Berkley May 3 2011, $25.95
In San Celina, California, a sniper fires at the driver’s side window of a parked police car near the town courthouse. Nobody was hurt as the vehicle was empty at the time of the shooting. Town police chief Gabe Ortiz leads the inquiry wondering what the motive could be.
Gabe’s wife Benni Harper is busy with her myriad of jobs as a museum curator, rancher and caring for her beloved older relatives while also preparing for the first annual Memory Festival where she and the Coffin Star Quilt Guild will show their Graveyard Quilt for the first time in public. At the same time Benni scrambles with not enough hours in the day, a woman comes to town seeking a retirement home. However, instead she meets with Benni to discuss Gabe.
The latest Harper whodunit (see State Fair) is a fun amusing cozy due to the antics of the lead couple’s eccentric family and friends. The sniper mystery is cleverly set up with readers, Benni and Gabe wondering about the motive; while the female stranger in town adds quite a wallop to the mix. This is a strong entry as even the most powerful people sometimes need help.