Berkley, May 2003, 22.95, 304 pp.
There is a lot going on in the life of Benni Harper, San Celina's curator at the Sinclair Folk Art Museum and Artist's Co-Op. Emma Baldwin, the author of the teenage Molly Connors mysteries, is back in town and has donated her Crazy Quilt to the exhibit Benni has put together. Benni is delighted that the woman she interviewed in college is back and hopes that they can become better acquainted.
Benni's husband, Chief of Police Gabe Ortiz also has a friend visiting. Luke a former LAPD police officer is now a private investigator who is in town on a case and looking into possible family he has in the area. When Luke's body is found with fifteen stab wounds, Gabe takes the homicide very personally. However, not quite as emotionally as when someone starts stalking his wife by messing up her car, sending her threatening photographs and even taking potshots at her. Gabe is afraid that somebody is taking revenge on him by going after his wife but Benni thinks that the stalker is not connected with Gabe at all, but with somebody else in town.
Each Benni Harper mystery is better than the previous one because the characters change and grow. Readers see how Benni's seventy-something grandmother adjusts to her new marriage, and how the heroine's cousin and best friend act like marriage is an institution made just for them. For the first time, using flashbacks, Earlene Flower gives readers a glimpse into the marriage of Benni and her first husband and the connection he had to Gabe. SUNSHINE AND SHADOWS is a five star mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner