GOOSE IN THE POND by Earlene Fowler


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 A fourth appearance for Benni Harper (Kansas Troubles, 1996, etc.), curator of the Folk Art Museum in San Celina, California- -recently married to the town's Chief of Police Gabe Ortiz--who's now deep in preparations for the museum's first storytelling festival, to be combined with a show of handmade quilts. It's Benni's misfortune to discover the murdered body of Nora Cooper, a storyteller at the local library. Nora's brother Nick is head reference librarian there, under director Jillian Sinclair, a niece of the library's chief benefactor, Constance Sinclair. Nora, meanwhile, was involved in a bitter divorce settlement with soon- to-be-ex-husband Roy, who lives with girlfriend Grace Winter, a stableowner. They're Gabe's prime suspects until it's revealed that Nora was the author of the Tattler, an unsigned scandal-mongering column in the town's newspaper. It seems both library and museum staffs are chock-full of people with nasty secrets Nora was busy unearthing. Gabe works hard to restrain Benni's rampant investigating instincts--with good reason, as it turns out in the out-of-left-field, unsatisfying denouement. Much time is spent on Gabe and Benni's cluttered domestic life as they play reluctant hosts to Gabe's troubled son Sam, Benni's beloved but trying grandmother Dove and flighty cousin Rita--a setup as overpopulated, artificial, and unconvincing as the murder mystery. Quilters and storytelling enthusiasts may find some joy here; others will find this one heavy on chitchat but low on substance.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-425-15782-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997


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