Select one of the keywords
Gruel and Unusual Punishment: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes    by Tamar Myers order for
Gruel and Unusual Punishment
by Tamar Myers
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Magdalena Yoder, a Mennonite, owns the PennDutch Inn in Hernia, PA. That's right. Hernia! In the 10th book of this series, Tamar Myers has again placed her unique heroine in the face of danger. 5'8" with a nose 'that should have its own zip code', Magdalena runs her Inn and sticks that large proboscis in where others fear to tread. In this latest episode, a prisoner in the local jail is murdered by a soupcon of arsenic. Magdalena feels she must clear her Inn's name, since the food this man ate was provided by the PennDutch.

Myers has a droll, dry, wit and it is obvious in every paragraph. It must be difficult to maintain this levity through a whole manuscript. It became a little too much for me as a reader - who by the way does enjoy books that make me laugh - but I did finish the story, as Magdalena seems to grow on one. It's a clever plot and the machinations Magdalena goes through are delightful. The names of her characters are imaginative, as are the descriptions of the owners of those names.

Some very interesting recipes for grits pop up throughout the book (from Good Old Grits Cookbook by Bill Neal and David Perry). Even if grits aren't your idea of fine cuisine, these might tempt you to try a pot full - maybe the grits with pumpkin. Gruel and Unusual Punishment is a mystery to read when you are in the mood for froth.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews