Friday, November 6, 2015

From Bad to Wurst (A Passport to Peril Mystery)

Author:  Maddy Hunter
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

ISBN #:  9780738740348
Midnight Ink Publishing
312 Pages
$11.29 Amazon
December 8, 2015

It's Oktoberfest and the globetrotting seniors are sharing their Sounds of Music adventure with several oompah bands whose dream of performing in a famous German beer hall is about to be realized.  But when a deadly relic from wartime Munich rains disaster on the group, their dreams are shattered - until an unlikely guest offers them new hope.

The tour hits a sour note when tragedy strikes a guest who knew the musicians' most guarded secrets.  Was the death an unfortunate accident or something more sinister?  As the group travels from the beer tents of Munich to the fairytale castle of Mad King Ludwig, Emily strives to restore harmony.  But with the situation escalating out of control, could the gang be looking at a terrible end to their German interlude?


Emily Andrew Miceli is back again in this tenth offering of Maddy Hunter's delightful Passport to Peril series.  In this outing, Emily and her group of savvy seniors are off on a trip to Germany, accompanied as usual by Emily's Nana, but also her flighty mother Margaret and her father Bob.  Also along for the trip is a psychic named Zola Czarnecki, who lucked out when there was one available seat left on the bus.  She has been amusing passengers with her predictions of the future - amusing most, anyway; although there are always bound to be skeptics in the group - the most vocal being the ever-cranky Bernice Zwerg, who is also the ever-present thorn in Emily's side.

They are traveling with a group of four Oompah bands that are excited by their chance to perform in the beer halls of Germany - since their claim to fame thus far being only able to perform in their native Iowa.  But when one of their members, Astrid Peterson, is accidentally dispatched early on by an incendiary device, and Emily is also injured in the blast, it stumps both her and her husband Etienne why anyone would be so interested in finding something Astrid left behind.

With the void left because of Astrid's demise, one of the bands finds themselves without an accordion player, which they determine is necessary for their success on the foreign stage.  An unlikely replacement comes from an unlikely source, which leaves not only Emily but also other members of her family scratching their heads in confusion and disbelief.  And when her mother develops a 'slight problem', it is up to Emily to enlist the assistance of her reluctant Nana for help.

When another group member is killed, and this time it is an obvious murder, it's up to Emily and Etienne to try and ferret out a killer before someone else becomes a casualty, and they haven't a clue why, who, or how it occurred.

As always, Ms. Hunter has given us a tangled murder mystery that is delightful to read.  Emily's attempt to figure out who the murderer is has her trying to decide who had a reason to kill, and she finds out that more than one person might have had a secret to keep, but which ones?

Her seniors are always humorous, and there were some laugh-out-loud moments, especially the scene with the "toddler tether" between Margaret and Nana.  And while they are exploring what should be the trip of a lifetime in Germany, the seniors are whipping out their ever-present camera phones and taking pictures - but what pictures they're taking are interesting, to say the least.

We are also given much pleasure in the wonderful description of Germany and its sights: Ms. Hunter can't be beat in being able to bring us along with her on the journey to other locations, and it's part of what I look forward to every time I pick up one of her books.  She manages to weave the story in between the scenery, and that's a treat by itself.  By the time we reach the end of the book, we are satisfied in the resolution, and I will say that I couldn't see any clues to the killer throughout, and it came as a surprise, but satisfying nonetheless.

At the end it's hard to say goodbye to the friends we've made while reading the others in this series, and this book is no different, and look forward to their next vacation.  So for now, I only say Auf Wiedersehen und bis bald (goodbye and see you soon).  Highly recommended.

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