When Benni Harper's friend passes away, he leaves his Broken DIS ranch to his daughter Shawna and her husband. Instead of raising cattle, the couple decides to turn it into a dude ranch. And while their intentions may be good, business is not. Leave it to Benni and her family to come to the rescue. Her plan? To tempt vacationers with a quilting and western extravaganza. It works. And soon, Benni and her family are cooking, quilting, and horseback riding with a whole slew of western tenderfoots." But the west gets a little too wild when one of the ranch dogs discovers a human bone on the property. It's enough to scare any reasonable guest away. To top it off, there's a rumor that one of the visitors is a nationally known travel writer, secretly working on a write-up. A bad review could easily kill business. Before long, Benni's old nemesis, Detective Ford "Hud" Hudson, is on board investigating. Together they uncover the remains of a murdered man buried in a shallow grave. Now, Benni must keep the guests safe and happy while unearthing the truth behind a terrible crime.
"This satisfying series, in which the titles all come from quilt patterns, takes a different turn as Benni Harper spends a couple of weeks on a guest ranch in California. It's not for fun: the young couple, Shawna and Johnny, who own the ranch are the daughter and son-in-law of a recently deceased friend of Benni's dad, who asked her to help them out. And she does so with gusto, enlisting recalcitrant relatives, her feisty grandmother and her new photographer husband, a quilting acquaintance, and various others to offer classes and services to get the ranch off to a solid start. But accidents happen, including earthquakes, and a decades-old skeleton turns up on the property. While the denouement feels tacked on, Benni's warmhearted openness and her deep faith make her an engaging companion, indeed, and her handsome cop husband and his Latino endearments don't hurt, either. --GraceAnne DeCandido Copyright 2004 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In Fowler's 11th Benni Harper mystery (after 2003's Sunshine and Shadow), one of the best yet in this well-written cozy series, quilter Benni comes to the rescue of Shawna and Johnny Abbot, the new owners of the Broken DIS (aka the Broken Dishes) cattle ranch, now converted to a guest ranch. The opening of the retreat goes smoothly, until a makeshift grave is discovered during the ladies' first trail ride. Finding a dead body, albeit skeletal, around Benni is nothing new, and neither is the arrival of Detective Ford "Hud" Hudson their paths have crossed before, and not to the liking of Benni's luscious Latino hubby, Police Chief Gabe Ortiz. Gabe's presence at the Broken Dishes insures more testosterone-fueled battles than the ones already boiling between Johnny and head wrangler Whip. Rumors that a syndicated travel critic is secretly among the ranch's first guests add to the staff's already abundant distress, and tempers and tensions stretch to their absolute limits. Plenty of exciting PG-rated action some mild flirtation and innuendo is as sexy as it gets will keep the reader turning the pages, while Fowler's sense of humor crops up in character names like Kitty Katz and Bunny Hopp, as well as in Benni's wise and witty personality. Agent, Ellen Geiger. (May 4) Forecast: The author won an Agatha for 1999's Mariner's Compass. She should have a good shot at winning another with this superior effort. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved