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Alas Magdalena with her holier than thou attitude and permanent "sour grapes" scowl directed at everyone she encounters coupled with her determination to make as much money as possible without actually working makes her one of the least likable "amateur sleuths" I've seen in awhile.

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Tamar Myers | Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth

With a character like this its important to strike a balance and give them enough positive qualities to actually get the reader on their side. But, the more we learn about Magdalena the more miserable and glum she becomes. Every guy she encounters is a man she might have married and every now and then we get a flashback to her childhood where its evident that she was denied opportunities for everything from the prom to college while her tens year younger sister got to do everything after her parents gradually began to grow out of their strict religion.

All of this is sad but it doesn't really make Magdalena especially endearing it just makes her understandable, which is not the same thing at all. A series like this also relies almost entirely on its supporting characters, all those wacky neighbors and shopkeepers and quirky little old ladies and mean housebound veterans with secrets that keep the cozy mystery business in the black.

Unfortunately the ones that populate Magdalena's are just kind of boring. We've got the lecherous old doctor who keeps awkwardly hitting on her, the unbelievably stupid deputy sheriff like stupid he shouldn't be allowed to use scissors much less a gun stupid , the inn's cook who "hilariously" quits every five minutes and her henpecked husband, and Magdalena's sister who comes across as sort of a Blanche Dubois on Speed and who Magdalena repeatedly calls a slut for daring to divorce and date men. As for the inn's guests well they're all so horrible you kind of want all of them to be dead by book's end.

Honestly everyone is so acid tongued, sarcastic, and just plain mean you can't find a way to be sympathetic to any of them. Tamar Myers writing is fine, better than many who write these kinds of mysteries, but its populated by a cast of totally dislikable misfits who are either nasty as hell or so stereotypical of this genre as to be utterly unbelievable as actual people. Myers does a fairly good job of staying on task in terms of keeping the mystery in the fore front of the reader's mind but by the time the case is solved its neither especially exciting or interesting. Magdalena notices a clue that absolutely no one including the reader would get except for her and in the end only solves the case because the murderer literally tells her everything in the typical Scooby Doo big end reveal.

I'm a sucker for Amish stories and I had some high hopes for this but alas this looks like the end of my road with Tamar Myers View all 5 comments. Nov 12, Dianne rated it really liked it Shelves: It has been quite a while since I've read this author and this particular series, so I decided that I should try it again. I am so glad I did. I had forgotten what a fun read these books are. The story is, in my opinion, a little more complicated than it seems to be on the surface.

There are lots of red herrings, but the truth is quite subtly woven int It has been quite a while since I've read this author and this particular series, so I decided that I should try it again. There are lots of red herrings, but the truth is quite subtly woven into the fabric of the story. Many readers may not enjoy the character of Magdalena Yoder, who owns the Mennonite inn. Her thought process is more like a big city shark than a simple country inn owner The secondary and tertiary characters are great, although some of them will become annoying later on in the series when their characters don't grown and mellow.

First person story telling will make many readers quite happy. She does offer all meals as well for a fee. Around rolls hunting season and she is booked once again with a lively group. A senator and his wife and various members of a animal rights group trying to save people from killing the deer. Two people end of dead Who did it and why? I know I didn't figure it out but enjoyed the book and can't wait to read the next ones.

Sep 25, Mom rated it did not like it. This book is not my style and I couldn't stand it from the first page. Mar 10, Andrea Guy rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm reading this series in order! Before I review this book, I have to say, if you are knowledgeable of the Amish or Mennonite culture, you might want to pass on this series, cos Tamar seemed to be getting her religions muddled from time to time. If you can get passed that, this is a hilarious start to a series.

Magdalena is such a squirrelly woman. I've always found that the first books in cozy mystery series spend a lot of time introducing you to the secondary characters, and this book is no exception. We meet Magdalena's lazy sister, Savannah, who also gets around with men and Mose and Freni, the Amish couple that take care of the animals and do the cooking. Freni quits or is fired at least 20 times in the book. These characters really bring the humor to this book. The mystery, is a bit slow, with the first dead body coming at almost the halfway point in the novel.

However, I didn't really find the pacing slow. I liked getting to know the characters in Hernia, PA. The other thing I really liked was the setting of the story. It wasn't in Lancaster County, which is where a large group of Amish and Mennonites make their home. Instead, Hernia, is a town somewhere between Somerset and Breezewood. I love reading about places that I know about, it gives me the warm fuzzies. I can see the Allegheny mountains and the turnpike. A congressman and his wife, who were there to hunt deer and a group of animal rights activists.

Just knowing that was enough to make me turn the pages, because you knew there was going to be a lot of conflict, as well as murder. This group ranged from rather nice Joel to downright obnoxious the congressman and Jeannette. There's definitely more than meets the eye with these people and that's what made this book so much fun to read. I can't wait to get book 2! Jan 02, Rachel rated it it was amazing Shelves: To begin with I really don't understand how someone can give this a one star rating.

I absolutely loved the book. I enjoyed the characters - some more than others, of course. Magdalena - the "innkeeper" was enjoyable to me.

Words and wine by Amy M. Reade

Although Mennonite she wasn't afraid to "look outside the box" and see that some changes needed to be made when her parents died. Thus the "inn" came into being. I have to admit that I had an idea who was responsible for the murders, but not why or how the case would be resol To begin with I really don't understand how someone can give this a one star rating.


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I have to admit that I had an idea who was responsible for the murders, but not why or how the case would be resolved. Apr 27, Pattie Tierney rated it did not like it Recommends it for: A gift from a friend, I started this book immediately upon completing the Taylor book. Why is this series so popular? I find none of the characters even remotely likable and the whole Mennonite austerity, self-righteousness, and sanctimony is almost more than I can bear.

Not sure if I'll be able to make if through this one, but it will certainly be the last I read in this awful series. I did finish this book, but really found the characters loathsome. The proprietress of the Inn was particularly A gift from a friend, I started this book immediately upon completing the Taylor book. The proprietress of the Inn was particularly annoying with her holier-than-thou attitude, and yet seeing fit to lie with regularity when it suited her.

I cannot stand people like this. The cook who either quits or is fired daily was equally tiresome.

Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth

Mar 17, Allison rated it really liked it. A funny perhaps slightly irreverent! The characters in this cozy mystery are well-developed and likeable despite their flaws. The plot, while not as action-packed as other cozy mysteries, is driven by the characters and the skeletons hiding in some of their closets. I can't wait to continue reading this series! As a cozy mystery, it is lucky to get a 3. I am still not sure if the book is meant to be a send-up of the cozy with recipes genre or not. The meals served at the PennDutch Inn, poison aside, sound atrocious.

Why would one want the recipes? The PennDutch Inn itself is not high on my list of holiday destinations. There is the over-priced Amish Lifestyle Package in which, for a fee, you are welcome to do more household chores t As a piece of humour, Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth deserves a four. There is the over-priced Amish Lifestyle Package in which, for a fee, you are welcome to do more household chores than you ever would at home.

And there is the snobbish, ill-tempered, self-justifying owner, Magdalena Yoder. She does not want you to get the impression that she is a whiner but amongst the things she does not like are: She is also not a very good detective, misreading clues and suspects and tampering with evidence. Why read this then? Causing more griping but no whining as she is not a whiner. Jun 06, Danielle Gonzalez rated it liked it. This is the first book of a Pennsylvania Dutch mystery series. She lives with her unorthodox divorced sister gasp , who breaks all the rules of their heritage.

As Magdalena checks in her guests she learns that some seem to be there to hunt and others are animal loving activists there to protest the killing of animals. One of the guests is found This is the first book of a Pennsylvania Dutch mystery series. One of the guests is found dead at the foot of the stairs and the cause of death has to be determined - was it murder or is Magdalena liable for a slip and fall death? As they work to figure out what happened, we find that not all of the guests are who they appeared to be.

This is a quirky story with a quirky main character. For instance, she offers her guests the option to pay more for the "Amish Lifestyle Package" where they have to clean up after themselves and do their own household chores. It was an interesting story and kind of fun to learn about the characters and Myers' portrayal of the Mennonite culture not always depicted as I would have thought. I rated this 3 stars because I'm not absolutely sure I like the main character, but I'm willing to read the next book to see. Mar 09, punxsygal rated it it was ok Shelves: Miss Magdalena Yoder is worried about a lawsuit when a guest at her PennDutch Inn takes a fatal fall down a steep set of stairs.

Her other guests include a congressman and his wife who have come for deer hunting season and a number of animal-rights activists. Her Amish cook quits when the vegetarian guests refuse to eat the Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Then a second guest is found dead in her room clutching a handmade quilt. While I like many cozy mysteries, this one began to grate on me. There we Miss Magdalena Yoder is worried about a lawsuit when a guest at her PennDutch Inn takes a fatal fall down a steep set of stairs.

There were too many references to Magdalena's mother rolling in her grave over some action, too much of the cook quitting and being rehired, and generally, unlikable characters. After a while the inn did not feel cozy to me and I just wanted to leave. The book also provided a few recipes to go along with the story, but other than chicken and dumplings I found they had little to do with the Pennsylvania Dutch theme. And while I have a large dose of PA Dutch in my background, I didn't feel any connection to the book. Jun 14, Diane rated it did not like it. I've been researching my husband's Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, which includes Mennonite, and thought I would enjoy reading a book which combined his heritage with my favorite genre, mysteries.

Sadly, I "unenjoyed" this book. The main character is, hopefully, a poor representative of her religion. She lies with impunity, is mean, rude, obnoxious, conceited I could go on, but why bother? She's not a person I'd like to befriend. For the humor to be more than mostly tasteless jokes there needs to I've been researching my husband's Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, which includes Mennonite, and thought I would enjoy reading a book which combined his heritage with my favorite genre, mysteries.

For the humor to be more than mostly tasteless jokes there needs to be substance behind the jokes. It didn't even feel like a mystery. It worries me to admit this, but I didn't care that people died! Some readers have mentioned Tamar Myers books have improved over the years, so I may try another in hope that I might like it. It won't be a hardship, as it was a very quick read. I'm afraid, though, that my previously pleasant thoughts of my husband's background may have been permanently damaged.

Aug 26, Chaitra rated it it was ok Shelves: Way too much focus on the nitpicky vegetarians and vegans that the inn is "forced" to cater to. For an ovo-lacto-vegetarian this was not amusing. I mean, you're an inn. A Penn Dutch one, but still an inn. Anyhow, early 90s - attitudes have surely changed in the installment of the series, I hope. I didn't like the mystery, or the whole premise, which was boring and apparent, but I didn't mind Magdalena - crochety Mags with her ridiculous upbringing.

I'm surprised she's not wo It was alright. I'm surprised she's not worse than she actually is.


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  • I'll read another one or two of these books before I decide to abandon the series. I bought this book on a whim, because I liked the idea of a novel that contained recipes That was several years ago; now I will no longer read books that are part of a series, with the exception of this one and J. Robb's "In Death" Series. These are the books I turn to when I'm tired of reading about true crime, doomsday political stuff, dense "intellectual" novels or anything I have to think too hard about. I love the characters a I bought this book on a whim, because I liked the idea of a novel that contained recipes I love the characters and their crazy, unrealistic lives May 24, Deane Louise rated it it was ok Shelves: It wasn't edge of your seat reading, and I really didn't like the main character.

    The recipes looked good and easy to make. I didn't find any of the characters sympathetic and I won't waste my time reading any of the other books. This sense of humor is not to my taste. I can't abide people who complain, and that was all Miss Yoder did. She never had anything good to say about anyone or anything, and it was tiresome. I kept hoping it would get better, but it didn't. This is an Amish murder mystery and it is splashed full of comedy.

    Magdelena Yoder runs a boarding house after her parents died. She has to contend with her sister Suzanne, an angry cook as well as a hunting senator and a bunch of animal rights activists. The author has a way of making ordinary situations fun and even thought the first murder takes a long time coming the book is interesting and very amusing. I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more by this author.

    Dec 30, Jenger rated it did not like it. I much prefer her Den of Antiquity series which is humorous and more interesting storylines. I had a hard time finding Magdalena Yoder, the main character, as anything more than annoying. Even if she's meant to be prickly, she wasn't interesting whereas Abbie in the Den series is often rude and selfish yet she's still humorous and interesting enough to want to find out what will happen to her next.

    Oct 29, Joyce rated it it was ok Shelves: This book is ridiculous, yet I cannot put it down. It's a light read, but I think there's more to it if you're looking for it. The author uses more language than I'm comfortable with, to paint her characters, who are quite colorful. All in all, it was good. There's something compelling about her writing. I have a love-hate relationship with her books: Dec 14, Laura rated it really liked it. This came from grandma's bag of books and I didn't think I'd like it thought it was one of those CA cooking writer ones but I really did!

    The Mennonite woman had a lot of humor in there and it was really funny - not your typical who dun it. Thanks for stopping by! Wow, there are 18 books in this series… That could really keep a girl busy… There is a Pennsylvania Dutch Country Store down the block that I love going to…. Tamar Myers, having been raised in the Congo with a Mennonite background sounds like an interesting author.

    I am definitely adding this book to my TBR list…. Have a great day, Amy. She sounds fascinating— she must have a million stories to tell. Are you talking about the North Country Store on Route 11? I love that place. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.

    Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth

    Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. What are you reading? Until next week, Amy P. July 28, at 8: July 28, at