Read Tumbling Blocks by Earlene Fowler Online


With Christmas just a few weeks away, Benni's queenly boss, Constance Sinclair, demands that she investigate the death of a local socialite. It's not long before Benni recognizes that there may be some deadly truth to Constance's suspicions. But with a famously reclusive artist about to put Benni's quilting museum on the map-and her daunting mother-in-law and her "surpriseWith Christmas just a few weeks away, Benni's queenly boss, Constance Sinclair, demands that she investigate the death of a local socialite. It's not long before Benni recognizes that there may be some deadly truth to Constance's suspicions. But with a famously reclusive artist about to put Benni's quilting museum on the map-and her daunting mother-in-law and her "surprise" new husband visiting-Benni's holiday is already hectic. Nevertheless, she'll need to crack the exclusive circle of suspects before one more gourmet goose gets cooked....

Title : Tumbling Blocks
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780641982736
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tumbling Blocks Reviews

  • Susie
    2019-03-04 03:42

    Does reading a book count if you listened to the audio book? That's what I did with this.At first, the story seemed to be more about Benni Harper Ortiz dog-sitting a puppy and her mother-in-law's upcoming Christmas visit to San Celina, Calif. (and ensuing drama between her husband, police chief Gabe Ortiz and his mother, Kathryn) than about finding whether Pinkie Edmondson, a member of the prestigious 49 Club, was murdered, and, by whom.But I realized the ancillary characters of Hud, Dove and Alvia, and their stories, and events in the city, such as the annual Christmas parade, are probably familiar to fans and therefore have a place in the greater Benni Harper world and narrative.And, the voice of Johanna Parker, who recorded the audio book made me listen to the 7-hour story over three days while driving and making and eating dinner.Some elements of the story -- my two theories of whodoneit and why and the source of drama between Gabe and Kathryn -- were predictable, however not so much so that I was frustrated with Benni for not finding the answers sooner.This was my first Benni Harper Mystery book although it is the 13th of 15 in the series authored by Earlene Fowler. I'd read (or listen to) more.

  • Sue
    2019-02-27 08:28

    This one seemed a little lighter after the last couple novels in the series as Benni is puppy-sitting for Hud and preparing for an opening of Outsider Art at the museum while hosting Gabe's mother for Christmas. She's also faux-investigating a murder for her socialite employer, Constance. As with all her novels, the family relationships are the biggest part of the story and that is on display here as Gabe deals with old baggage with his mother. The opening letter from Dove to Benni's deceased mother detailing how she's watched over Benni was touching. "Right now, I can see that she's worried about Gabe...I'm worried about Benni worrying about him. And Isaac's worrying about me worrying about Benni. I guess that's what family is, a basket weave of people loving and worrying on each other."

  • Susan
    2019-03-06 02:43

    Tumbling Blocks is the 13th book of the Benni Harper mystery series by Earlene Fowler, set in fictitious San Celina along California's Central Coast.Benni is curator of Josiah Sinclair Folk Art Museum in San Celina. Famous "outsider" artist Abe Adam Finch has donated a painting to the museum, and Benni must write a speech for the museum's celebration.Her mother-in-law Kathryn is coming to visit for the Christmas holidays, and her longtime friend Hud begs her to puppy-sit while he travels. And if that were not enough on Benni's plate, her pushy socialite boss Constance Sinclair insists that her best friend Pinky Edmonton was murdered and Benni must investigate.Benni's husband, police chief Gabe Ortiz, is certain that Pinky died of natural causes due to her known heart condition, not murder. He encourages Benni to pretend to investigate, which will keep Constance Sinclair from nagging him. Benni reluctantly agrees to interview the 3 women Constance suspects of murdering Pinky. Each was black-balled from the elite "49 Club", which Constance considers sufficient cause for murder.Benni is already concerned about her husband Gabe Ortiz's stormy relationship with his mother. When Kathryn brings an unexpected guest with her, the tension escalates.Benni juggles her responsibilities with good humor, finding she must delegate many tasks to her friends and family: D-Daddy, handyman at the museum; Sam, Gabe's son; Dove, her beloved Gramma; Emory, her cousin. She finds time to shop for maternity clothes with her fashion-conscious best friend, who has an oddball food craving during pregnancy: eating Cracker Jacks while drinking spicy tomato juice.Benni begins to wonder if Pinky's death was indeed murder. When a detail of the donated painting reminds Benni of something she saw recently, the killer tries to eliminate Benni as well.All conflicts are resolved (and tasks completed) in a satisfying conclusion. Reading about Benni Harper and her cohorts in San Celina is like visiting longtime friends. I recommend reading this series in order, starting with Fool's Puzzle, to enjoy the character development and relationship changes over the duration of the series. I certainly will continue reading the series; the next book after Tumbling Blocks is State Fair.

  • Katharine Kimbriel
    2019-03-16 06:45

    Earlene Fowler seems like a supremely nice person, and she writes a great cozy, amateur detective mystery. The continuing stories of Benni Harper and her extended network of family, friends and frenemies are the perfect comfort reads. The books have real life intrude, with a dollop of danger, and sometimes people die. But it's never gratuitous, never put there for shock value. Benni is a tough gal born of ranch stock who occasionally runs into the dark side. She understands people, has an eye for detail, and also has a gut instinct when something is wrong. She's been poor, had a husband die young and foolishly, and rushed into a second marriage with a fascinating and sometimes difficult man. Right now she's the curator of a small folk art museum and art co-op. Benni also has deep faith and a belief that the world is a good place.In other words, Benni may not be you, but she's someone you might enjoy accompanying on an adventure. This book is well into the series, but I recommend it and the overall arch of tales. I suspect each book would strand alone, because Earlene knows her characters well enough that each time they are introduced, a different and yet very descriptive tidbit of info is added to that character's file. You won't be bored, and new readers won't get lost.This one takes place around Christmas, where old family pain rises like dough, new families are formed, and a plot that might be mistaken for just wandering through life pulls together beautifully. Benni actually gets permission from her gorgeous, macho, loving Chief of Police husband Ortiz to launch a "pretend investigation" to get someone off his back.So -- is it a red herring, or is something really going on?Recommended!

  • Helen
    2019-02-28 01:25

    A Christmas book, although I didn't realise it at the time. Benni's Mother-in-Law is coming from Kansas for the holidays and Benni is terrified at the thought of what she will make of Benni's home. Kathryn Ortiz, however, has a surprise for Gabe and Benni. She has remarried and not told them. Now, Gabe did the same thing to his Mother but "that was different." The tension between the mother and son remain all through the book as does the question of how Pinky Edmonson died if it wasn't just a heart attack. There is the time-eating puppy sitting that Benni's cousin lands her with and the opening of the art display at the folk art museum which has just received the gift of a painting by a currently very popular "outside" artist, whose niece has just moved into the area. Outside is not a term I had met before; naive, yes, primitive, untaught, natural, but never outside, which has a rather negative feel to it. The characters are familiar, as are the ranches and towns of this part of California's central coast, and Christmas in North America is similar everywhere, but the Ortiz family manages to twist the season quite nicely in spite of a non-existent murder case. I am always surprised at the number of super wealthy people Benni is either related to or involved with. I think it really came home to me with Elvia's clothing "system." Over any 6 month period she never wears the same outfit and even allowing for a different jacket or purse and shoes that's a tremendous amount of clothes involving a tremendous amount of money, especially as these are designer outfits. Perhaps I'm just envious.This was a pleasant read.

  • Judy
    2019-03-04 08:28

    I finished this book rather quickly. It happens just 1 month after Delectable Mountains and it is the Christmas season, California style. And yes there is another murder. Gabe and the NE are sure that Pinky died of natural causes, Benni isn't so sure, and Constance, Benni's overbearing boss is sure that poor Pinky was murdered. Gabe decides to let Benni do a faux investigation to keep Constance off his back. Benni, one who loves the hunt and the investigation is a stickler for details and that leads her to discover the truth, all the while puppy-sitting for Hud's daughter's puppy and entertaining her mother-in-law and her new step father-in-law. The drama is rampant and the Christmas festivities keep everyone on their toes. As usual, the ending is not too hard to figure out. But I like that part. Again, I wonder about the small town vibe, where everybody knows everybody and yet there are two maternity shops. Really!!!

  • Charlyn
    2019-03-09 03:41

    The holidays bring their own kind of stress,but this Christmas Benni has a larger than usual share. An exhibit of outsider art is opening at the Sinclair, Hud has persuaded her to babysit a new puppy, and her intimidating MIL is coming to town for Christmas. Then, Constance decides to hire Benni to investigate the murder of a dear friend whose death has already been ruled "of natural causes." One final trial to totally ruin everything--when she and Gabe arrive to pick up his mother at the train station, she arrives with a new husband no one knew about. This is a slap in the face to Gabe and his strained relationship with his mother and his refusal to have a relationship with his new stepfather create a difficult atmosphere in their home. Will all the blocks tumble into place for the peaceful Christmas Benni wants?

  • Lianne
    2019-03-02 08:40

    Most Benni Harper mysteries are inspired by a quilting design. This one is "Tumbling Blocks." Much of this plot revolves around domestic drama concerning Benni's husband, Chief of Police Gabe Ortiz, and unresolved feelings that come to the surface when his mother comes to visit for Christmas.His mother has unexpectedly married and Gabe can't seem to accept this shift. Playing against previous habits, he actually encourages Benni to become involved in solving a local mystery concerning a women's club because he believes crime is imaginary and unimportant. Emotion around her husband's PTSD, his weird inflexibility about his mother, and Benni's dog sitting a Corgi puppy for a friend are moving parts against the backdrop of local Christmas happenings. Benni once again stumbles into the crucial situation that makes all the blocks comes tumbling down.

  • Tana
    2019-03-07 01:51

    Okay, I had about a zillion things I should have been doing and I was just going to read one more chapter .... a few hours later and I had finished the book. Just love the Benni Harper mystery series. It almost feels like the characters are old friends. In this book, Benni and Gabe are still recovering from the events that took place in "Delectable Mountains" just the month before when Gabe announces that his mother is coming to visit. Meanwhile, Hud imposes on Benni to puppysit his not yet housetrained new puppy. Then, as if Benni didn't have enough stress in her life, Benni's overbearing boss wants her to investigate a murder that nobody else thinks was a murder. In other words, just another day in the life of Benni Harper! I must admit that I did guess the mystery before Benni this time!

  • Terri
    2019-03-11 03:40

    It is a great treat to be back to the Benni Harper series. I always enjoy Fowler's novels, and I think I enjoy them as much for what they are not as what they are. They are well-plotted; the characters and their relationships definitely grow on you as you read the series. I like the setting, particularly with Benni's job as curator of the Folk Art Museum because the little tidbits are always interesting. In the "are not" category, I enjoy the lack of over-sophisticated posturing as far as morals and faith go. The assumption that family is important is always there, without the writer beating the reader over the head with it. It is simply part of the story. Now that I'm back, I have some catching up to do, and I definitely intend to do it.Nook

  • Sharon
    2019-03-19 04:42

    Murder for admission into an exclusive social club-- but it really appears to be a heart attack. In the midst of a forthcoming art show at the museum where Benni Harper works, one of the town's matriarchs dies and her friend insists Benni investigate. It's almost Christmas and her intimidating mother-in-law is coming to visit. Pressure!! The museum has been given a painting by a reclusive artist whose work has been highly acclaimed as a great piece of "outsider art" and is quite a coup. The artist's niece lives in a nearby town which may be the reason for the gift. Benni's mother-in-law and Benni's husband have a tenuous relationship which is exacerbated by the appearance of an unannounced husband and what is obviously some other secret the mother-in-law is carrying.

  • Virginia Hill
    2019-03-03 08:36

    I've read and enjoyed all of Earlene Fowler's books. This one may be her most personal novel yet. The addition of the Pembroke Corgi, Boudin, to the series had me comparing the parallel lives of the author and the main character, Benni, more than ever. I've been reading about Earlene and her Boudin on her website for years.I always enjoy her description of San Celina (San Luis Obispo) and surrounding areas, ranch life, and her loyal friends and family. Benni's view of family and friends seemed more 'relatable' than ever. I also appreciated the dedication and concern given to the canine characters...lucky dogs indeed!

  • SoC7
    2019-03-05 08:28

    I have to admit that this is NOT typically the genre of book I read; however, a friend lent it to me because I was under the weather, so I thought I would give it a go. I was stunned at how much I enjoyed it. Great storyline without being gratuitous in any way. In fact, it was kind of a wholesome story which was a great change of pace. I look forward to "investigating" her other pieces in the Benni Harper mystery series.

  • Emily Cullen
    2019-03-01 01:40

    Museum curator Benni Harper is asked to investigate when her boss thinks her dear friend was murdered, even though no one else thinks so. Meanwhile Christmas is coming and so is her mother-in-law! I love the "Benni Harper" cozy mystery series. Benni is a great heroine and the supporting cast is well thought out with great personalities. I also enjoy the romance between Benni and Chief of Police Gabe Ortiz in their not so perfect marriage.

  • Nichole Rottinghaus
    2019-03-16 05:40

    My least favorite in the series. The mystery in this book was overshadowed by all of the relationship issues. I don't mind reading about Gabe and Benni's lives and the personal struggles they have, but since this is a "mystery" novel, I would rather see a bigger emphasis on the mystery itself.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-16 06:27

    This book is part of a quilting murder mystery series (the author throws in some interesting history about different quilt patterns in each book). I love this light, easy-to-read series; Benni, the main character, is so lovable and fun. As the wife of the local police chief, she gets into her fair share of trouble and solves many of the town's mysterious murders.

  • ❂ Jennifer
    2019-03-04 07:47

    Great story, although the murder mystery takes a back seat in this one. Most of the time the book focuses on the fractured relationship between Benni's husband Gabe and his mother. Coming from a very vocal background, it was hard for me to understand the lack of communication, but the author does a good job making everything seem real and true.

  • Deb
    2019-03-13 05:49

    A series I began years ago and have enjoyed, however sometime during the writing the author seems to have found god and I find it a bit of a turn off other than that I like the books being a quilter and lover of light mystery.

  • Diane Perkins
    2019-03-18 07:36

    I cannot get enough of Benni Harper...I wait with great anticipation for Earlene to write the next one and then try to read it slow because it makes me so sad to finish....I have read every book in the series and will continue as long as she will write them!

  • Kimmie
    2019-03-18 01:44

    I just started this series with the previous book Delectable Mountains. I found this one to be fairly good but Benni's relationship with her husband is really intense at times. Other than that it was good.

  • Debby
    2019-03-16 01:39

    Christmas is just a few weeks away, and Benni Harper has tons to do to prepare for a visit from her mother-in-law. When her boss demands her help in investigating the death of a friend, Benni has her hands full. Another good story full of small town flavor and good personal interactions.

  • Bonnijean Marley
    2019-03-02 03:47

    I enjoyed reading this mystery. The mystery part was great. Gabe's brooding got a little tedious. Reading about Benni's day is almost enough to make the reader tired. Those two things aside, this book is an enjoyable read.

  • Arlene S
    2019-02-26 07:29

    Domestic setting, and I like the quilt pattern tie-in. A little low on suspense as far as murder mysteries go. (She's no John Grisham, or even Sue Grafton, but enjoyable. Likely this falls into sub-genre of "cozy mystery".) Protagonist: Benni Harper

  • Bonnie Drummond
    2019-02-22 01:36

    A story that will have you pulling the tissues out and wanting to be a part of this family that saw its chair of heart brake on both sides of each family. Last night I've finished book 13 Tumbling Blocks of Benni Harper ( Ortiz ) she final took the Chiefs last name by: Earlene Fowler.

  • Britt
    2019-02-23 01:54

    I haven't read the other books in this series, but was able to catch up to the story quickly, as it seems each book is its own story while using the same characters. I enjoyed the mystery and trying to piece together what was happening.

  • Partridge Public
    2019-02-24 08:41

    Fowler, Earlene

  • Virginia
    2019-02-24 05:30

    It passed the time...barely.

  • Susie
    2019-03-19 00:35

    This book is about #14 in the series. The writing isn't wonderful but the characters seem like old friends to me so I keep reading them.

  • Nancy
    2019-03-15 08:34

    Central Coast. Forged painting at folk art gallery. Gabe's mother remarries and brings husband.

  • Nicole
    2019-03-21 04:36

    Another in the Quilt mysteries - Benni Harper mystery. I love her writing. Easy and funny. I'm looking forward to finding another one.