much the woman knows about Gabe's past. Meanwhile, Benni has plenty to do in her role as museum curator, rancher, and devoted daughter and niece to elderly and spunky relatives. In addition, she has the forthcoming Memory Festival to organize. While series fans might lament the relative dearth of quilting lore, a roster of mildly eccentric family and friends and a wealth of good humor are sure to please cozy readers. (May)