Dessert is once again a recipe for disaster in “Peanut Butter Panic,” the seventh in a series by Tallmadge author Amanda Flower (there are also two e-novels).
Bailey King, who co-owns a candy store in the fictional village of Harvest, Holmes County, has once again been enlisted by self-proclaimed Community Social Director Margot to do groundwork on his biggest project yet, a Thanksgiving dinner in the town square. With Amish guests as well as “English”, Margot expects up to 800 people.
While there will be 400 seats indoors in the church hall, the rest will be at tables in the plaza, a dicey proposition in late November in Ohio. Margot, who could be called arrogant if her ideas weren’t so beneficial to the village economy, hands her clipboard to Bailey and takes over for her to run the show while she, Margot, goes to the airport to pick up his mother.
Bailey, who has a store to run and candy to make for the upcoming holiday weekend, finds it hard to say no. She is also forced to take care of the minister’s wife’s miniature pig. Bailey is both amazed that Margot is ceding authority to anyone and amazed that Margot even has a mother.
When Margot’s mother, Zara, arrives, no one is happy to see her. Zara had been a judge in Holmes County for many years; one of Bailey’s friends says Zara “wrongfully sentenced dozens of Amish men and even a few women to jail.” It’s clear that Zara has nothing but contempt for Margot and for Harvest; she’s there to show off her much younger boyfriend, Blaze.
The Thanksgiving meal will include “church spread,” a mixture of peanut butter and tooth-rotting marshmallow fluff that the Amish use on everything from bread to ice cream. When Bailey gives Blaze a bag of homemade buckeyes as a welcome gift, he recoils in horror, citing a peanut butter allergy. Guess what’s in his dinner.
Although the pool of potential suspects may number in the hundreds, Zara narrows it down to three and hands Bailey a list. Everyone always gives Bailey lists. She has to sell chocolate and work on her relationship with her boyfriend, who has been assigned to the Ohio Bureau of Investigation in Columbus and doesn’t seem inclined to propose anytime soon.
“Peanut Butter Panic” (304 pages, softcover) is $8.99 at Kensington.
“Hotel California” Mystery Anthology
Amanda Flower’s upcoming book, “Because I Couldn’t Stop for Death,” is a historical mystery that finds Emily Dickinson’s maid solving a murder.
Amanda Flower is one of eight contributors to “Hotel California,” an anthology of mystery short stories. Her “Try and Love Again” finds Jay-Jay, a young private investigator from South Bass Island, approached by a man who wants her to find his summer love from long ago; the problem is that Jay-Jay knows the woman was murdered 20 years prior, a crime still unsolved.
The book’s editor is Don Bruns, a longtime Lima resident who has three popular crime series. His contribution here, the darkly humorous “Life in the Fast Lane,” is about a hitman hired to kill a small-town Georgia gambling addict, but who breaks every rule in his playbook one by one. mental assassin.
The book also includes a new Jack Reacher story by Andrew Child. Only the last of the eight stories, the book’s namesake, is set in California. “Hotel California” (267 pages, hardcover) is $26.99 from Blackstone Publishing.
Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Kevette Kane signs “TYM2THRIVE: Transform Your Mind & Transform Your Money to Thrive,” Sunday at 2 p.m.
bookstore by the fireside (29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls): Gabe Goldman signs “The Loving Wind,” a children’s book about death and the natural world, 1-3 p.m. Sunday.
Hudson Library and Historical Society: Eric Jay Dolin talks about “Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution” during a Zoom appearance at 7 p.m. Monday. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver talks about “Escape from Gravity: My Quest to Transform NASA and Launch a New Age of Space.” Register at hudsonlibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch, 1876 S. Green Road, South Euclid): Cade Bentley, author of South Euclid, who also writes as Abby L. Vandiver (“A Deadly Inside Scoop”), launches “Where the Wild Peaches Grow”, 7-8 p.m. Tuesday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library: Ellen Meister talks about her comedic mystery “Take My Husband” in a Zoom event from 7-8 p.m. Thursday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library (Coventry Village Branch, 1925 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): Dennis Keating speaks on “Cleveland and the Civil War,” 7-8 p.m. Thursday.
Bookstore of the learned owl (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Jason Lady signs his kids’ fantasy “Time Troubles: A Magic Pen Adventure #3,” Saturday, 1-3 p.m.
apple books (12419 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights): J. Ryan Stradal signs his “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” novels “The Lager Queen of Minnesota,” Saturday from 1-3 p.m.