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Broken Dishes (Benni Harper, #11)
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Broken Dishes (Benni Harper #11)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,461 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Benni's friend and her husband have opened a dude ranch that's about to go belly-up. So Benni helps out, tempting vacationers with a Western extravagnza. Soon, she's cooking and quilting with a slew of tenderfoots. But the fun truns sour when a dog finds a human bone on the property and Benni uncovers the remains of a man murdered outlawstyle.
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Berkley (first published 2004)
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The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls WilderThe Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer ChiaveriniThe Persian Pickle Club by Sandra DallasThe Runaway Quilt by Jennifer ChiaveriniThe Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini
Quilt on the Cover
12th out of 139 books — 24 voters
The Diary Spelled Death by Susan Richardson HileyTumbling Blocks by Earlene FowlerDove in the Window (A Benni Harper Mystery #5) by Earlene FowlerKansas Troubles by Earlene FowlerSteps to the Altar by Earlene Fowler
California Central Coast Romanic Suspense
15th out of 17 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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Apr 13, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it
I became interested in this cozy mystery series because the titles are all based on quilt blocks which are featured on the covers and their history is explained in opening comments. But quilting is really incidental in this series, which I've come to appreciate for its emphasis on relationships and faith. Benni is always displaying quilts at the museum or finding quilts which have some connection to the investigation, but other than chatting it up with the quilters in the artists' co-op at her m ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Kieraanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
I think I liked this book better the second time around. The mystery is pretty tame with no immediate danger to anyone (well aside from the fire I guess) and we get to see Hud again which was nice. I liked seeing him and Gabe butt heads at the dinner table. I really liked the ending when Benni imagines what could have happened had she met Hud first... This is also the first book after their marriage where Benni and Gabe don't do all...for the entire book. In fact I think there are only ...more
Jan 16, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books is Sarah's Quilt. and this book reminded me in many ways of the charm and joy and trials of that book. Fowler is a very good writer, and I think this is my first or second read of hers. She has adorable character development, and I found myself liking all the people I read about. A good author does a good job of writing in the bad guys too, as there are a couple of them too. They are doing their best to keep the Broken Dish Ranch afloat, and come across some "skeletons" ...more
Nick Duretta
Mar 01, 2014 Nick Duretta rated it it was ok
I've read several of Fowler's books about Benni Harper, a feisty heroine who lives in the San Luis Obispo-double town of Santa Celina in California. These are cozy mysteries, and sometimes I'm in the mood for one and sometimes I'm not. This either caught me at the wrong time or just didn't win me over. One of the characters refers to Benni as a Nancy Drew-type, and that sums up this book pretty well. It has a very Nancy Drew flavor. Benni and her friends pitch in to help a couple save their hors ...more
Mar 03, 2014 George rated it really liked it
#11 in the Benni Harper California rancher mystery series set in ranch country in the Coastal Mountains in the Santa Barbara area. Benni is helping a neighbor and friend open her ranch as a dude ranch when a number of things start going wrong: human bones are found on the ranch showing signs of a murder some 20-30 years ago starting an investigation by the county sheriff and then a number of bad events start happening causing further problems for the owner and Benni. Who do the bones belong to a ...more
Nov 22, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
Book Flap Synopsis: When Benni Harper's friend passes away, he leaves his Broken DIS ranch to his daughter Shawna and her husband. Instead of raising cattle, the couple decides to turn it into a dude ranch. And while their intentions maybe good, business is not. Leave it to Benni and her family to come to the rescue. Her plan? To tempt vacationers with a quilting and western extravaganza. It works. And soon, Benni and her family are cooking,quilting and horseback riding with a whole slew of west ...more
Apr 01, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
I love this series, but there are quite a few editorial problems or choices that should have been corrected, from misplaced commas and modifiers to ungrammatical speech (usually) or other text that makes me wonder if the author or her editor thought, "This isn't standard English, but it's the way people talk." I'm not referring to colloquialisms or the like, but to actual errors, like noun-verb disagreements and dangling participles. Whether some people talk this way or not, it just doesn't work ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
I like the Benni Harper series of book with a quilting theme. In this installment, Benni is helping her friend Shawna get her new dude ranch up and running. Shawna and her husband, Johnny, have taken over the ranch after the death of Shawna's father. To get the place running, Benni has scheduled a quilting symposium with a nationally-famous quilter, Victory Simpson, as one of the highlighted speakers. Word soon arrives that a travel columnist is among the guests but no one knows who she or he is ...more
Nov 03, 2013 Toni rated it really liked it
Years ago, I read the first book in the Benni Harper Mystery series by Earlene Fowler. I remember thinking it was a good book and could be an entertaining series to read but there are so many other books that I never got back to the books. Seeing that this book was number 11 in the Benni Harper series, I’m pretty sure it was in a care package from my Grandma. It had been on my bookshelves for a while and when needing something quick to read, I thought this just might be the book that would fit t ...more
Francis Saint
Feb 12, 2015 Francis Saint rated it it was ok
This story is interesting when it finally comes out, but it develops VERY slowly. Some of the characters are enjoyable, but it feels like the author is working hard to try to paint a picture of "western ranch" life. The effort seems forced, which distracts from the more enjoyable character and plot development.
Jun 26, 2010 Judy rated it really liked it
Amateur sleuth Benni Harper is at it again in this 11th installment in her cozy mystery series. Benni comes to the aid of her friends, Shawna and Johnny Abbott, who are trying to save their financially-troubled guest ranch from the auction block. With the help of Benni and her family and friends, the Abbotts plan a quilt retreat to draw guests to the ranch. While Benni is taking a group of guests on a trail ride, one of the ranch dogs recovers a human bone from an unmarked grave that has been di ...more
Apr 17, 2008 Mindy rated it really liked it
I recently "read" this book again, by listening to it on CD as I was traveling. I really like all of the Benni Harper series. Yes, they are on the "lighter" side, as mysteries go, but I find that the author often delves deeper into human relationships, religion, and the meaning of life than a lot of other mystery writers do.

How well do we know the people closest to us? Do we ever truly reveal our deepest self to anyone here on earth? These are just a couple of questions the main character, Benni
May 22, 2014 Sjfstudio rated it really liked it
Shelves: quilting
Still enjoying this series. The pattern and structure of each book is pretty familiar, but still holding my interest.
May 12, 2015 Debby rated it really liked it
Benni Harper #11. Benni's dad had a good neighbor who turned his ranch into a guest ranch. After his death, Benni and neighbors have stepped up to help his daughter make it a success. The inaugural session includes a quilt camp and photography class by her step-granddad. When a long buried skelaton is unearthed, Benni goes to work to solve the mystery. Typical Fowler good time - not always believable but usually with great humor, subplots and escapades. Clean.

5.8.15 Picked this up in audio to ha
❂ Jennifer
Dec 07, 2011 ❂ Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Well, I suppose it has to happen at least once in every series, but at least in this series, it took 10 books before I found one I didn't think was excellent. The plot was good, but I guess I just didn't like that Benni was without her usual cast of friends and family (they were there, but all much more in the background than usual). I didn't feel the empathy I'm sure the author was aiming for in the plight of the ranch owners, and I just didn't click with the story overall. It happens. But I wo ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
When the blurbs indicate that a book is both a western and a mystery, I get prepared for a rather mediocre story and characters, but I was happily surprised with the books in this series that I've read. The characters were interesting and well drawn out, and the plots were intriguing as well as amusing. Also, just because the stories take place in the west with ranches and deserts nearby, that doesn't mean it is a western, which generally contains a whole bunch of stereotypical cowboy, black hat ...more
Kresti Lyddon
May 20, 2014 Kresti Lyddon rated it really liked it
This is a very cute series.
Feb 23, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
enjoyed it
Jun 01, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it
Good reading!!!!
Lori Limberger
Nov 07, 2013 Lori Limberger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 10, 2008 Connie rated it liked it
A fun look at a guest ranch trying to survive its first two week grand opening. Mishaps keep happening and then some bones are found...and thus the mystery. Actually I would have enjoyed a bit more mystery and a little less flirting from the local sheriff but it was a good book.
Kevin Kern
Feb 22, 2016 Kevin Kern rated it really liked it
Shelves: next-in-series
Benni is getting smarter about her involvement in incidents; this time it is Sheriff deputy Hud investigating. Gabe is extremely jealous, which lends some more depth to the whole story. Quilts, ranching, horse and a crazy goose all are part of the story.
Nov 18, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it
It was okay. I thought the plot dragged on and the story just didn't seem real. There was plenty of opportunity to run three or four story lines but instead the author went with just one. I didn't connect with the characters. Oh well, it was an easy read.
Aug 20, 2007 September rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Benni Harper fans, folks who like Westerns &/or mysteries
I am a huge Benni Harper fan. I love these books, and this one was no exception. Throughout the book, as the story was woven, I kept thinking I knew exactly who did what, only to find out I was off base. A quick but enjoyable read.
Kitty Tomlinson
Nov 27, 2011 Kitty Tomlinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
While visiting a friend's Western dude ranch, Benni Harper stumbles upon the remains of a long-dead murder victim buried in a shallow grave and embarks on an investigation to reveal the truth behind the terrible crime.
Sari Lynn
Mar 14, 2009 Sari Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another fun cozy mystery about cowgirl quilter Benni Harper. I love seeing characters from past books and getting to know new friends and family members. Earlene Fowler spins an interesting tale.
Apr 10, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
Nice story. Interesting and unexpected. She's too much of a hero a times, but it's mixed with a lot of interesting information about ranch life and quilting.
Mar 28, 2012 Sheryl rated it liked it
Not my favorite of the series but still enjoyed it. There just wasn't much character development and it took too long to get to the mystery or solve anything.
Dec 05, 2008 Natalie rated it liked it
Not my favorite Earlene Fowler...this one didn't seem to resolve the mysteries brought up in the book and the end was too easy.
Becky Galambos
Nov 27, 2014 Becky Galambos rated it really liked it
One of the best books in the series. Dove's pet goose, socrates, is a riot! Rereading through series in April 2013, November 2.
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Earlene Fowler was raised in La Puente, California, by a Southern mother and a Western father. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Allen, a purple pickup truck, and many pairs of cowboy boots. She is currently working on the next Benni Harper mystery.

* Benni Harper Mysteries
* Love Mercy Johnson Mystery
More about Earlene Fowler...

Other Books in the Series

Benni Harper (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Fool's Puzzle (Benni Harper, #1)
  • Irish Chain (Benni Harper, #2)
  • Kansas Troubles (Benni Harper, #3)
  • Goose in the Pond (Benni Harper, #4)
  • Dove in the Window (Benni Harper, #5)
  • Mariner's Compass (Benni Harper, #6)
  • Seven Sisters (Benni Harper, #7)
  • Arkansas Traveler (Benni Harper, #8)
  • Steps to the Altar (Benni Harper, #9)
  • Sunshine and Shadow (Benni Harper, #10)

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