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Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime
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Opinionated, irreverent, and often rude, Magdalena Yoder (Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth, LJ 1/1/94) again trades her successful innkeeper status for that of persistent amateur sleuth. Having negotiated an exorbitant sum from a movie company for the use of her famous PennDutch Inn, she then endures obnoxious local hopefuls, argumentative directors, changeable scripts, and, finally, murder. The doltish local police chief blames Magdalena. As a result, she runs to her own defense. Weird characters and a few good recipes accompany the quirky plot, but the key to enjoying this work is to appreciate its exaggerated humor. Recommended.

After her first appearance in Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth, dowdy Mennonite innkeeper Magdalena Yoder, 44, remains chaste and abstemious, and still in possession of her keen mind and sharp tongue, which she unleashes upon some Hollywood sleazoids shooting a movie at her country inn, the PennDutch. The murder of an assistant director, whose body is found pinned to a barn post by a pitchfork, shocks everyone. When numbskull local police chief Melvin Stoltzfus suspects Magdalena, the shrewd lady begins to clear her name by interviewing some of the more likely suspects in the nearby town of Hernia, Penn., (pop. 1528). The strength‘and the weakness‘of this tale is the acid-tongued voice of the heroine, who demonstrates her quick wit at the expense of others (including, here, a star-struck preacher's wife and her own promiscuous sister). But Myers bets too much on the entertainment value of Magdalena's zingers, which, like the heavy-handed contrast between Hollywood trendiness and stolid country values, become tedious. Buoying interest are recipes from the PennDutch kitchen, a sizzling scene in a six-seat outhouse and an impending romance for Magdalena. (Oct.)

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