‘State Fair’ a winning cozy mystery

Cozy mystery author Earlene Fowler brings back her popular character Benni Harper for a 14th appearance in her latest book, “State Fair: A Benni Harper Mystery.”

Benni and her husband, police Chief Gabe Ortiz, are attending the annual San Celina County Mid-State Fair when a valuable African-American quilt is stolen from an exhibit Benni’s folk art museum is sponsoring. At first the theft seems a part of the protest against the fair’s first black manager, Levi Clark. But when a body is discovered at another exhibit, Benni puts her skills as a pretty good sleuth to use as she tries to figure out who caused all the chaos at the fair, never dreaming that trouble is just about to come walking up her very front step as well.

On top of all the hubbub with the murder, Benni’s beloved Aunt Garnet is coming for a visit, and that always stirs up a pot of trouble with the family. So when Aunt Garnet becomes fascinated with the murder investigation, Benni allows her to help out a bit — in what could end up a big mistake.

Along with a great mystery, Fowler includes a bit of history of African-American quilting, dollmaking and folklore, as well as a healthy dash of humor, to make “State Fair” another blue ribbon winner!

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