Had Mennonite innkeeper Magdalena Yoder but known Colonel Custard's plans for upscaling tiny, picturesque Hernia, Pennsylvania, with a 100-suite hotel, deluxe spa, gourmet restaurant, and hot-and-cold running amenities, she never would have rented out the second floor of her PennDutch Inn to him, his chauffeur Ivan, and his personal chef Anne. No sooner does she find out, however, than she calls a town meeting to deny him zoning rights, and the hubbub has barely peaked when the Colonel's lying dead on his bedroom floor with a bullet hole in his forehead and a gun in Ivan's hand. Magdalena's dopey brother-in-law, Sheriff Melvin Stoltzfus, thinks he's got the culprit, but Magdalena's not so sure, and having solved a few crimes in her time (No Use Dying Over Spilled Milk
, 1996, etc.), she canvasses the locals for other possible suspects, a task complicated by omnipresent members of the Fourth Estate, all convinced that she's Bigfoot (don't ask). Of course, sticking her plus-size proboscis into everyone's business, from Sam Yoder's Corner Market to Elspeth Miller's Feed Store, worries Magdalena's Jewish fiancé, Gabe Rosen, especially when it forces her to confront a 25-foot snake with naught but a meat fork while it squeezes the life out of one very tiny killer while Melvin's besotted sidekick Zelda looks on.
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