“The Pickled Piper” by Mary Ellen Hughes
Piper Lamb is starting new. After leaving her fiancé—well, actually he left her to travel the world to ‘find himself,’ which gave Piper the out she needed—she moves and sets up shop in Cloverdale. Thinking she’d have a quiet life running her pickling shop, Piper’s world is anything but quiet.
She decides to join other shop owners and sets up a pickling booth at the town’s fair and does pretty well. Until a dead body—Alan Rosemont’s—is found in her pickle barrel. To say that it kind of sours her pickling is yes, a pun and probably crass, but it’s also the least of her worries.
Her only and faithful employee Amy is seeing Nate, who gets accused of murdering Alan. Piper tries to help Amy by helping Nate prove his innocence. But apparently, someone doesn’t want Piper figuring out too much. She becomes the target of some annoying and then deadly warnings.
Then it gets worse for Nate when more dead bodies are found. Piper figures they have to relate to each other and doesn’t stop trying to convince the sheriff and everyone else that Nate is not guilty.
Running a pickling shop and hunting down a killer keep her busy during the day. But so does trying to make her ex-fiancé understand they are over while getting cozy with a new man.
You’ll smile, you’ll root for Nate, you’ll tell Piper to move on with her new life and leave the old behind, and you’ll turn the pages while tension mounts up as one person after another becomes suspect—at least in Piper’s eyes. And you will not, assuredly, figure out who the actual murderer is until after Piper does.
Lots of fun. It makes for a great beach read!