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Book Review: License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes


If I had the choice to watch paint dry or read, I would would probably choose to watch the paint dry.

At the end of the first installment, it was midweek when Piper Lamb received a text from her ex-fiancé letting her know that he was coming to town after traveling the world.

Once this installment begins, Piper is nervously pacing her shop awaiting the arrival of Scott.

However, someone lets it slip that she helped solve the previous three murders weeks ago, plus her Aunt Judy’s Explorer now becomes an Equinox.

Anyway, to start the story, an Italian soccer team is coming to Cloverdale for exhibition games and manager Raffaele Conti is murdered in Gerald Standley’s dill field.

Since Piper relies on the fresh dill from Gerald, she reluctantly agrees to poke around to prove that he is innocent.

She discovers that Gerald and Conti were rivals in high school (Conti was an exchange student at the time) and stole his girlfriend, Denise. Thankfully, Gerald and Denuse did marry after Conti returned to Italy.

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While the town awaits Piper’s investigation, another group of amateur sleuths is also trying to solve Conti’s murder.

But, while Piper is trying to solve the murder, she also has to reaffirm her breakup with Scott, who won’t take “no” as an answer. Which infringes her budding relationship with Christmas tree farmer Will Burchett.

With too many characters and too many sleuths, it’s easy to get confused as to what’s going on and it’s like a race as to who’s going to solve the murder.

While Hughes does a great job with dialogue and the seed for a great story, it’s bogged down by too many characters, plus we have to suffer through two exhibition matches before Conti’s demise.

The foreign exchange student angle was good, but we don’t really know why he comes back and what the motive was. Conti does trash one suspect but that’s about it.

As I said at the beginnin of this review, it’s supposed to be a few days after the first installment, but when the Harvest Shingdig is mentioned, I was lost.

And at the end, Hughes gives a history of dill and some canning recipes.

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