The Beechy Grove Mennonite Church chili cook-off becomes the send-off for Rev. Schrock.
Crabby Mennonite innkeeper Magdalena Yoder (Custard’s Last Stand, 2003, etc.) thinks the saintly reverend must have fallen dead into a pot of chili, but his wife Lodema believes her hubby, highly allergic to peanuts, was poisoned by the chili’s secret ingredient. When pesky Magdalena agrees to investigate, the congregation is only too willing to confide the worst to her: the good reverend tippled a little, enjoyed days at the track and nights at the Happy Back Massage Parlor, and probably raided the church building fund. Was there a sin he didn’t indulge in? Probably not, but Magdalena makes little headway in finding his poisoner, stymied as she is by her brother-in-law, stupid Sheriff Melvin Stoltzfus, and his besotted deputy Zelda. Even worse, the reverend’s wife, overcome with grief, regresses to childhood, and his sister Catherine is shot to death. Meantime, a little girl with dubious parentage is seen at the Tastee-Freeze guzzling ice cream while blackmail money changes hands and the inn’s cook is kidnapped. Is sex or greed at the root of the reverend’s demise? The answer is so outlandish readers will be tempted to slip the author some of that befouled chili.
A silly plot and forced humor spiced by distinctions between the Amish and the Mennonites. Much spicier are six chili recipes, including such unusual ingredients as dumplings, chorizo and egg.