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text 2017-12-27 18:59
Review: A Fatal Collection
A Fatal Collection - Mary Ellen Hughes

An adorable and enjoyable cozy mystery, from the charming location to the cute characters and the excellent plot, it was a fun read. I loved the world that the author created with Keepsake Cove, a beautiful little tourist town in Maryland with quaint little shops and I would love to wander around the music box shop, looking at all the different models. The characters were just as charming as the location, I really liked Callie, a realistic main character that is easy to relate to. But the plot really shined, from the ghostly music box to the twisty plot full of misdirections, I couldn’t read it fast enough.

 

A Fatal Collection will delight any cozy mystery fan, and this stands out as one of the finest mysteries I’ve read in 2017. I look forward to seeing the series continue, can’t wait for the next book!

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review 2015-02-20 00:00
License to Dill
License to Dill - Mary Ellen Hughes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I knew that darn Scott was going to be trouble when he appeared in Cloverdale at the end of The Pickled Piper and he is sticking around too, renting an office just down the street from Piper’s store. Piper does her best to fully explain to him their relationship is over, but Scott does not give up. Thankfully Will is a patient man but Scott just keeps popping up everywhere, even at the exhibition soccer game where he wedges himself into the seat closest to Piper. When the manager of the Italian team is killed he even tries to help Piper catch the killer. Piper truly has herself in a pickle as she tries to clear her friend’s name and make it clear to Scott she has moved on.

I love Piper, she is really making herself at home in Cloverdale. She still visits her Uncle Frank and Aunt Judy often but is branching out making new friends and her relationship with Will was moving at a nice pace. She made me laugh out loud several times and caused me to worry about her too as she finds herself in more than a bit of trouble.

Mary Ellen Hughes has given readers a nice treat by adding a few hunky Italian soccer players to the story. The way she tied this into the whole plot is very interesting and gives us a barrel full of suspects.

The story has a wonderful mystery, fun characters, a nice romantic subplot and the perfect amount of humor. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Cloverdale!!
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review 2015-01-15 16:14
License To DIll
License to Dill - Mary Ellen Hughes

While reading LICENSE TO DILL, I was reminded of why I loved the first book in this series, THE PICKLED PIPER. Ms. Hughes pens a story that flows at a wonderful pace. Each page makes you want to turn the next. Each chapter excites you for what is to follow.

 

Being back in Cloverdale was like going on a long awaited vacation. The wonderful cast of characters like old friends I had waited an entire year to see.

 

This delightful, well written mystery was so fast paced it kept me reading longer into the day that I had planned, completely ignoring my own everyday chores. It was packed with suspense, suspects, and motives that keep me guessing until the surprising reveal.

 

Also included are two great recipes for canning projects and a fun lesson on dill!

 

I highly recommend you pre-order your copy for the Feb. 3 release day.

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review 2014-07-06 06:07
The Pickled Piper (A Pickled Preserved Mystery, #1) -- DNF
The Pickled Piper - Mary Ellen Hughes

I'm not rating this one because I couldn't even get to page 60 before closing it with a "nope, can't do it".  By page 32 there were so many implausibilities my suspension of belief snapped from the tension of over-stretching.

 

To wit: 

The MC's (Piper's) ex-fiancee is a lawyer working in the district attorney's office that has decided to "find himself" by taking off for Tibet.  They break up, and she moves to Cloverdale to start up her picking business.  He calls her from Tibet just to tell her about the dinner he had the night before, and then feigns surprise that she's still in Cloverdale; he seems to not understand that they're broken up.  He's a lawyer.  Unless his degree came from a website I'm having a hard time believing he's that vague on the details.

 

The murder setup:  Piper's employee's boyfriend (got that?) tried to get a 'gig' as the MC of the local fair's talent show.  He lost out to someone who's done it every year for the last decade, but seems to be universally disliked by everyone in town.  That man ends up dead and the police immediately suspect it's the employee's boyfriend.  Really?  That's the best you can do?  He's the prime suspect because he didn't get to play MC for a two-bit talent show?

 

During a conversation with her employee, Amy, who is 21 (but already a trained chef), to Piper's 30, I found Piper to be incredibly condescending, saying how her age gave her a "more realistic view of life" - because Amy thought they'd sell a lot of pickles at the fair.  This was just about the point I was ready to give up.  But I kept on - it was only page 9 after all.

 

The breaking point for me was at the scene of the murder: Piper's fair booth and specifically her giant pickle barrel.  As the police are setting up barriers around the crime scene, a fellow booth owner comes storming over to Piper yelling at her for allowing someone to get killed in her booth, thereby affecting her neighbour's business.  The scene ends with the booth owner stomping off shouting this gem:

 

 "Nothing like this ever happened around here before you showed up with your pickling shop!"

 

Piper's only been in town a few months and this is the first book in the series.  

 

I've seen reviews for this book that have been positive (although not gushing) so I have to believe there's probably some quality later on in the story - but I just can't bring myself to slog through this to get to it.  It's a bit of a bummer because I'm very intrigued and curious about pickling and I thought this could be a fun read.  I'm not chucking the book - I might try reading it again later to see if perhaps it's just a mood thing.

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review 2014-05-30 04:57
The Pickled Piper (Pickled & Preserved, #1) by Mary Ellen Hughes
The Pickled Piper - Mary Ellen Hughes

  Piper Lamb has moves back to the place she's called home after calling it quits in a dead-end relationship. Opening a pickling and preserves shop called Piper’s Picklings, things are looking good until a local man is found in her picking barrel and her assistant, Amy's boyfriend is being accused. In order to prove his innocent, Piper puts away her preserves and puts on her sleuth hat. She better be careful because the killer has her in their sight and she may get burned...

 

  This had everything I enjoy in a cozy. Small town feel, good cast of characters and a great sleuth in Piper. Piper lead with her head and didn't go running into danger without second thought, something cozy sleuths can be guilty of from time to time. Piper slowly gather motives and clues, and does she have alot to swim through! The murder victim, Alan Rosemont, was a jerk and made many people of the town very angry. Piper has many suspects but the clues and motives can be a tad hazy.

 

  There were plenty of motives but clues were few and far between. This is more of my own preference as I love putting the puzzle pieces to figure out whodunit and see if I was right *grins* Another trouble I had was the hint of a Love Triangle in the next book. Between Will the cutie Christmas tree framer and Piper's clueless ex is coming back on the scene. I'm hoping it's all smoke and no fire and this triangle is tossed out early and a positive growing relationship is able to bloom between Piper and Will.

 

  A sweetly wonderful start to this new series and as a person who does some pickling herself, some great ideas and recipes to check out- looking forward to book two!

 

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