Hotdish To Die For

Published By: Penury Press

Book Category: Fiction, Mystery & Detective

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Reviewed by Connie Anderson

Okay, first I admit it. I am a closet humor writer, but lucky for us, Pat is out of that closet and making us laugh. This is a mystery book, but I think of it as a humor book because I laughed more than I wondered "who done it."

This is collection of six of Pat's short stories (10-15 pages), each with a hotdish (or casserole) as an integral part of the mystery. I make a killer hotdish, so I was intrigued.

As a humorist and a writer, we get the best of both. It helps to be from Minnesota, and maybe even Lutheran to enjoy this to the fullest, but the rest of you will giggle along. Stories have tongue in cheek titles like The Elder Hostile, Death by Idaho (potato), Hotdish to Die For. And the book ends with 18 hotdish recipes, many already in my metal 3x5 recipe box. If you don't know what a hotdish is, it a food staple of things from a can and tator tots, served at church festivals, dinners and funerals--and in the homes of women who attend those churches.

This book is as Minnesotan as Paul Bunyan and "going up north," and her local points add to the flavor. Pat adds to the mix by putting fun back into dysfunctional.

Some great lines are
-- In describing mismatched lovers: When it comes to love, all cats are grey in the dark
-- In describing a man who had reached 30 without being married, or much of anything: He had little to give, so he had almost nothing to lose
-- In talking about neighbors at the lake: As only long-time lake neighbors get to do, Jeff loved and hated every one of them
-- In describing a woman on mood-altering drugs: Without her medicine, she got so much more done.

Armchair Interviews says: Pat Dennis is a hoot. Her quirky characters and twists of plot are very funny, the kind of story you tell people and they say, "Sounds like Aunt Mary."

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