NAL, Feb 2005, 19.95, 227 pp.
Magdalena Yoder looks forward to the Beechy Grove Mennonite Church annual chili supper cook-off but her anticipation turns to horror when her beloved Reverend Schrock dies after sampling one of the dishes. His widow is convinced that he was murdered and that someone put peanut butter, which everyone knew he was allergic to, in one of the dishes. Magdalena doesn't want to believe that someone hated the preacher enough to kill him but she agrees to investigate the case even if she doesn't like the widow.
To her surprise, her brother in law Hernia's chief of police “Melvin the Mantis” tells her he's quit his job and he wants her to investigate the case because after testing products, it was found that peanut butter was in one of the chili dishes. After talking to various people she finds that Reverend Schrock was not the good man she thought he was. His crimes included embezzlement, bigamy, spousal abuse, his refusal to perform a marriage ceremony and much more. When Magdalena gets close to unveiling the perpetrator, he kidnaps her friend and cook and wants to exchange her for one million dollars in getaway money.
Nobody will guess the person's identity and it will come as a total shock to readers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner