Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Crime

Author: Tamar Myers
Title: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Crime
Publisher: Signet
Publish Date: July 1, 1996
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Even a proper Mennonite innkeeper finds it hard to resist Hollywood's siren call, especially when she's offered an outrageous sum of money for the use of her premises. But Magdalena Yoder - whose quaintly chic hostelry gained national fame when it became the site of two unfortunate murders in Tamar Myers's debut mystery, Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth - soon comes to regret her decision. First a manic group of not-quite-reputable actors, directors, and producers descends on the inn and begins to do things that must have Magdalena's mother rolling in her grave. Then her very own neighbors are apparently infected by the bug and begin to act even more bizarrely than the movie folk. But when one of the crew is found impaled to the wall of the barn by a pitchfork, it's no longer possible to pretend that this is just an exciting interlude in an otherwise quiet life. And since the incompetent police chief, Melvin Stoltzfus, is convinced that Magdalena did it, she must find the real killer in order to clear her own name. Readers of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Crime will enjoy the recipes of Magdalena's cook, Freni Hostetler, and her friend Doc Shafer, liberally sprinkled throughout the book, while following Magdalena's hilariously maddening efforts to clear her name, return her precious PennDutch Inn to its pre-Hollywood level of propriety, and give her twirling mother some peace.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery, #2)

Review: The first book in the series was cute, but I had problems with the way the author portrayed the Amish and Mennonite communities. I don't pretend to know everything about the Annabaptist religion, but after reading this book, I know this woman doesn't know much. What she does know is the local area. At least there's that.

Magdalena is supposed to be a Mennonite, but her actions aren't quite right, but I won't even go there, because the things that are wrong would be too long to go into. Suffice to say, don't read this book expecting to get any insight into the lives of the Amish or Mennonite communities. If you want that, check out a book by Marta Perry.

These discrepancies won't stop me from reading this series though. I'm a glutton for punishment. Actually the story isn't a punishment, because Magdalena, in all her obnoxious glory, is a hoot. There's nothing cozy about Mags and the cast of characters in this book give new meaning to the word quirky, particularly Melvin Stoltzfus, the police chief in Hernia.

The plot is crazy and far fetched, but oddly fun. Imagine a film crew at a quiet Bed and Breakfast! And the Hollywood characters are really out there. They are more like caricatures than people.

I was rather amused by the ending as well as the love interests that are working their way into Magdalena's life. I mean, this lady is not lovable!

I guess that's why this series is such a guilty pleasure. It is so bad that its good.

Rating: 3 flowers


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