Hi! I’m Amy Carlyle, Piper Lamb’s part-time assistant at the pickling shop. I love my job ’cause it lets me do all sorts of pickling and preserving in addition to just handling sales. I’m a trained chef, though I’m recently out of school and could only land a part-time job in the kitchen of one of Cloverdale’s top restaurants. But that gives me great experience. Working at Piper’s Picklings has given me great experience, too, but of a whole other kind.
Take today, for instance. Piper’s ex-fiancé, Scott, showed up in Cloverdale after traveling the world to “find himself,” conveniently forgetting that Piper had broken up with him. He obviously planned to pick things up with her where they had left off, but Piper’s new boyfriend, Will, had other things to say about that. I could tell that Piper had torn feelings after seeing Scott again after so long. That was going to make things very interesting!
Then Mr. Standley came by with a delivery of the fresh dill he grows on his farm outside of Cloverdale. It’s the best dill in the country! But Mr. Standley has other interests, too, like soccer, and he was all excited about the Italian semi-pro soccer team coming to play the Cloverdale All-Stars, a team he happens to help coach. He’s totally over the moon about the match.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret Mr. Standley doesn’t know yet: the manager of the Italian team is an old nemesis of his from their high school days. I’m afraid that’s going to be quite a shock when Mr. Standley sees him step off the team’s bus. Old feelings and rivalries, don’t just die away. But old nemeses sometimes do, especially if they’re shot. And if their body happens to be discovered in an enemy’s dill field, well, that dill farmer is in a lot of trouble.
I’ll hate to see Mr. Standley in a lot of trouble—he seems like a really nice guy! But I suspect Piper will step in to help, and not just because she’d lose a great dill source but because she’s pretty good that way. Who knew someone who makes terrific pickles and preserves would also have a bit of Sherlock Holmes in her? Not me, that’s for sure. But I’m really glad she does. She helped me out in a major way last summer, so I hope she can do it again for Mr. Standley.
I’d better get back to work, now. Green tomato relish doesn’t jump up and make itself, you know, and Piper has a great recipe for it. While I’m back here, chopping and cooking, I can still hear what’s going on in the front of the shop.
I wonder who’s going to walk in next?
You can read more about Amy in License to Dill, the second book in the “Pickled and Preserved” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is The Pickled Piper.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on February 20 for the chance to win a copy of License to Dill. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.
About the author
Mary Ellen Hughes has written two previous mystery series: the popular Craft Corner Mysteries (Wreath of Deception, String of Lies, Paper-thin Alibi) and the Maggie Olenski mysteries (Resort to Murder, A Taste of Death.) She lives in Maryland with her husband, who has long provided her with all the homegrown vegetables she could want for preserving and pickling as well as many unique inspirations for mysteries.