Saturday, December 26, 2015

License to Dill

Author:  Mary Ellen Hughes
Series:  Pickled Preserved Mysteries #2
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Description:  Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…

After her fiancé left her, Piper came to Cloverdale to rebuild her life and open up her shop, Piper’s Picklings, to sell pickles and preserves. When her ex decides to drop in for a visit—just as things are heating up between her and a local Christmas tree farmer—Piper finds herself in a jam.  But there are other visitors to worry about…

An Italian soccer team is set to play the Cloverdale All-Stars in an exhibition game. Their manager, Raffaele Conti, was a bitter rival of Piper’s dill supplier, local farmer Gerald Standley. After Conti is found dead in Standley’s field, Piper must work to clear Gerald’s name and find out who relished killing Raffaele before the town is soured by another death.

My Review

This is the second installment the Pickled Preserved Mystery series. I found the second book to be just as enjoyable as the first. Set in a small town, I think that the characters are well written, charming, and likable; they are just what you would expect from residents of a small town.  While the book description may lead readers to think the romantic sub-plot may take over the mystery, rest assured this sub-plot was well done and stays in the background.  First and foremost, this is a mystery and that is evident from the beginning of the book.

The story and the mystery are both solid and have a great pace. The author’s storyline kept me engaged and turning the pages. The mystery was well thought out and the author did a very good job of setting up the tension between the victim and some of the suspects from the beginning.  What I liked about this mystery is that while there are plenty of suspects, Piper has to slowly dig through the victim’s history with the townspeople to find those suspects and their motives.  Although I did figure out the identity of the killer about 2/3rds of the way through the book (which almost never happens for me) it did not take away from my enjoyment of the remainder of the book. I was just as interested in see how Piper would put the pieces together and how the mystery would be solved. It had a very climactic ending and I am definitely looking forward to other books in the series. 

I thought License to Dill was a charming story with a really good mystery.  I will definitely be returning to Cloverdale for the next installment of the series.

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