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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Silence of the Hams (Jane Jeffry Mysteries, No. 7)
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on June 7, 2017
A good read, with a nice look at Jane's local scene.
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on February 22, 2013
Jill Churchill is an excellent writer and both of her mystery series are well worth the read. Fun ... enjoyable.
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on October 16, 2014
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on July 1, 2008
Jill Churchill's mysteries are great. Jane Jeffry is the friend we all want to have.
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2011
Before I start on this particular book, I will say that I love this entire mystery series. Jane, the main character, and her best friend and next-door neighbor, Shelley are the most fun characters ever. I love their light-hearted, fun, relaxed, and comfortable friendship. There is no competition or jealousies. Everything is perfect and peaceful. Jane, a widow, lives with her three children. Her house is the most cozy, loving house. Her children are good and stable. She's doing an excellent job raising them. Jane is a good example to follow. And this series is a very cozy series. It is fun and comfortable to read. My idea of coziness and comfort would be a thick pair of soft socks, thick fluffy pillows, and these books. If you are a cozy fan and haven't tried these books yet, I would recommend it. Even though I read a few out of order, it is always best, but not necessarily important, to read them in order.

A new deli is opening in town. Jane's son Mike gets a job as a delivery person. Everyone comes to the deli when it first opens. The food is really good. This is a murder mystery, so you know what happens . . .

Jane and Shelley want to know the truth. Of course, Jane's boyfriend the policeman doesn't want them to be interfering . . .

There are so many pieces to this puzzle. So many facts and possibilities. So many potential leads . . . If you want a good challenging mystery to help Jane and Shelley try to figure out . . .

While Jane and Shelley are figuring all this out, we go on adventures. There is graduation night party. There is interacting with Jane's kids. There is Jane and Shelley's friendship (which is the main event in these books). There is Jane and Shelley trying to figuring out the mystery. There is the new deli. There is Mike's delivery job at the deli. There is Mike's new truck. There is Jane's everyday cozy household events, such as grocery shopping and cooking, which would seem mundane and boring, but to me, is really some of the coziest activities ever (maybe because I love home and kids and domestic life).

I enjoyed this cozy book!
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Arrogant, presumptuous, pretentious and infuriating are just a few adjectives that come to mind while trying to describe lawyer Robert Stonecipher. Is it any wonder that no one is upset or surprised when his dead body is discovered under an overturned rack of hams at the grand opening of a neighborhood deli.... an establishment whose opening he had done his best to prevent.

Within a day, another death occurs. Following in Stonecipher's footsteps in death as she had in life is his assistant, Emma Weyrich, victim number two.

Investigating police detective Mel VanDyne has his hands full. Not only does he have two dead bodies and enough suspects to sink the proverbial battleship, he also has a girlfriend named Jane, who along with her neighbor and gal pal Shelley, is bent on following the clues and solving the case.

Readers who love cozies will be amused by the harried homemakers as they add detective work to their varied array of domestic duties. Not big on plot, this diverting story is a quick and entertaining read. To quote Forrest Gump, Jane and Shelley go together like "peas and carrots"............or maybe like ham on rye.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 28, 2009
If you're looking for a comfort read that will hold your interest and won't make you think too much, you can't do better than a Jane Jeffry. The grin-worthy titles, and the combination of suburban angst and snappy dialogue make them worth reading and overlooking the obvious clues to the killer.

In Silence of the Hams, a dead man is found under an overturned rack of hams in the storage room of a brand-new deli in which Jane's son is working. Jane wants to solve the crime to keep her son from being murdered too. Naturally, a well-liked teen-aged boy would be in as much danger as a man everybody in town has a reason to kill, and there's a huge, glaring plot hole that makes the killer obvious, but as I said, overlook, overlook... Whether Jane is chaperoning her son's graduation festivities, fending off her MIL's advice or grocery shopping, she and Shelley are good company, and that's all I require of them.

Ms. Churchill's strengths are in the delightful friendship between Jane and Shelley, her ability to describe the ordinariness of suburban life in a way that has every woman reader of a certain age nodding in recognition and turning pages to see what Jane and Shelley will do. The characters are somewhat stereotypical, but comfortingly so, and they make the Jane Jeffry mysteries some of my favorite comfort reading.

This book isn't deep, nor challenging, nor especially literate (though Jane is fond of Dorothy L.) but it is an enjoyable few hours spent among friends.
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on November 17, 2005
Jane Jeffry is one of my favorite mystery series characters; I return to her "world" when I need a reading treat I know I can count on. As many reviewers have noted about this series, the novels feel like visiting a couple friends in their homes. Opening a Jane & Shelley book and beginning to read is as easy and welcoming as opening a kitchen door from a neighbor's back porch and walking right in without needing to knock. You know these two friends will always have at least one shenanigan in contemplation or neighborhood issue to bat around over coffee and snacks or lunch, dinner, whatever.

In SILENCE OF THE HAMS, neighborhood political economics are brewing from the base of a few haughty residents attempting to control the direction of life-and-livelihood of everyone in the area, and the plot pacing is especially natural and seamless as Jane and Shelley's involvement (along with the reader's) in the brew percolates and is intensified by a quickly dispatched murder of the most appropriate character to kill.

As usual, I enjoyed the easy way Jane relates with her kids, friends, and significant other. Loved the entertaining sensitivity in which Jane & Shelley went about getting a new black pickup truck for Jane's son, Mike, and the way he responded to the gift.

The plot in this one has a few unexpected twists midstream, reversing direction, in a sense, then beginning again at an unexpected point. With Jill's seamless scene maneuvering, the twists and abrupt new deals flow like, "Oh. Didn't expect that. Interesting."

There's more deductive-reasoning-detecting dancing through this plot than previous ones; a lot of brain wracking for Jane, Shelley, & Mel stretches through easy-going, daily routine machinations. It feels almost as if this solving crimes deal has now become old hat, yet it's no less entertaining as a perk-along read. The surge in detecting in this offering intrigued me, especially as it was brought to a peak of fun with Jane & Shelly slithering into a delightfully silly tangent of suspects and motives, using formula letters (X, Y, Z, Q, P, S, K). You have to have been there (which you have the option to be, of course, by reading this one). At the culmination of the Gordian Knot of Alphabet bits, Shelly concludes:

>> "I like it, Jane. Mel, we've solved it. You can probably still make your arrest this evening if you hurry." <<

You can probably guess Mel's response, but you might want to read his exact words in reply to this Alphabet/Algebraic Formula discussion after Shelly capped it with the above statements.

I have my own guess guess for what may have brought on this major increase of detecting discussions in this particular novel in the Jeffry series. But, I'm not saying; wouldn't want to spoil your brain racking fun.

I enjoyed this surge of "who done it" conversations in HAM, driven by the intriguingly increased complexity of the mystery machinations; and I enjoyed as well the other novels I've read and reviewed in this series which focused different entertainment draws of a good work-of-fiction (see my Listmania). Jeffry novels have just the right amount of variety of style and venue, along with just the right amount of sameness to keep a (thankfully) long series from getting stale and to continue inviting readers into the story with the comforting feeling of familiarity.

Deftly dealt with, worthy ongoing themes in this novel include community politics around retaining property values, opening a new gourmet deli in Jane & Shelley's neighborhood, blackmailers running rotten personal agendas by using their professional standing to gather dirt from unsuspecting clients, celebrating school ceremonies from hell or from heaven (with Jane's "right-on" guidance on which slants were silly and which were angelic). As usual, Jane & Shelley's opinions hold the prizes for common sense sanity Vs overboard or inappropriate, controlling mania which is out-of-touch with the reality in which Jane & Shelley live with relish and easy-rambling-routine (which is uncannily just like the one many of us work to live in with a slip of sanity).

You won't want to miss HAM if you're raising teens into adulthood in this age of political insanity with gory causes galore (giving unearned glory to the agendas' pushers in the media, school systems, literally permeating every cultural outlet for opinions founded in innumerable pseudo sciences gone amuck). The scenes are so simply right on, in which Jane deals with Katie's toes slipping into the slimy water of band wagon mania, "Don't you CARE about the environment, the X's, Y's, Z's, Q's, P's, S's, K's (in this case the algebraic letters are referring not to suspects, but to various political agendas (causes), all of which contradict the interests of the others.

What ever happened to watching (only) your P's & Q's? Have they been lost in the murky waters of Quantum Physics, where observing a tiny particle of energy makes it dance to your music or become "beauty in the eye of the beholder"? The P's might even "spit in your eye" if you don't "watch out."

Pseudo science continues to slice-and-dice Common Sense in a never ending battle of bumbling idiots using sentimentalism to divert attention from their feathering-of-their-own-nests-and-manias. Take heart, though, Jane & Shelley continually resurrect that beat-and-battered Common Sense Thing, which most humans carry dormant in their DNA. The battle of extracting it from the soul and attempting to execute it begins with the second breath.

Returning to the REAL issues in HAM, here are a few fun questions to answer as you read:

Was the bad guy (the one who was squished under the ham rack on the new deli's opening day) killed before he was killed, or did he die "innocently" of natural causes, THEN get murdered? And what about the second murder, or was it the first, last, and only murder (at least for that week in the Jeffry/Nowack neighborhood)?

In some ways this plot, even as entertainingly convoluted, back-stepping, and back-stabbing as it was, read like a fun & fancy, well-choreographed line dance with each stepper in sensual-rhythmic-synch.

Appreciating An Author-in-stride,
Linda G. Shelnutt
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VINE VOICEon April 16, 2010
Silence of the Hams is one of the very best Jane Jeffry mysteries. It has tons of stuff going on with Mike's graduation, multiple deaths and the resiting investigation. A shockingly unexpected killer was almost just an added bonus with so much interesting back story.

The graduating seniors are treated to a mandatory school-sponsored post-graduation party. The entire thing sounded fabulous, from the decorations in each themed area to the prizes each kid won. Jane's mother-in law and brother-in-law are in attendance for the graduation and any visit from the in-laws always results in funny rudeness. Two characters in Silence of the Hams are controlling types always on one crusade or another for the betterment of the community against the actual desires of said community. Plus, a dead body found under a pile of hams that leads to a lot of time we get to see Jane investigating with Shelley in tow. Silence of the Hams was a delightfully fun, quick and breezy book with a very surprising killer and motive.
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on December 15, 2003
Hams are relevant to delis and lawyers. A lawyer appears under a rack of hams. Robert Stonecipher has made a nuisance of himself in the community trying to shut down people's businesses. Two mothers, Shelley and Jane, are bored with Cub Scouts and school awards assemblies and decide to team up to thwart Robert Stonecipher. Everyone shows up for the opening of a new deli and, as previously mentioned, Stonecipher is discovered under a rack of hams.
Under the circumstances nearly everyone in the community is a suspect until it is learned that Stonecipher died of natural causes. Next his secretary departs life and her death renews the efforts of the police officer, Mel, Jane's friend, to trace the possiblity that some people were being blackmailed by the pair. The solution to the mystery is of the psychological kind and is well done. The women, Jane and Shelley, along with Jane's son Mike, and Mel are delightfully rendered by the author.
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