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No Use Dying over Spilled Milk


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Magdalena Yoder, Mennonite proprietor of the PennDutch Inn in Hernia, Penn., returns from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime for a third mystery with an Amish twist. Magdalena, her worldly younger sister, Susannah, and Freni Hostetler, cousinly relation and cook at the inn, go to Farmersburg, Ohio, for the funeral of Yost Yoder, who drowned in a vat of milk on his farm. Magdalena meets other relatives who recognize her Yoder nose and large feet; she learns of another recent death in the community, that of Levi Mast in a fall from his silo. Since both farmers had been supplying milk to the Daisybell Dairy, Magdalena's suspicions are raised and she decides to investigate, while trying to avoid the sardine-dominated cooking of her hostess and keeping tabs on the nymphomaniac Susannah. The plot is straightforward, almost transparent, in places, and the Amish characters (some of whom seem more simpleminded than simple) are frequently the butt of heavy-handed humor based on physical characteristics, such as Sheriff Marvin Stolzfus's big ears and Magdalena's own clodhopping feet. Also present in this unsurprising tale are Magdalena's love interest, Aaron Miller (known as Pooky Bear), and a sampling of recipes, e.g., Freni Hostetler's Poor Man's Goulash. (Apr.)

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