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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Magdalena Yoder has turned her family farmhouse into a famous Amish country inn. Booked well in advance, she has the privilege of selecting her customers. So she's a little surprised when she discovers she's booked a hunting party led by a well-known Senator and an anti-hunting, animal rights group for the same week, the opening week of hunting season. With the varying dietary requirements of the two groups, she has her hands full keeping the guests happy and fed while keeping her cook in the kitchen and her sister in line. And that's before the first body shows up!
As a mystery this book is a little slow. The first body doesn't show up for quite some time, and then it's the one guest we've forgotten about. Still, there is plenty of conflict to keep the reader going and I never felt the pace lagged. The guests are interesting characters, however the characters that are to be regulars seem like they could become annoying caricatures. Still, this is a fun, promising first novel and I plan to read more books by this author.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2003
I did enjoy this book. It is genuinely funny in quite a few spots. Magdalena is quite a character. She is a no-nonsence, mean-spirited Pennsylvania Dutch woman who has turned her family farmhouse into a successful country inn. The hotel guests were interesting as we meet them through the book. The murders themselves were a bit slow and the mystery was less than breathtaking, but it was still fun to read and I will read more by this author. There is a lot about food in the book, and you will find yourself hungry as you read it. Miss Magdalena's acid tongue gets to be a bit much sometime, but nevertheless, the book is worth a read. In this book Magdelena is faced with two sudden deaths of her hotel guests. Are they connected? She sets out to find out pretty much on her own since the acting constable is a bumbling idiot.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2000
I am not a mystery reader, however I was given this book to read and pass on. I reluctantly started reading it. What enjoyment I experienced! The characters readily got my attention. The keeper of the inn was wonderful. It was as if she was personally telling me about her "pleasures" and "displeasures"; always remembering to tuck in a short prayer to stay right with God. It was light reading that kept me always changing my mind as to who the crook might be. Serious mystery readers would probably find this book too light and not too capturing. Good summer reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2001
This is a wonderful book in a great series. I originally read this book when I was looking for new culinary mysteries. To my delight, I discovered that this was also a humorous mystery. I laughed aloud several times during the course of reading this book. The characters are all interesting, particularly the regulars, Magdalena, Susannah, Freni, etc. The author did a nice job describing the personalities of the guests and the ensuing friction between them. I found the homespun dialogue and descriptions to be enchanting and engaging. The storyline is fun and interesting, with a plot that allows you to figure out "whodunit" if you put some thought into it. The recipes included after each chapter is a pleasant plus. A thoroughly enjoying, cozy read that leaves you anxiously waiting for the next book in the series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2001
Miss Magdalena Yoder is the innkeeper of the chi chi PennDutch Inn in southern Pennsylvania. Here you pay through the nose for the spartan furnishings, simple food, and the privilege of cleaning your own room. It's all in the name of atmosphere-the 43-year-old Miss Yoder is a Mennonite, and her farm (the legacy left by her parents' sudden death 10 years ago) is now an inn with the longest waiting list in the state.
With a client list that reads like People magazine, Magdalena has her hands full keeping the inn running smoothly. Her sister Susannah is too busy staying out late and (gasp!) putting on makeup to be of much help, and Magdalena's cantankerous cook is prone to quitting every day or so. When an ambitious congressman comes to the inn for the start of deer hunting season, followed by a group of animal rights protestors, Magdalena thinks she might be in over her head. But it's not until a body turns up that she realizes just how out of hand things can get. With the reputation of her inn at stake, Magdalena sets out to find a killer.
Magdalena is a wonderful character. She's irreverent at the same time she is true to her Mennonite upbringing. Her shock at her sister's behavior (and the behavior of the English) is truly reflective of this different culture. At the same time, she yearns to travel, she's not too pious to sneak a peak at the television every now and then, and she's been known to let slip a rude remark when provoked.
Better yet, Myers is a fun and savvy writer, someone to read closely. Look for her description of "Tammy Myers," the chief of police's wife. There's also a character named Dorothy Gillman, and a reference to Poe's "The Purloined Letter," which is also the name of the newsletter for the High Crimes Mystery Bookshop in Boulder, Colorado. I'm sure a close reader will discover more treats for the avid mystery fan.
But best of all, read closely and you will enjoy Myers' subtle sense of humor as much as her overt one. The Amish Lifestyle Plan Option is abbreviated ALPO. One character belongs to the New Age Church of Holistic Oneness (NACHO), and the animal rights group is the Animal Parity Endowment Society (APES).
My only complaint is that the resolution to the mystery is a bit weak-the reader is never provided all the clues that help to solve the case, and things wrap up a bit too quickly. Still, Miss Yoder is a wonderful addition to the world of amateur sleuths, and the book even comes with recipes. Who could ask for more?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 1998
This was a good book, but I enjoyed her other series more. True, this was her first book written in the Amish series and I have several to read to catch up. Without a doubt, her more recent books will be better. I think she is a very talented author with a wonderful way of turning a phrase and creating situations that have you laughing out loud.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
Magdalena Yoder runs the PennDutch Inn in Hernia, PA and is related to almost everyone in town, either close, distant, or once removed, etc. Her sister Susannah, who left the Mennonites to marry but is now divorced, lives at the Inn but is very undependable, lazy, and sleeps around. Their parents died in an accident and Magdalena and Susannah are the only ones left in their immediate family.

It is the beginning of deer hunting season and they are looking at having a full house, so full that when Miss Brown shows up Susannah has to clean her room so Miss Brown can have that room. A Congressman, his wife Lydia and his aide are expected as are several members of A.P.E.S. (the Animal Parity Endowment Society). Billy Dee Grizzle and Lydia Ream are the nicest of the guests, Miss Brown wants to be left alone, even for meals, and the rest are just strange. The A.P.E.S group is vegan, the Congresman's group and Billy Dee want meat, so this causes problems with Freni, the cook and she ends up quitting and being fired several times.

The first night dinner is quite the scene but once every one is in bed, someone hears a thump and Miss Brown is discovered in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The police are called and the body is taken away so they can do an autopsy. A couple of days later, after Magdalena gets shot at a couple of times, Susannah's dog Shnookums chokes but Magdalena saves him, the hunters have left the Inn each day (if that's what they're actually doing) and the A.P.E.S. group have spent their time looking for the Congressman's group to try and prevent them from hunting, (they never do find them), one of the other guests is discovered dead with her hand gripping a homemade quilt. Susannah discovers her as she is looking for Shnookums pacifier.

Now with two deaths, looking more and more like murders happening in her Inn what will happen? Will people still want to come, looking at the reputation she's had up until now, or will they decide it's not the kind of place they want to stay at?

Don't judge this book by it's title, the Mennonites are not anything like you'd expect. Magdalena's brain seems to be thinking strange thoughts constantly, it's kind of funny some of the things she thinks to herself. There are some curse words, which really surprised me, not a lot and not 'filthy' ones but if you don't like reading these words, I would suggest you not read this book. If you like cozy mystery's you'd probably really like this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 1998
Tamar Myers' Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries are very enjoyable, "put your feet up" books. The characters are warm and human. In particular, they show the Amish/Mennonite characters to be individuals with faults and good points like the rest of us, which in other books is not usual.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2014
After having lives in an area with alot of Amish, I found the book very unrealistic and not do-able!
I believe the author took great liberties. I was disappointed in the whole book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2005
This author is a stone-cold riot! I have read her other books, Den of Antiquity, and have found the same thing to be true: she knows how to write humor. I find myself giggling throughout most of her books but, at times, I find myself laughing my head off at some scenario or another. Her strong suite is describing those times when screaming begets screaming which begets more screaming which begets even more screaming. She has a style that is rare and I really enjoy reading her. I find myself reading passages over and over to myself and then grabbing my husband to read them to him. He, who is very picky, says she is a good writer. You will enjoy everything about "Mags" and her trials and tribulations. Be ready to giggle.
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