Against her better judgment, Innkeeper Magdalena Yoder has agreed to help chief of police Melvin Stoltzfus out of a jam. Clarence Webber, a guest at the local jail, has died, poisoned from a meal he ate. The meal happens to have been provided by Magdalena, but Melvin knows that Magdalena is not a killer. The problem is that Melvin is a terrible crime-solver and he desperately needs help.

Magdalena, who knows everything about everybody in Hernia, PA is more than happy to help. A natural born snoop, she can't help sticking her nose in where it doesn't belong. The investigation is not going to be an easy one, especially since Magdalena's ex has dumped his sullen teenage daughter on her doorstep. Still, there's nothing like a challenge and Magdalena has many secrets to uncover before she solves the crime and reaps the ultimate happy ending!

Satiric humor intermingled with quirky, likeable characters, as well as some fascinating Amish recipes make GRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT a very tasty story. Magdalena Yoder's adventures always make for nicely nutty reading and the ending will delight her fans. (Feb., 240 pp., $19.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg