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Posted August 13, 2003
For lovers of formulaic food farces
To be fair, let me say that this was given to me by a friend who just loves the series. What she loves, and what is most interesting about the books, is the warm, close but sometimes combative relationship between the two sisters, one a master chef and one an artist/incompetent inn manager who run a small upscale hotel. Their relationships with other people are pretty dismal; the men in their lives could really do better than these two. I know that my friend would think I'm mean, but I have lost almost all sympathy with the main characters. Quill, a bungling, parasitic Sad Sack, is particularly tedious. In this story, one of them has cheated on her 'fiance' (this is the new style of affiance where there are no actual wedding plans) and in the midst of a brouhaha, the truth comes out. I believe that Bishop expects us to feel sorry for her, but I don't. I think that almost any of these books has a certain wacky charm, and would while away the time on a plane, but I find that the series has worn thin for me. (It would probably help if gourmet cooking appealed to me.) Many of the characters are unchanging, broadly drawn, daffy stock figures who land everyone around them into trouble. People don't learn and grow over time; it's always the same joke. Kind of like 'The Beverly Hillbillies', which I also found only moderately amusing. Still, it is clear that this sort of thing appeals to a lot of people, so I presume the reader knows his/her own taste.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2003
Hemlock Falls is being invaded by Fried Chicken
Hemlock Falls, New York, sounds like a town I'd like to visit. I'd definitely enjoy a visit at the Inn at Hemlock Falls run by sisters Meg and Quill. I think that's why I enjoy this mystery series so much. It's set in a place I could see myself visiting. Meg is the chef at the Inn and Quill is the manager. In this book the town's mayor, Elmer Henry, tries to convince Meg to judge the Fry Away Home contest being held in town. Meg emphatically refuses. She is appalled to be asked to judge a deep fat frying contest. Harry Holcomb of Holcomb's Wholesome Fried Chicken wants celebrity chef Banion O'Haggerty to judge the contest. Unfortunately O'Haggerty wants more money than Holcomb is offering. Elmer will have to come up with the difference. He'd rather Meg do it -- he wouldn't have to pay anything. Holcomb is opening the town's first Holcomb's Wholesome Fried Chicken. O'Haggerty arrives and decides to stay at the Inn. Meg hates O'Haggerty. Then Holcomb's most hated rival, Colonel Cluck, is setting up shop here, too, and decides to stay at the Inn as well. O'Haggerty is found dead. Meg and her fiance, Andy (and the town doctor), are suspects. Meg and Quill jump into action to help solve the murder. Sheriff Myles Hales, who Quill sees on a regular basis, is not happy when Meg and Quill try to help. He even calls in an old friend he once worked with, Jordan Bellemarin, to run the investigation as he was too connected. The setting in this book really assists this story. Having everyone staying under one roof helps in the investigation and 'snooping.' The characters are very well developed and life-like. The plot always has plenty of twists and turns. I definitely couldn't figure this one out ahead. I also like that Quill, who does most of the detecting, is smart. I don't like books where you can't figure out why they can't see what's right in front of them. I never feel that way in this series. I highly recommend you read this book. It is the greatest in a long line of great books in this series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.