Scene of the Brine‘Morning. Dan Carlyle, here, sheriff of Cloverdale. That’s in upstate New York. For a small town, we’ve had a rash of murders, lately. More than our share, I’d say, and it seemed to pick up around the time Piper Lamb opened up her pickling shop here. Not that I’m blaming her. Not at all. It’s just that the timing seems odd.

Of course, a pickling shop is kinda odd, too, when you think of it. A whole shop of pickles and preserves? But I’m not complaining. It’s great-tasting stuff, plus it gave my little girl a job. Amy finished cooking school around the time Piper’s Picklings opened up, and she’s one super-cook, if I say so myself. Since Amy could only find part time work in A La Carte restaurant’s kitchen, picking up extra hours at Piper’s Picklings was good for her. And she loves fixing all those pickles with Piper—and selling them—just as much as I enjoy eating them.

But the downside is Amy gets too close for my comfort to these murders that have been happening, what with Piper jumping in to prove that the people I’m looking at real close are innocent. I’ve had some serious talks with both the young ladies about that. But I could see it going in one ear and out the other. So far it hasn’t put Amy in any danger, thank the Lord, but Piper’s had a few close calls.

Right now I’m off to deal with yet another murder. It looked like a natural death at first, but it’s turned into a homicide case. What do you want to bet that Piper gets involved, somehow? I wouldn’t take that bet if I were you ’cause the odds are pretty good she will. Unless. . .

Piper and that young Christmas tree farmer, Will Burchett, have been looking pretty cozy lately. Maybe they’ll be too wrapped up in each other to think about other things like murder. Except, from what Amy tells me, Piper’s Picklings has practically turned into News Central, with customers rushing in with the latest bulletins. Burchett can’t be with Piper 24/7, much as I’m sure he’d like to be, so Piper’s going to have her curiosity piqued all day long. One way or another—count on it—she’s going to get involved.

Maybe I’ll be lucky and someone will step forward right away with their hands up and admit they did it. Think that’ll happen?

In my dreams.

Okay, Piper. One way or another, here we go again. Just, please—for my sake—or for Will’s sake—be careful!


Scene of the Brine is the third book in the “Pickled and Preserved” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, February 2016.

Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner. . .

Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.

Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself. . .

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Mary Ellen Hughes is the national best-selling author of the Pickled and Preserved mystery series, which began with The Pickled Piper and License To Dill and continues with Scene Of The Brine. A Maryland resident, Mary Ellen’s previous books include the Craft Corner mysteries: Wreath Of Deception, String Of Lies, and Paper-Thin Alibi. Visit her at www.maryellenhughes.com, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Scene of the Brine. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 12, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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