Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE PICKLED PIPER by Mary Ellen Hughes

Publisher:    Berkley  
Published:   May 6, 2014
ISBN:     978-0425262450
Genre:   Cozy Mystery  
Format:  Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com


After her fiancé, Scott, takes off to parts unknown to find himself Piper Lamb makes some of her own life changing decisions which including returning to the idyllic small town of her youth, Cloverdale and opening up a pickling shop. Not just pickling, but a whole gourmet line of pickles and other pickled treats.  With her friend and assistant, Amy, she joins others in the town displaying her wares at the annual Cloverdale fair.  Business at the fair is booming and things are going great until one of the town’s not so favorite sons turns up dead.  Not just dead, but head first in Piper’s pickle barrel.

It doesn’t take long before Amy’s boyfriend Nate, is in the sheriff’s sights as the culprit.  What complicates things is that Amy’s father is the sheriff and he has made it quite known that he’d like Amy to hook up with his volunteer deputy, Ben.  Believing the sheriff isn’t looking at all the angles, Piper and Amy start their own investigation into the pickled victim.

Mary Ellen Hughes’s THE PICKLED PIPER was my first read by this author but it certainly will not be my last.  At first I wasn’t sure I could get into a story centered around pickles, but while they, and pickling, do provide the background, Hughes has a wonderful writing voice.  Piper’s thoughts on pickles brought back some fun memories of a local grocery store where I grew up where one of our weekly treats was getting to pick a giant pickle out of a barrel and eating it while walking around the store.  Interspersed through the story are other tidbits on pickling and how tasty some foods can be when pickled. 

Aside from the tasty side of the story the author has some well done red herrings and a solid mystery.  I was pretty sure I knew who did it – and boy was I wrong!  Delightfully so.  From the solid and steady Will to the Barney Fife-esq Ben and all the characters in between Hughes gives readers a nice small town flavour with a fun mystery to solve.

If the Prickled Preserve mysteries aren’t in your sights you don’t know what you’re missing.

This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.

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