Earlene Fowler began writing the Benni Harper mysteries many years ago and each is based on a quilt pattern. I had never heard of a State Fair Quilt pattern and at first, thought that Ms. Fowler was deviating away from the quilt theme to her books. This is the 14th book in the series set in the fictional town of San Celina in California.
The one thing that bothers me (and I really don't know how you can avoid it) is that as characters are brought in, we are given their background. Whether it be the first book you are reading in the series (out of order) or if it's been a while and you need reminding, the information definitely needs to be in there, but with so many characters introduced early on, I found it difficult to actually get into the story.
Earlene Fowler is a gifted writer and I've enjoyed following Benni Harper in each of the mysteries. I have to say that her grandmother, Dove, is my favorite character though and what a lovely name for a gray haired lady.
From the Cover:
For Benni, the annual San Celina Mid-State Fair is a much anticipated break in her normal routine of overseeing museum exhibits, temperamental artists and stubborn cattle. This year there is a special showing of traditional African American quilts. When the exhibit's main attraction--a replica of a story quilt made by historical quilting icon Harriet Powers--is stolen, Benni suspects it is more than mere thievery.
Benni soon learns that underneath the fun, the fair has become a focal point for certain people who are angry at his year's choice for fair manager, Levi Clark. And when the theft leads to a cold-blooded murder, Benni will have to search through a crazy quilt of of clues to discover who in San Celina's seemingly idyllic society is really a wolf in sheep's clothing...