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Authors: Tamar Myers

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Hell Hath No Curry

BOOK: Hell Hath No Curry
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Hell Hath No Curry

Other Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries

by Tamar Myers

Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Crime

No Use Dying over Spilled Milk

Just Plain Pickled to Death

Between a Wok and a Hard Place

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary

Play it Again, Spam
®

The Hand that Rocks the Ladle

The Crepes of Wrath

Gruel and Unusual Punishment

Custard’s Last Stand

Thou Shalt Not Grill

Assault and Pepper

Grape Expectations

Hell Hath No Curry

A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes

Ta m a r M y e r s

New American Library

New American Library

Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 1310, New Zealand

(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Copyright ’ Tamar Myers, 2007

All rights reserved

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA: Myers, Tamar.

Hell hath no curry: a Pennsylvania Dutch mystery with recipes / Tamar Myers.

p. cm.

ISBN: 1-4295-2907-5

1. Yoder, Magdalena (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Women detectives—Pennsylvania—

Fiction. 3. Cookery—Pennsylvania. 4. Pennsylvania Dutch Country (Pa.)—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3563.Y475H45 2007

813'.54—dc22

2006022424

Set in Palatino

Designed by Spring Hoteling

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

publisher’s note

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

This book is dedicated to Shabnam Mahmood and her family.

Acknowledgments

All the recipes in this book are authentic and were supplied by my dear friend Shabnam Mahmood.

1

It was the best of crimes; it was the worst of crimes. Cornelius Weaver had everything going for him—except a pulse. He was tall, handsome, and exceedingly rich. It is said that he flossed on alternate Tuesdays. Even now, as he reposed in his extra-long, sinfully expensive, antibacterial casket, I had no doubt that there was at least one woman in Hernia, Pennsylvania, who wouldn’t mind taking him home with her. That someone, by the way, was not me; dead or alive, Cornelius was not my type. But I seem to have gotten ahead of myself.

I was sitting at the kitchen table of the PennDutch Inn, which is both my business and my home, when Sergeant Chris Ackerman tapped gingerly at the door. On second thought, maybe the only ginger present was the powder my cook, Freni, was adding to her stew, but nonetheless it was a very weak sort of knock; one that I found irritating. My knuckles are the envy of woodpeckers, you see, and I firmly believe that if one must knock, then one must do it with panache.

“I can’t hear you,” I shouted pleasantly through cupped hands.

Sergeant Ackerman knocked a wee bit louder.

2 Tamar

Myers

“Hark, who goes there? Art thou a man or a mouse?”

“Miss Yoder, it’s me, Chris!”

“Chris who? If it’s Chris Cringle, then you’re either six months early or six months late. No matter which way you slice it, an apology is in order.”

“Miss Yoder, this is very important.”

“Ach, enough,” Freni said and, wiping her hands on her apron, went to open the door. Freni serves triple duty; not only is she my cook, but she’s my cousin and my friend. Occasionally she acts as my conscience.

The second Chris tumbled into the room, I knew she’d been right to put an end to my shenanigans. The young man was as pale as uncooked bratwurst, and only slightly more coherent.

“It’s the chief,” he said. “It’s awful. He’s dead.”

For the record, Police Chief Olivia Hornsby-Anderson is all woman, not that I’ve ever checked, mind you. Surely he was referring to someone else.

“Are you sure it’s the chief?”

He nodded vigorously. “She said to come get you. That you’d know what to do.”

Dead women rarely talk in my experience, but if indeed our deceased chief had recommended my services, she’d been right to do so. Sergeant Ackerman had only recently moved to Hernia from California, and was still quite unfamiliar with our ways. Besides, there was the issue of his youth; although no fault of his own, the man was younger than most of my sturdy Christian underwear. The chief also hailed from the land of fruit and nuts, but at least she had the benefit of wisdom, which, if you ask me, can come only with age.

“How did she die?” I asked as I reached for my purse, which hung from a hook by the door.

“She isn’t dead, Miss Yoder.”

“But I thought you said—”

“It’s Mr. Weaver who’s dead.”

HELL HATH NO CURRY

3

Ours is an Amish and Mennonite community. We have more Weavers in the phone book than we do Smiths and Joneses combined. Off the top of my head I could think of at least three Weavers who had one foot inside the grave and the other on a banana peel.

“Which Weaver, dear? Augustus?”

“The rich one.”

“Both Seth and Elias have money—”

“The hottie, if you’ll excuse the expression.”

“Cornelius! Why didn’t you say so? But wait, there’s nothing wrong with Cornelius that a stern lecture and a fused zipper couldn’t fix.”

“Apparently it was a heart attack. Miss Yoder, what do I do?”

“Well, I assume you called 911. You did, didn’t you?”

“But I
am
the police—well, one of them.”

“Touché. Did you call the paramedics?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Then write up your report and turn it in to the chief, who will read it and give it back to you to file. It’s really very simple.

Even Freni here could do it.”

“Ach!” Freni glared at me behind thick lenses that were per-petually smeared with shortening and flour.

“I didn’t mean anything by that, except that you don’t have any police or office experience. My point is that this is a fairly run-of-the-mill case and that anyone could do the job. Oops, perhaps I best quit speaking now.”

“But you see, Miss Yoder,” Chris said, not sounding at all insulted, “this is an unusual situation in that Chief Hornsby-Anderson was actually there when Mr. Weaver died.”

“Well, heavens, then, let her write it up.”

“Yes, but you see, uh—how can I put this?”

“Put it quickly, dear. The sands of time are slipping quickly through this hourglass figure of mine.” I meant that as a joke, of course.

4 Tamar

Myers

“Miss Yoder, I guess I’m going to have to come right out and say this; it’s possible the chief contributed to Mr. Weaver’s demise.”

One must give a certain amount of begrudging respect to any twenty-some-year-old who can use the word
demise
in a sentence, even if he appeared to have been smoking marijuana and had porridge for brains. I prayed in vain for patience.

“Just because the chief was there,” I said, “does not make her responsible. I’m sure she did her part.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

I sighed. “So now you tell her that since she did her best, she needs to stop feeling guilty. And believe me, I’m an expert on guilt.”

Sergeant Ackerman is a good-looking young man with a pleasant disposition. I was quite shocked to see his demeanor change.

“Miss Yoder, I always thought you were a very intelligent woman.”

“But I am!”

“Then why is it that you don’t grasp the situation?”

Freni, who had been standing silently at my elbow, gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. “Ach, the English,” she said behind her protective shield of stubby digits. “Always the sex, yah?”

“Sex?”

Chris nodded again. “The chief and Mr. Weaver were doing the mattress tango, as I believe I’ve heard you refer to it.”

“That’s mattress
mambo,
dear. It’s the two-sheet tango—oh, never mind. You don’t say! Are you sure of this?”

“She told me herself. That’s why she sent me to you. I’m quite capable of writing up the report,” he said, no doubt emboldened by my state of shock. “I don’t need help with that. It’s damage control that the chief and I are worried about.”

“Damage control? Why me?”

HELL HATH NO CURRY

5

“Because you’re the mayor, Miss Yoder.”

“And very bossy, yah?”

“Freni!”

The young man had the temerity to smile. “And not just that.

These are your people, Miss Yoder. You know their ways. You know how to reach them, how to prevent this from becoming a huge scandal. Besides, like the chief says, you have a vested interest in keeping this incident under wraps.”

“I do?”

“The chief says because you appointed her to the job, if word of this gets out, the people will start to question your judgment.

She said that if you don’t help us—I mean, her—you could be voted out of office.”

“Is that a threat? It sounds like one to me.”

Freni lacks a neck, or she would have nodded her head in agreement. “Yah, a threat.”

“Ladies, it isn’t a threat, but a fact. You appoint the chief; the chief does the hokey pokey with one of Hernia’s most upstanding citizens; said citizen croaks. Who’s ultimately to blame?”

I sighed so hard a layer of grime was blown from my kinswoman’s glasses. “All right. I’ll call the town’s biggest gossip and see what she already knows. I’ll take it from there.”

“But, Miss Yoder, she couldn’t possibly know anything. I came straight over here from Mr. Weaver’s house. The paramedics hadn’t even arrived yet.”

I chuckled while Freni snorted. “My dear boy,” I said. “Welcome to Hernia.”

2

Agnes Mishler’s landline was busy, but I got her on her cell. She said she was happy to be of service and promised to be right over.

I relayed this to Chris, who, it was obvious, didn’t put much stock in Agnes’s ability to help. It was also clear that he didn’t believe her promise to be right over. No sooner did he pull out of my driveway, on his way back to the Weaver residence, than Agnes squealed up to the kitchen door. Her car made some funny noises as well.

“Ach,” Freni mumbled, “the nosybody.”

The dear woman, it must be noted, is Amish, whereas I am Mennonite. I have a high school diploma
and
an associate’s degree in English. Freni has only an eighth-grade education, not to mention that English is her second language. The fact that some of her phrases are colorful is to be expected, sometimes even enjoyed.

“Just plain nosy would work, dear,” I said, and jerked the door open to admit Agnes. The latter is on the fleshy side, to put it kindly, so she almost lost her balance. It was not, however, my intention for her to do so. To make amends, while I shoved a chair under her, I offered her something to drink.

“No thanks, Magdalena. This may come as a surprise to you, but I’m trying to lose weight.”

HELL HATH NO CURRY

7

“I’ve got diet soda. My guests insist on it, but why I should pay good money for what is essentially colored water is beyond me.”

BOOK: Hell Hath No Curry
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