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Hell Hath No Curry: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery    by Tamar Myers Amazon.com order for
Hell Hath No Curry
by Tamar Myers
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Priscilla Livingood of Hernia, PA is looking forward to a life of wedded bliss when her affianced is murdered. Step in Magdalena Yoder, Mennonite, innkeeper, all-around good person (in her own estimation), wearing good Christian underwear and with a tendency to embellish everything she says. Her fight to keep her religious tenets is an everyday battle one that she imposes on others around her.

Magdalena is about to be married to a non-Christian, which, after her bigamous previous marriage, has the town of Hernia steeped in righteous indignation. The main stumbling block to the nuptials is her future mother-in-law, who has her son tied to her apron strings with chains of steel.

The deceased becomes known to Magdalena as a Lothario who had many women eyeing him as potential husband material. Seems the whole town of Hernia knew this fact but her. That doesn't stop our intrepid investigator. She plows forward, pushing obstacles that would have stopped anyone else out of her way, manages to solve the mystery of the death, and moves on in her life.

The Magdalena series is one that has been written with tongue-in-cheek. The names of the characters are enough to bring smiles to readers' faces. And then there are Magdalena's ramblings about nonsensical things. However, she does manage to live by her own values. Not easy, to listen to her. And her treatment of her guests at the PennDutch Inn is pretty funny.

While it's all highly improbable, Tamar Myers has created a village and populated it with residents who manage to live in today's world and still maintain their Amish and Mennonite beliefs. When one needs a break from everyday stress, a novel like Hell Hath No Curry can bring laughs to weary psyches. Interspersed through the chapters are recipes for guess what? curries.

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