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Kansas Troubles [Mass Market Paperback]

Earlene Fowler
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 15 2002 Benni Harper Mystery
After a whirlwind marriage to San Celina Police Chief Gabe Ortiz, Benni Harper is excited to visit her Kansas hometown. At a rowdy backyard barbecue, she meets Tyler Brown, an aspiring country singer with a promising future--and a fascinating past. Once, Tyler had lived the simple Amish life. Now she's determined to make it on her own selling her exquisite handmade quilts. But Tyler's gifts--and her life--are cut short when she's murdered. Out of his jurisdiction, Gabe is frustrated to sit on the sidelines while his friends are investigated by his own sleuthing wife. And Benni realizes that her hasty marriage will be much like Kansas weather: unpredictable and bound to be stormy...

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Newly married California museum curator Benni Harper travels to Kansas to meet her in-laws in this third of Fowler's quilt-pattern series (after Irish Chain). Police chief Gabe Ortiz, her husband, assures her that everyone in his small hometown will love her, but Benni, whose father, eccentric Aunt Dove and Uncle Arnie are driving from California to be with them, isn't so sure. At a party given by Gabe's sister, she introduces herself to Tyler Brown, whose quilt on the sister's living room wall she admires. Tyler, who says she left her Amish family a year ago to pursue a singing career, is visibly upset and says she's being harassed. Later that evening, Tyler's body is found, her head bashed in, leaving Gabe's childhood friends suspects in the murder. With the help of her sister-in-law, Benni attempts to identify the killer and, in the process, learns more about the pasts of her husband and his friends than she's sure she wants to know. Complicating matters further and adding comic relief to this grim tale are periodic calls from her family as they work their way across the country.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

As cowgirl-turned-quilter Benni Harper might have expected, marriage to San Celina (Cal.) police chief Gabe Ortiz is no bed of roses. On her maiden voyage to Derby, Kansas, to meet her bridegroom's family, she finds them up to their Stetsons in murder. Local feed-and-grain scion Rob Harlow's newest girlfriend, country singer Tyler Brown, has been bashed to death with a brick, and everyone in town is a suspect. It's an especially rich field, since Tyler was AWOL from an Amish husband who couldn't get divorced as long as she lived, and her current activities weren't calculated to win new friends. Despite her distracting misgivings about her own husband's secrets, Benni's sharp eye for quilt patterns provides the crucial clue. And for that matter almost the only clue in Benni's third outing (Irish Chain, 1995, etc.), more notable for its double- wide raft of suspects and its affectionate prairie background than for its tight plotting. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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KANSAS. LAND OF sunflowers, golden wheat fields, occasional roads of brick (though none yellow as far as I could see), and the more-than-occasional tornado. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kansas, Quilts and Murder Aug. 10 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Benni Harper and her new husband, Gabe Ortiz leave California for a vacation in Kansas so that Benni can meet Gabe's family and old friends. The experience is stressful for Benni because she knows very little of Gabe's background or former life. As usual, Gabe is not into explaining things to Benni and they are constantly locking horns in between their flirting. Gabe's sister shares Benni's love of quilts and asks for her help in setting up a local quilt show. In the mean time, the murder of a young woman singer named Tyler takes place. She happened to be dating Gabe's old friend Rob and he is a suspect in her death. Tyler was also a runaway wife from the local Amish community and a superb quilter. When Benni sees the last quilt that Tyler made, she discovers some clues that could lead to the identity of the killer.
There's a lot of fascinating "quilt talk" in this book and some interesting facts about the state of Kansas. This is the third book in the Benni Harper series and I'm now committed to reading them all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Going home is never easy... June 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Many people dread their first meeting with their new in-laws, it does not help that Benni and Gabe married after only knowing each other 3 months nor that Benni insists on keeping her last name (that of her dead husband) instead of taking Gabes. Meeting Gabe's family is hard enough, but after the murder of a beautiful young singer, Tyler Brown, Benni finds herself deep in a murder mystery where her husband's best friends are all prime suspects. She and Gabe struggle to find their footing in their marriage which seemed so right in California but under the scrutiny of his family seems ill advised. Discovering Tyler's true background as an Amish wife who has fled the community resulting in banishment from her family is startling. How did her life with the "English" lead to her death? Bennie is thrust into danger as she gets closer and closer to identifying the murderer. Will Gabe be able to protect her? Ms. Fowler's writing is fast paced and the story moves well. I did think there were a few loose ends in the story but nothing that will keep me from reading the rest of the Benni Harper mysteries. They are currently all on the top of my reading list. I love all the characters and enjoy seeing them fleshed out in each of the books, they have depth and multi-layers to them which I really like. Gramma Dove is an absolute hoot!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cute 'n corney May 9 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is good for high school girls. The characters were about as flat as the Kansas landscape and not too colorful. What's with all the Coke instead of it's real name: Coca-Cola? Ple-e-ease. Too many characters had tightening around their mouths and eyes,and la-de-da didn't it all just end hunky-dorey with all their cowboy stuff and country songs and churchey junk. What's with all the fist raising done by the main character? I can't believe what passes for good reading today. I know I'm not about to read another one of this Bennie Harper stuff, I'm just used to better. I guess this book may appeal to christian country bumpkin types who don't have much of a life beyond songs by Rany Travis and the like. This writer ought to read some of the better "English" (that's England - across the ocean, get it?) writers who really know how to write. But, the story was somewhat cute in its own way
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid entry in this series Jan. 21 2002
By CMBohn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really like the Benni Harper series. She's independent, strong, and happily married. That's a nice combination. We also have a lot in common, since I was born in Texas and live in the West right now.
This book finds Benni and her husband Gabe on a trip to meet his family. Benni's husband is the silent type, and she soon discovers that she doesn't know as much about him as she'd like to. There's a murder (of course) and Benni can't help getting involved (also of course). Benni is having trouble bonding with her in-laws when she suspect them and everyone else of being involved in murder. Gee, my in-law trouble are so normal. Anyway, lots of fun. And if you like quilting, there's some great stuff in this book about the Amish tradition.
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