Welcome to Little Bavaria, a town devoted to tourists, beer, oompah bands and murder.
Leaving her husband home at Hillside Manor, innkeeper Judith Flynn drags her cousin Renie along on a 4-hour train ride to Little Bavaria, where Oktoberfest is in full swing and the state B&B association, egged on by Ingrid Heffelman, hopes that a hospitality booth manned by its members will fill up rooms left vacant in the economic downturn. It’s a good idea that quickly turns nasty. A 91-year-old town patron keels over at the welcoming event. The autopsy reveals aconite poisoning. The police chief, an incompetent buffoon dubbed Fat Matt, is thoroughly baffled. He calls on amateur sleuth Judith to help him out, not only with this murder, but with that of the owner of the Pancake Schloss two months back. A couple of locals make false confessions. New evidence suggests that a past suicide may actually have been murder. There’s another attempt at poisoning and a lot of gossip about the many, many illegitimate children of that town patron, plus a few rumors about the failed marriages of some of his progeny and the whereabouts of some of their children. Clues pile up, ditto red herrings. And the oompah bands play on until Judith sorts through old legal cases, divorce papers and documents concerning German immigrant resettlement after World War II and saints of the Catholic Church.
Breezy and sardonic, with Judith and Renie (All the Pretty Hearses, 2011, etc.) in top form for their 26th adventure.