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Spider Web (Benni Harper Mystery) por…
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Spider Web (Benni Harper Mystery) (edição 2011)

por Earlene Fowler (Autor)

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The Memory Festival is a celebration of recollections and loved ones through crafts. But when a local cop is wounded by a mysterious sharpshooter who seems to have a vendetta against the police, Benni fears for "her" loved ones, especially her police chief husband.
Título:Spider Web (Benni Harper Mystery)
Autores:Earlene Fowler (Autor)
Informação:Berkley Hardcover (2011), Edition: 1, 320 pages
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Spider Web por Earlene Fowler

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Spider Web is book 15 in the Benni Harper mystery series. You don't have to read the earlier books first, but I would recommend doing that if you happen to like cozy mysteries. According to the author's note, this 2011 book is set in March, 1998. (I enjoyed the Virginia Woolf quotation at the end of the note.) A page explaining the Spider Web quilt design is between the author's note and chapter one.

Benni might live in San Celina, California, but it's a cold, wet March. She's hoping the weather will cooperate for the Memory Festival she's been organizing. She's also been working with her famous photographer stepgrandfather, Isaac Lyons, on a book that will be about what residents of San Celina think of when they think of 'home'.

Benni's Gramma Dove and her younger sister, Garnet, have buried the hatchet since Aunt Garnet and her husband, WW, moved to the Ramsey Ranch because of his Parkinson's Disease. Now they're teaming up to get their son/nephew a new wife. They figure he's been widowed long enough. Ben Ramsey is feeling persecuted. That subplot is amusing.

Another subplot, Chief Ortiz's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his young Marine days in the Vietnam War, isn't funny at all. His nightmares are back thanks to the main plot: a sniper taking potshots at the town's police officers.

Lin Snider of Seattle, Washington, claims she's looking for a home to buy and settle down. Thanks to an injudicious remark Lin makes, Benni can't help wondering if she's dealing with another woman from Gabe's past, trying to get Gabe back. The readers get to wonder if Lin is the sniper.


Chapter 1:

a. Benni remembers what the Harper ranch house looked like inside when she lived there with her first husband, Jack.

b. Mentions: Elvis Presley, 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'? (the Presley, de Leath, Burr, and Jolson versions are available on YouTube), Tennessee Ernie Ford, Patsy Cline, Vaughn de Leath, Henry Burr, Al Jolson, and Ford Taurus sedan.

Chapter 2:

a. Benni talks about what will be available at the Memory Festival.

b. Cremation jewelry is explained.

c. See book one, Fool's Puzzle, for Benni and Gabe's first meeting.

d. Benni describes two memory exhibits currently in the Josiah Sinclair Folk Art Museum

e. The Cane Fu instructor is Susan Watanabe.

Mentions: World Ag Expo [Agricultural Exposition] in Tulare, the Mid-State Fair, Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Parkfield Ranch Rodeo, National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas (the only festivals Benni's daddy feels are worth attending); Arkansas Razorbacks, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lemoyne Star quilt pattern, Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell's graveyard quilt, an Isaiah Bible verse, the Cordon Bleu,

Chapter 3:

a. Sally Schuler, San Celina sheriff, breeds Pembroke Welsh corgis. So does the wife of the new prison warden.

b. Sam Ortiz, Benni's stepson, is exclusively dating Tara, a Blind Harry's Bookstore cashier.

c. According to ettymonline.com, 'woolgathering' has been a figurative noun for idle fancies and thinking since the 1550s, derived from the poor souls who had to wander from bush to bush, gathering stray bits of wool snagged from sheep.

d. According to Benni, cowgirls call themselves ranchers.

Mentions: 'Mister Roger's Neighborhood' TV show, Opie [Taylor], 'Andy of Mayberry' ['The Andy Griffith Show'], Bart Simpson [from 'The Simpsons' TV show], Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Oxford, Mississippi; Eugene, Oregon; Route 66, Oklahoma City, and the Biblical Martha and Mary.

Chapter 4:

a. Detective Yvette Arnaud is Cajun, Hud is half Cajun on his mother's side. Yvette & Van moved from New Iberia, Louisiana.

b. The new prison warden's name is Stan.

c. Gabe dreams he's back in Vietnam.

d. Mentions: [Inspector] Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies, Tulane University, L.L. Bean, author James Lee Burke and his Dave Roubicheaux, AARP [Association of American Retired Persons[], Bouncing Betty explosives, and the Biblical Lazarus.

Chapter 5:

a. See book 5, Dove in the Window for the story of Shelby Johnson, Isaac's stepgrandaughter by his fourth wife.

b. Isaac Lyons will soon be 85.

c. Psychiatrist Pete Kaplan talks about his former WWII combat nurse Grandma Jack (Jacqueline Martha Kaplan).

d. Benni mentions the places that have been home to her (the Ortiz' current house isn't that yet) and the Oceano Dunes,

e. Isaac's favorite drink is a combination of cranberry juice and lemonade.

f. Mentions: Subaru Outback station wagon, Pismo Beach, the Dunites [of Pismo Beach], the Tet Offensive [Vietnam War], Honda, and Cowgirl Café, Pismo Beach.

Chapter 6:

a. See book 14, State Fair, for the run-in with a white supremacist group.

b. Mention: 'America's Funniest Home Videos' TV show.

Chapter 7:

a. Boone's Good Eatin' Chicken's West Coast offices are described.

b. Emory's assistant is Birdie, his receptionist is Caitlyn.

c. Van Baxter used to work for the Associated Press and 'National Geographic'.

d. Lin and Benni talk about themselves. How Gabe came to be in San Celina is explained.

e. Lin and Benni visit Templeton and Paso Robles.

f. Ben Ramsey was Cattleman of the Year in 1987.

g. Mentions: geisha girls, 'Oxford American' magazine, 'Reader's Digest' magazine, Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch [in the 1962 film, 'To Kill a Mockingbird'], Santa Barbara, Beirut [Lebanon], attorney Gloria Allred, the 'Beach Blanket Bingo' movie, Derby, Kansas; Los Angeles Police Academy, LAPD [Los Angeles Police Department], Templeton Feed and Grain, the 'LA Times' newspaper, Templeton Stock Auction, Hoover's Beef Palace Café, Templeton; UC [University of California] Berkeley, the Cattlewomen's Association, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and Tanya Tucker singing 'Some Kind of Trouble'.

Chapter 8:

a. See Book 9, Steps to the Altar, for the story of Del, one of Gabe's ex-girlfriends, putting the moves on him.

b. Parts of Oak Terrace retirement home are described, as is the Coffin Star Quilt Guild's current project, a spider web quilt. ( I chuckled at the name Vynelle William's 5-yr-old great-grandson gave it.)

c. The guild ladies talk about old things. I never knew that 'reefer' was once a nickname for 'refrigerator'. They also mention old names for 'post traumatic stress disorder.' (However,
shell shock" is the World WAR I term and 'combat fatigue' is the WWII, term. According to 'Posttraumatic stress disorder: a history and a critique' by N. C. Andreason, which appeared in the October 2010 issue of 'The New York Academy of Sciences', gross stress reaction was the term used when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-I was first published in 1952.)

d. One of the guild ladies was a World War II combat nurse and tells a gruesome story about an experience her late husband had during the war.

e. Van Baxter talks about caring for his mother-in-law, Lillian.

f. Mentions: Spider Man [Spider-Man] and Zest Soap.

Chapter 9:

a. Benni interviews Winnie Dalton about her experience as a Japanese prisoner of war during WWII.

b. Mentions: Harry Potter, Tennessee Williams, Humboldt manufacturing, Nabisco, Coca-Cola, Robert Burns, the Angels of Bataasn, Corregidor, and Vietnam/the Draft.

Chapter 10:

a. We find out which photo of Benni is on Gabe's desk and how she feels about it.

b. Miguel Aragorn's childhood nickname was 'Miggy'.

c. Mentions: Saks Fifth Avenue, Hershey's Kisses, Annie Oakley, Charlotte's Web, and William Faulkner.

Chapter 12:

a. Emory learned to make Cajun soup from Miss DeLora True, who reared him after his mother died.

b. Gabe has another nightmare.

c. The one of her favorite cop shows that Benni quotes is "Hill Street Blues'.

d. There's a description of the booths at the Memory Fair.

e. Look here for how a former Vietnam War nurse handles a mean girl whose father protested the war.

f. Mentions: 'Murder, She Wrote' and "Saturday Night Live', the Beatles, Oz, Pearl Harbor, John F. Kennedy's assassination, murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., space shuttle 'Challenger' explosion, VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars], Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, the Andrews sisters, Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven,' the Monkees' 'Last Train to Clarksville', Nikes, Khe Sahn, Tootsie Roll pops [Tootsie pops], Mel Blanc's [as Porky Pig] 'That's All, Folks!', Ezekiel Aikle's snarky epitaph, Walnettos, jelly mints, Fizzies, chicken bones candy, Necco wafers, B it-O-Honey, Mary Janes [candy, not shoes], wax bottles [small, filled with sweet liquid], sassafras drops, popcorn balls, saltwater taffy, 'Reader's Digest', and Isaac Asimov.

Chapter 13:

a. Look here for the saying on a T-shirt Emory gave to Benni.

b . Lin Snider's inn room is #312.

c. Mentions: 'Sky King' TV show, Trivial Pursuit, 'Cosmopolitan', Daffy Duck, Audubon, Aveeno, Cover Girl, Vaseline, Jergens, Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day, and Oklahoma City.

Chapter 14:

a. Benni's favorite pie is butterscotch.

b. Gabe's father, Rogelio, died of a heart attack when he was younger than Gabe.

c. Mentions: 'General Hospital' soap opera, Down Syndrome [Down's Syndrome], Port Charles, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Hasselblad camera, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, RC [Royal Crown] cola, MoonPies, and Corn Nuts.

Chapter 15 Mentions: Fort Knox and the 'Little House on the Prairie' TV show.

Chapter 16 Mention: Marilyn Monroe.

Chapter 17: Because Benni and Gabe were on their honeymoon in book three, the attempt to drown Benni is probably from book two, Irish Chain.

Chapter 19:

a. We learn who won the graveyard quilt as well as the design of the Coffin Star Quilt Guild label.

b. Mentions: Scooby-Doo, Curious George, The Runaway Bunny, Old Yeller, Five Children and It [the first book in E. Nesbit's Psammead trilogy], and Beautiful Joe.

Chapter 20 Mention: Wichita.

Chapter 21:

a. We meet Lieutenant Spider, whom Gabe knew in Vietnam.

b.. We learn about the fates of Gabe's three friends from his Vietnam years.

c. See book , , for the story about Gabe's old friend, Dewey.

Epilogue Mentions: Old Spice, Polo by Ralph Lauren, Wranglers, and Blaise Pasdcal.

I really enjoyed the memory festival and the way the subplots worked out.

Dog lovers: Gabe and Benni's Scout has plenty of appearances, ( )
  JalenV | Mar 23, 2018 |
I've been a fan of this series since its inception, and in many ways I think this fifteenth book is the strongest of them all-- which is saying a lot. There's quite a bit going on in the book: that sniper shooting at police officers, a mysterious woman following Benni around, the Memory Festival, working on photographer Isaac Lyons' latest book, and-- the coup de grâce-- Benni's husband Gabe showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But none of the plot threads are rushed, and all of them blend seamlessly into a story that's hard to put down.

There's some serious stuff going on in Spider Web, but Earlene Fowler knows how to add just the right touches of comic relief; most notably the octogenarian ladies of the Coffin Star Quilt Guild, and sisters Dove (Benni's grandmother) and Garnet (Benni's aunt). Dove and Garnet are the type of sisters who love to fuss and squabble with each other, but you can feel the love between them. These ladies have been studying something called cane fu, and all I can say is... if you see an older person with a cane who mentions taking lessons in this discipline, I wouldn't do anything untoward unless I were out of cane's reach. Just sayin'.

Fowler has proven time and again that she can hold her readers in the palm of her hand. She's created a superb cast of characters whom I care for deeply. When one of them is in danger, my heart is in my throat. I've also laughed myself silly, and shed tears of joy and of sorrow. Her series is imbued with a deep and abiding faith. For those of you unfamiliar with these books and who don't care to read anything remotely religious-- don't worry. This is faith done the way it should be. None of these people thump their chests and proclaim what good Christians they are. These folks see what needs to be done, and they quietly roll up their sleeves and get it done. No strings. No homilies. Just a simple matter of doing the right thing. Reading books like Spider Web can make you feel as though there is some good in the world after all.

Fowler is on a self-professed writing sabbatical, and for all intents and purposes it looks as though this is the end of a wonderful series. It's one that I've grown with over the years. From the beginning when I didn't like Benni's husband or grandmother and doubted I'd continue reading, all the way to now when I'm so glad that I read each and every one. Earlene Fowler's characters grow and change as the years pass. Just as real people do. Just as I have.

And isn't that a marvelous thing to say about a series of books? ( )
1 vote cathyskye | Aug 13, 2015 |
Excellent. Just a bit heart-wrenching. Really good plot, although I guessed the bad guy early on. I enjoy the maturity of this series and the author manages to never be preachy. I will admit, even though I am among the faithful, that sometimes the references to faith can be a bit heavy handed, but never so much that it detracts from the enjoyment of the books. I love all the characters and the relationships between them. I hope this is a series that will continue for some time to come. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
Decent installment in the Benni Harper series. The mystery was good -- not immediately guessable. The motive of the killer, however, is never made real, which is in a way realistic. Sometimes the Benni character is a little over the top. She takes little bits of information and creates a mountain out of them. Also, she talks about her husband's privacy but then tells more than a few people about his problem, Nevertheless, I like the series. It's a an interesting look into a totally different culture. ( )
  phyllis2779 | Nov 12, 2011 |
Benni Harper rides again! There's a sniper loose in her hometown, and her police chief/husband must find him or face probable dismissal. Benni is busy organizing a festival where the sniper will make yet another appearance. Meanwhile, an unknown woman turns up in town asking questions about Gabe and making Benni very uncomfortable. Plus, there is lots of tension in the Harper/Ortiz marriage due to all of the happenings in town. It's a nice update to a very pleasant series. ( )
  khiemstra631 | Jun 9, 2011 |
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Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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Music flowed out of the old ranch house's open front door like a wash of honey water--"Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
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[Benni is explaining about a class her grandmother and great-aunt are taking]
Cane fu, I've learned, was a type of senior martial arts where a person learned to defend themselves against muggers or, as Aunt Garnet called them, mashers. I'd seen some of their moves and, believe me, you didn't want to mess with folks trained in cane fu. (chapter 2)
[Benni describing Detective Hud Hudson] ..
His warm brown eyes and smooth-cheeked, country boy face looked every inch like a mother's dream of the dependable L.L. Bean-clad boy next door who would tame and marry her wild daughter. In reality, he'd probably be the one buying her illegal moonshine and taking her skinny-dipping at midnight. (chapter 4)
[Nurse Bennett, who served during the Vietnam War, to a rude teen whose father had said something uncalled for about those who served then.]
... The boys who went to 'Nam did so because they were told it was the right thing to do for our country. It was a war started by men who were forty years older than the boys carrying the guns. Like most wars, it was just a pissing contest between old men with naïve young men and women paying the ultimate price.'... (chapter 12)
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The Memory Festival is a celebration of recollections and loved ones through crafts. But when a local cop is wounded by a mysterious sharpshooter who seems to have a vendetta against the police, Benni fears for "her" loved ones, especially her police chief husband.

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