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Mariner's Compass    by Earlene Fowler order for
Mariner's Compass
by Earlene Fowler
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2000 (1999)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Having already read several of Earlene Fowler's books, I was prepared to be engrossed from page one. And I was not disappointed. Once started, Mariner's Compass is hard to put down. Benni Harper, ex-cowgirl, quilter and folk-art expert, inherits a house and all its belongings. A catch? Of course, there's a catch. She must live, alone, in the house for two weeks. The kicker? She doesn't know the man who has left her this windfall.

Questions unanswered, she moves in and there are all sorts of happenings - including Benni's realization that she has just been adopted by a Labrador Retriever. Finding what she considers a clue, she starts on a path of discovery she needs to know who this man is and how he fitted in her life. Benni is married to a part-Latino police chief, but prefers to do her own investigating. Gabe, said husband, is not happy with her choice but is forced to go along with her plan, because Benni is feisty and determined to be her own woman.

The characters in this devilishly twisting plot are well drawn, each with their own characteristics and agendas. Even Scout, the Lab, has a distinct place in this well-written tale. I like Benni I felt akin to her right away. I raced through the pages of Mariner's Compass, trying to solve the mystery. But I failed miserably - and so enjoyed the book even more.

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