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Dread on Arrival
Hemlock Falls Mystery No 17
Claudia Bishop

Berkley Prime Crime
April 2012/978-0-425-24707-5

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Hemlock Falls, NY is a tourist Mecca. Filled with unique shops and a cooking academy, it is also home to the Inn at Hemlock Falls. Sisters Meg Quilliam and Sarah Quilliam-McHale run the inn that boasts twenty seven rooms. The sisters will soon host the wedding of Rose Ellen, who owns the new shop, Elegant Antiques, and Edmund Tree, acerbic host of TV's "Your Ancestor's Attic."

An episode of "Your Ancestor's Attic" is to be recorded in the Hemlock Falls High School auditorium just two days before the wedding. The event would bring out the media, but it also brings Tree's rival Belter Barcini, host of Pawn-O-Rama, a rival TV show, to town. The men decide to have a cooking competition, to be taped for both shows. During the contest taping, Edmund Tree drinks some punch that was poisoned and he dies on the spot.

Over the years, Meg and Sarah have acquired skills in unearthing clues and questioning murder suspects. Will they be able to solve this crime and keep their crime-busting record intact? Or is danger heading their way when they snoop a little too much?

I found this to be a fast-read, chock full of quirky characters and offbeat situations. I particularly liked the subtle comparisons of cooking rivals Clarissa Sparrow and Meg Quilliam and the rivalry of Tree and Barcini. Longtime fans of this series will be thrilled to have another installment set in Hemlock Falls. Newbies to the series will most certainly want to make time to read the sixteen previous books.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Buried by Breakfast, No 12
A Carol For A Corpse, No 14
Dread on Arrival, No 17

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012