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Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Series #1)

Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Series #1)

3.4 15
by Tamar Myers

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When a guest takes a fatal fall down the PennDutch Inn's quaintly steep stairs, Magdalena Yoder, the no-nonsense owner, is more worried about a lawsuit than foul play. But when a second guest is found dead on Magdalena's handsome quilt, she's sure there's a killer somewhere on the premises. This first book in a new series includes authentic Pennsylvania-Dutch recipes.


When a guest takes a fatal fall down the PennDutch Inn's quaintly steep stairs, Magdalena Yoder, the no-nonsense owner, is more worried about a lawsuit than foul play. But when a second guest is found dead on Magdalena's handsome quilt, she's sure there's a killer somewhere on the premises. This first book in a new series includes authentic Pennsylvania-Dutch recipes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This debut mystery introduces Magdalena Yoder, a mean-spirited Mennonite innkeeper who offers service with a sneer to the ``well-heeled, highfalutin customers'' patronizing her PennDutch Inn in southern Pennsylvania. When not badmouthing her sinful, slothful, divorced sister and her ``bizarre excuse for a dog,'' Magdalena attends to an unfortunate combination of guests: a congressman, his wife and aide, who are in the area for the first weekend of deer-hunting season; a quartet of anti-hunting activists; and Heather Brown, who calls herself a ``photo-hunter.'' Ironically, one of the hunting foes bags the first big game when, in the middle of the night, he finds Heather sprawled dead on the inn stairs. Police chief Jeff Myers initiates an investigation of the suspicious death, but leaves soon for a vacation with his wife Tammy, who is, Magdalena's observes, ``dingier than a mailbox on a gravel road.'' With the case in the hands of a dim deputy, Magdalena undertakes some sleuthing and learns that her patrons are secretly linked in their pasts. Another guest bites the dust as this carping narrator fails to display the high IQ she brags of: matters become clear to her only when the villain is overcome by a desire to confess. Occasional recipes, rich in butter and sugar, don't make up for the story's sour tone. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Much of this first mystery novel occurs as a lengthy flashback interrupting the present moment. Narrator Magdalena Yoder, of Hernia, Pennsylvania, exploits her Mennonite heritage, in-your-face attitude, and razor wit by running a prosperous, elitist inn. Murder threatens her success when two of her customers are dispatched on the premises. Suspects include a secretive congressman, his socialite wife, a gay aide, and several animal rights activists. More than a little hokey and simplistic but still a mildly amusing possibility for larger collections.
Kirkus Reviews
A tough week for Mennonite innkeeper Magdalena Yoder. Half the guests for her PennDutch Inn, the pride of Hernia, Pennsylvania, are animal-rights activists out to harass the other half—a hunting party headed by up-and-coming Congressman Garrett Ream. No wonder the recondite dietary requirements of a company that includes a vegan, a lacto, an ova, and several carnes send Magdalena's cook, Freni Hostetler, into repeated spasms of quitting ("Freni either needed to see a therapist or to seriously consider becoming a Baptist"). And that's before Magdalena's manic sister Susannah discovers that the lacto is secretly the Congressman's daughter, and before two of the guests are poisoned by two independent malefactors. As Magdalena herself, overcome by emotion, says: "Gosh darn!" Despite a strained, obvious mystery: a welcome debut for tart Magdalena, who's under no illusions about her bare-bones inn's appeal ("You'd be surprised how much people will pay for abuse, provided they can view it as a cultural experience"). Six nonpoisonous recipes—the first beginning, "Clean and pluck the hens"—are scattered through the tale.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Series , #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.24(w) x 6.92(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Series #1) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Joolz More than 1 year ago
I like a good cozy mystery as well as the next person, but I really take issue with a character who disparages and sneers at the customers who give her a livelihood. Worrying more about some quilt than a person who has died is just cold and heartless. I didn't finish this book. Read Diane Mott Davidson or Joanne Fluke instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many more of the same and becomes a mere cartoon most series become set and stale many amish theme mysteries and books out there now but this was the first author i recall who made a comedy out of amish practices and beliefs the problem is comedy can be cruel and crude gentle humor is one thing but this is slap stick and clowns are scarey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read 12/23/14....read your freebies, (culinary) cozy mystery, chick-lit 4 stars "There is no point in trying to change someone else’s perspective, anyway. We all just see what we want to see." "I’m sure some people think that just because I live a simple lifestyle, I have a simple mind. If only they knew." Magdelene Yoder, spinster owner of the PennDutch Inn, is a formatible person to stand up to. She, with her sister Susanne Yoder Entwistle and her dog Snookums , her relatives Freni and Mose, the 80- something vvet,the police cheif and his assistant get mixed up with a bunch of crazy Englisch over the Hunting Season opening weekend. Two deaths and an attempted shooting later, you have recipes for a fine beginning to what is now a very long running culinary cozies series. Part Agatha Christie, part Keystone Kops, with a few tantilizing food stops along the way (boiled cookies and the fried bananas) you will want to check in to the PennDutch again soon....just don't say vegetarian around Freni and you should be right at home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
otterly More than 1 year ago
This is the first of a new murder mystery series, starring Mennonite Magdalena Yoder, proprietor of the PennYork Inn, formerly the family home before her and Susannah's parents died. She thinks that the current crop of guests haave come to hunt but... Gradually some of the guests get murdered. Susannah is somewhat ditzy, and divorced. Is this the sort of place that you would want to stay? I don't know that I would chose another book by this author, but a book group might consider it.
FormerFirefighter-Doug129 More than 1 year ago
As I live in Amish Country I found this book one to reconmend to any Mystery lover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow, boring characters and story. Reads like a first semester product of an online class. I've hit a few good intros to unknown authors to me. So happy I only wasted a little bit on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Magdalena Yoder, family and friends are knee deep in protests and murders in this book. Great recipes, good characters and a fun read. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wfnren More than 1 year ago
Magdalena Yoder runs the PennDutch Inn in Hernia, PA and is related to almost everyone in town, either close, distant, or once removed, etc. Her sister Susannah, who left the Mennonites to marry but is now divorced, lives at the Inn but is very undependable, lazy, and sleeps around. Their parents died in an accident and Magdalena and Susannah are the only ones left in their immediate family. It is the beginning of deer hunting season and they are looking at having a full house, so full that when Miss Brown shows up Susannah has to clean her room so Miss Brown can have that room. A Congressman, his wife Lydia and his aide are expected as are several members of A.P.E.S. (the Animal Parity Endowment Society). Billy Dee Grizzle and Lydia Ream are the nicest of the guests, Miss Brown wants to be left alone, even for meals, and the rest are just strange. The A.P.E.S group is vegan, the Congresman's group and Billy Dee want meat, so this causes problems with Freni, the cook and she ends up quitting and being fired several times. The first night dinner is quite the scene but once every one is in bed, someone hears a thump and Miss Brown is discovered in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The police are called and the body is taken away so they can do an autopsy. A couple of days later, after Magdalena gets shot at a couple of times, Susannah's dog Shnookums chokes but Magdalena saves him, the hunters have left the Inn each day (if that's what they're actually doing) and the A.P.E.S. group have spent their time looking for the Congressman's group to try and prevent them from hunting, (they never do find them), one of the other guests is discovered dead with her hand gripping a homemade quilt. Susannah discovers her as she is looking for Shnookums pacifier. Now with two deaths, looking more and more like murders happening in her Inn what will happen? Will people still want to come, looking at the reputation she's had up until now, or will they decide it's not the kind of place they want to stay at? Don't judge this book by it's title, the Mennonites are not anything like you'd expect. Magdalena's brain seems to be thinking strange thoughts constantly, it's kind of funny some of the things she thinks to herself. There are some curse words, which really surprised me, not a lot and not 'filthy' ones but if you don't like reading these words, I would suggest you not read this book. If you like cozy mystery's you'd probably really like this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Susannah¿s screaming at a corpse on a quilt in the opening scene was an effective capture. The plot time regression, backtracking from ¿murder-up-page-one,¿ trailing events and road-forks which may have contributed to the murder, was a narrative technique of literary lace. The quilt was Amish and it had been spread, somehow wrongly, across a bed in the PenDutch Inn. Magdalena¿s detailing the difference between a murdered corpse and a ¿normal¿ dead body was an intriguing way to surge depth and reality onto the stage. As she will do throughout the series, Magdalena Yoder comes grumbling to the rescue. There¿s a lot to do to clean up a murder or two, not to mention catering to a full house of high brow guests paying hefty prices and expecting the best, even within Magda¿s ALPO ambiance. ALPO, of course, is the Amish Lifestyle Plan Option at the Inn, which avails guests of a trip into the cultural snootiness of choosing to clean their own rooms and common areas. My curiosity peaks to uncover how and why each guest decides to handle (or not) the broom. ALPO is such a deal for discriminating character nuance with a single sweep. I enjoyed observing the evolution of Magda¿s narrative style in this pilot to such an auspicious, long-running series. I had to remind myself that at the point of writing and publishing this novel, Amish mysteries had not yet had the foundation which Tamar Myers brought to this amateur sleuth repertoire. I enjoyed the way Myers toyed with the bright/dark balance within each character, including herself. No one was offered a free ride outside the box of the PenDutch¿s sensitive, sagely satiric pen. Nothing was left wondering here, except, if you had read this pilot prior to the publication of 13 or so sequels, you¿d be not wondering if, but begging that Myers would cough up more and more PenDutch ambiance, to slide more cooks into the stew. That phenomenal publication story indeed has a good (never) ending, as Myers is still penning plush and posh.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tamar Myers is a genius! She is able to capture not only the true spirit of the Amish and Mennonite life still but she puts a wonderful twist on a facinating lifestyle by throwing in a really well written murder case. Her main character, Magdelena Yoder ( a common name here in Amish country) is someone any woman can identify with, holding down an household, making ends meet and dealing with crazy relatives and friends. Plus add the smarts and desire to find out the truth and you have one heck of a woman! This book hooked me from the start and I have been furiously tearing through the rest of the fantasic stories with Magdalena. It's a good thing Tamar Myers also has another series in publication, because she can't write these ones fast enough for me.Great way to spend a cozy evening at home.