Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Scene of the Brine

Author:  Mary Ellen Hughes
Series:  A Pickled Preserved Mystery #3
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley

Description:  Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.
Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself.

My Review

It's time to return to Cloverdale for the third installment of the Pickled Preserved Mystery series by Mary Ellen Hughes.  With this series, Ms. Hughes provides readers with a well written mystery, wonderful characters, a charming small town and a unique food themed series that proves to be a winning combination.   And it is certainly a combination that I am enjoying.  In my opinion, this series just keeps getting better with each installment and has filled a space for me in the cozy genre left by the ending of Paige Shelton's Farmer's Market Mystery Series.

I love that the theme in this series is pickling.  It is unique and for me interesting.  Sure I can follow a recipe but anyone who knows me knows that I can only claim to be competent in the kitchen.   This unique theme makes me wish I had more talent to try some of the wonderful and interesting recipes found at the end of the book.  

As for the story and plot itself, as with the previous two books this is well written with a solid mystery that keeps the reader turning the pages to the end.  I've come to expect nothing different from Ms. Hughes in the short time I have read her writing.  She has the ability to weave a wonderful mystery leaving you just enough clues so you think you have figured out the culprit only to surprise you with a twist at the end.  

I love Piper and all of the residents of Cloverdale.  These are great characters and they all have depth and dimension while each providing their own contribution to helping Piper solve the mystery.  Cloverdale and it's resident's are written with such charm that it is a shame that they are only fictional characters and a fictional place.  This is definitely someplace that I would like to visit.  I also like how Piper and Will's romance is progressing and that Ms. Hughes seems to have resolved the potential love triangle.  Although I have to say Scott is growing on me and I would like to see him stick around and find someone of his own.

This series is charming and well written with great mysteries.  I have enjoyed is so much that the next installments will automatically be added to my buy/to be read list when they are released.  

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