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Irish Chain (Benni Harper #2)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  1,942 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Meet Benni Harper...a spirited ex-cowgirl, quilter, and folk-art expert who's staking out her own corner of the contemporary American West. She's got an eye for murderous designs--and a talent for piecing together the most complex and cold-blooded crimes.

Benni's taking time from her job at the folk-art museum to sponsor a "senior prom" at San Celina's retirement home. Dur
Mass Market Paperback, 309 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Berkley (first published March 1995)
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Mar 09, 2015 Miriam rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, the-americas
Weaker mystery plot showcases the romance of widow Benni and divorced police officer Gabe. Although Fowler doesn't seem to mean in this way, I always thought their relationship was terrible. Neither treats the other with respect or honesty. I was offended by Fowler's implication that the two were equally guilty of "messing around" when Benni had lunch in a public place with a teen crush (from before she was married!) and Gabe was alone in a bedroom at night with the woman with whom he previously ...more
Excellent, I absolutely devoured this book! I am on board for the next one!
May 23, 2013 Irene rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Two residents of a nursing home found dead in a room. Benni Harper gets involved because she discovers the bodies. Her boyfriend is in charge of the investigation and constantly warns her not to get involved. Of course, she doesn't listen.
Benni begins asking questions. At the same time, an old flame is back in town, and he's one of the prime suspects and Benni finds herself quarreling with her boyfriend and spending too much time with the old flame causing some confused feelings. In the midst o
Mar 20, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
Not as good as the first, but possibly because the motive for murder was (IMHO) pretty weak. I did still enjoy the character of Benni and I like her boyfriend Ortiz, but the characters use Spanish in the weirdest way. It's almost like the author doesn't think Hispanic characters are authentic if they don't use a palabra of Spanish at least every chapter. And it is really peeving me that the story is set in "San Celina" which is obviously SLO for anyone who has lived in California for any length ...more
May 31, 2009 Paula rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, series
This is the second book in this particular series, following on from Fool's Puzzle, and once again, our protagonist is Benni Harper, recently widowed and now running a small folk art museum and artist's cooperative. In Irish Chain, Benni becomes involved in the history of her small town, when two senior citizens are murdered in a local nursing home and there's apparently more to the past than meets the eye.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be a link with the treatment of Japanese immigrants d
Nov 04, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging from the other reviews, I might be in the minority of people who liked the first book in this series better....I just found this to be a bit too all over the place. Too many new men move to town (and at first I had trouble keeping Mac and Clay separate, if only because they showed up at the same town and both seemed quite handsome and interested in Benni) and two old people are killed in the 3rd or 4th chapter. The deaths are suspicious and since Benni discovers their bodies, she's again ...more
If I knew Benni, I'd hate her. And once again she does ridiculous things and other people have to fix her messes. Why am I giving these books a pass on that? No idea.

Kelli Ende
Jan 25, 2017 Kelli Ende rated it really liked it
First of Earlene Fowler's books that I have read. I can't wait to read more.

Jan 18, 2014 Sabine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: special-books
Nach dem Unfalltod ihres Mannes muss Benni Harper neu anfangen und verlässt die Ranch der Familie ihres Mannes um als Leiterin eines Heimatkundemuseums in dem Ort San Celina in Kalifornien. Bereits im ersten Band war sie in Morde in ihrem Museum verwickelt und hat dadurch Gabe Ortiz, den attraktiven Polizeichef kennengelernt, der derzeit nur vertretungsweise den Posten übernommen hat. In diesem Folgeband nun kämpft Benni an zwei Fronten: Zum einen ist sie mit einer neuen Ausstellung beschäftigt ...more
Sep 26, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
Very enjoyable. In this book Benni, museum curator, has volunteered to organize a prom at the local Senior care facility. When two of the residents are murdered, Benni finds the bodies. The solution is not apparent and the murders are connected to past events. Now I have to get the next book through Interlibrary loan since the local library only has the eBook.
Lori Limberger
Nov 03, 2013 Lori Limberger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2016 Beverly rated it liked it
The second book in the Benni Harper series. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first one but it was still an OK cozy read. Benni, who is the curator for the local folk art museum, is a spirited "cowgirl" type who lost her husband and love of her life just a year ago. There's a new sheriff in town who has caught her eye but she's not sure that she's ready to move on with her life in the romance department. Now she's trying to sponsor a senior prom at the Senior Citizens Home. The murder of 2 ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Sue rated it liked it
This second outing finds Benni setting up a new display at the museum, finding bodies, and maneuvering through her new relationship with Gabe Ortiz, the acting Chief of Police, although Gabe is quite the interesting literary character. Benni is trying to negotiate dating after a being widowed and finding it difficult. She's vulnerable and sometimes naive, but always endearing as she tries to find her footing in her scuffed cowboy boots. This adventure has an interesting subplot as she conducts o ...more
May 07, 2010 Robin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I think I received this one as a freebie from the publisher many moons ago when I worked in a bookstore (they were promoting one of the later books in the series). I probably would have read it a long time ago except that it is the second in the series, and I have a hang-up about starting in media res, so-to-speak. I finally just plucked it off my shelf on a whim. Despite being the second in the series, I didn't feel like I was missing anything of vital importance relating to the characters or s ...more
Jan 15, 2017 Daphne marked it as dnf
Well, that's enough of that ... probably done with this entire series. I had to force my way through the trope-y stuff to read the first book, and just have too many other reading options to do it again. What drove me away? Continual themes of "you're meddling where you don't belong," not sure she's into the cop, but really hot for the cop, and the cop is the one accusing her of meddling... plus a dose of "I know I shouldn't be doing this..." as she keeps information to herself or goes out on li ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-cozy
I read this book while working at Murder Ink and loved it enough to practically fight my co-worker to be able to review it in the store's catalog. Despite that love, over the years since I completely forgot what the book was about. I'm also puzzled as to why I loved it that much.

It wasn't bad -- in fact, it was rather enjoyable. Benni Harper is an interesting character, and I love the quilting theme in her books. Benni's relationship with police chief Gabriel Ortiz is interesting and unique amon
Oct 02, 2008 Janis rated it it was amazing
The second book in this series is better than the first. I actually cried several times while reading this book. It has been one year since Benni Harper's husband was killed in a vehicle accident. The local temporary sheriff, Gabriel Ortiz, is not only trying to help Benni through the grief, but trying to keep her safe while she gets involved in a double mystery. And then there's her high-school crush who comes to town because it was his grandfather that was murdered. Eventually everyone has to ...more
Dec 31, 2011 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
Jun 15, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
So far I have not been overly impressed with the relationship between Benni and Gabe. She seems very much like a loose cannon who doesn't take into account the trouble she can get herself and others into just by being stubborn and doing the opposite of what she is asked to do. I have a feeling this is going to be a theme throughout the rest of the series and I have seen it with other series as well. I guess if they all played it safe, then the main character would not find themselves in the trou ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Michele rated it really liked it
At first, I thought I was going to have to slog through "sophomore slump". The first book in the series was awesome. This one was a little slow to get going, however, when I started it, I was interrupted every 5 minutes, so maybe that was it, because once I had time to read and get into the story, this book was excellent. It touched on a part of history that has always interested me, the "relocation" of the Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. Second book was great, hoping the rest of the seri ...more
Benni is busy with opening a needlework show at the museum and helping a group of students hold a prom at the convalescent home, but not too busy to also write a paper on local history and become involved in a murder. Unfortunately, the murders happen at the prom and Benni knows both of the victims. She is also trying to sort out her feelings for Gabe Ortiz, the interim sheriff, and Clay O'Hara, a former boyfriend and nephew of one of the victims. Mystery, local history, and personal drama combi ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it
I think I'm a little biased for liking this book since I'm Japanese American, but I really do appreciate how they talked about what people went through during WWII.

But the murder was also awesome as well! It wasn't a straight forward plot, but involved a lot of secrets, shame, and of course revenge.

The relationship between Benni and Gabe also reached a climatic level, and I was satisfied with how it ended. :)
Nov 09, 2009 Karol rated it it was amazing
I liked Irish Chain much better than the first book in the Benni Harper series (Fool's Puzzle). This was a better-than-average cozy mystery, with a result that really did surprise me. It had the additional benefit of an unusually meaty topic - that being the relocation of American citizens of Japanese descent during WWII.

I'm still relatively new to the cozy mystery genre, but this is one of the best in the category that I've read.
Erin L
Sep 23, 2011 Erin L rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-crafts
I really struggled partway through this one. I know a lot of people love Benni, but I'm finding her a little too stubborn for her own good. Which is sad because I think there are a lot of great characters in this series, especially Dove. And Gabe.

Also, I don't understand why they suddenly got married given all of the problems they have just dating each other. A marriage certificate doesn't make that go away.
Mar 13, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
Eehh! I wasn't really thrilled with it but it wasn't horrible either. The beginning was a drag but then toward the end it moved a little better. The characters were okay. I really can't pick out something that I hated about it but it just didn't grab me. I thought the quilting tie in was very weak.
Apr 26, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
Benni is sponsoring a "senior Mardi Gras" at a retirement home. Later in the evening finds two residents dead. She sets out to find the mystery and the connection between them. Could a 50 year old secret be the cause? To complicate matters, her HS boyfriend shows up just as she is getting involved with Gabe, the interim police chief.

Aug 18, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it
"Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." And earlier in the book, something about ranching wisdom--If it's fixing to rain, let it.
Winding through this down home story is the tragedy of the interment of Japanese descent citizens in WWII. An excellently written story.
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
this is the first of this series that I read, and it is one of my favorite quilt patterns. This continues to go well. The writing is not at a high caliber but it is pleasant. I like the quilt references, and Benni Harper is good--sometimes I find her a little annoying but she is largely a good character
❂ Jennifer
Sep 06, 2011 ❂ Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I found this to be a very enjoyable read - I loved the story line delving into the WWII issues with Japanese-Americans. I didn't see where the plot was going until the end and was quite surprised by the murderer. Outstanding character development as well. Looking forward to the next one, Kansas Troubles.
Sep 01, 2012 Andree rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
I liked it, but not as much as the first one.

Really, everyone just irritated me in this one, at some point or another. I don't really have more of a review than that. It was engaging, but just a bit off for me.

Also, Katie, I thought you said the relationship development was slower in this series. I beg to differ.
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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)
  • 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)
  • Broken Dishes (Benni Harper, #11)

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