Batter Off Dead
by Tamar Myers

New American Library of the Penguin Group, 2009. ISBN 978-0-451-22592-4.
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov
Posted on 03/03/2009

Fiction: Mystery

Author Tamar Myers brings us a new taste of mayhem and murder in her latest Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery, Batter Off Dead. Magdalena Yoder is a busy woman of many responsibilities (Mayor, Innkeeper, Senior Deaconess of the Mennonite Church, Amateur Detective, eight and a half month mother-to-be and general volunteer), with often irritating and nosey qualities. For the last couple of months, her amateur detecting skills have lain dormant while this mid-40's dynamo has taken off time from her duties to relax before the impending birth.

The town glutton drops dead after inhaling a record number of pancakes at a fundraiser for the church where (despite swollen feet) Magdalena has been volunteering. She is ready to jump in and assist when the overworked Chief of Police asks for help as the cause of death is found to be suspicious. But before she can even begin detecting, her baby son makes a quick and unexpected early appearance while Magdalena is in her cousin's store.

Motherhood doesn't stop Magdelana from investigating the growing number of suspects and the plot heats up when her number one suspect is found squashed flatter than a pancake. This blunt-speaking and somewhat naïve sleuth pries and irritates people into confessing their sins, and the suspect list, instead of diminishing, continues to grow. Determined to find a killer before anybody else gets hurt, Madgalena even finds ways to use the new baby to open otherwise rigid defenses and doors.

The mystery is amusing, the characters are interesting, and the recipes are yummy. Myers delivers another sample of her flavorful series.

Tamar Myers, who is of Amish background, is the author of the Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries and the Den of Antiquity series. She lives in North Carolina with her husband. Visit her website.

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