Thursday, April 3, 2008

Book Review: Mariner's Compass

By Earlene Fowler © 1999
Published by Penguin Books Ltd.
1999 Agatha Award Winner

It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything for the Book Awards Reading Challenge. In fact, I had almost decided to give up on the challenge altogether, but then I came across one of my picks during a recent trip to the bookstore and decided to get back on track. Seven more books to read by June 30...

Not usually a reader of mysteries, I only included Agatha-winner, Mariner’s Compass, on my book list because of the title, assuming it might have something to do with one of my favorite hobbies, quilting. In the process, I think I’ve discovered a new favorite author in Earlene Fowler.

Mariner’s Compass is one in a series of mysteries involving Benni Harper, an ex-cowgirl, folk-art expert, and yes, quilter, who apparently finds herself in unusual situations on a regular basis. The story opens with Benni discovering she has inherited the estate of one Jacob Chandler, a man she has never heard of or met. The only stipulation of the will is that she must stay, by herself, in the inherited house for a period of two weeks. Perplexed by how this man knew her, and intrigued by the mystery of it all, she decides to follow through, despite the concerns of her husband, family and friends. Thus begins Benni’s hunt for clues that lead to even more questions about her past – the answers to which, Benni may rather not know.

The back-stories of Benni’s family and marriage histories, as well as her spirited grandmother’s attempt to save the Historical Museum from the grips of the crooked mayor, added both depth and humor to the story. The mystery of Jacob Chandler had me guessing right to the end. I was hooked on Mariner's Compass from chapter one, and definitely look forward to reading more of Benni’s adventures in the future.

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