Myers, Tamar 1948–
Myers, Tamar 1948–
PERSONAL: Given name is accented on the second syllable; born September 21, 1948, in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire); became U.S. citizen; daughter of Russell F. (a minister and missionary) and Helen (a missionary; maiden name, Yoder) Schnell; married Jeffrey Myers (an engineer), November 28, 1970; children: Sarah, David, Dafna. Ethnicity: "Swiss/Danish/German." Education: American College in Jerusalem, B.A., 1970; Eastern Kentucky University, M.A., 1973. Politics: Independent. Religion: Episcopalian. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, oil painting, teaching piano.
MEMBER: Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., Sisters in Crime, Politeia, Southeastern Palm and Exotic Plant Society, Blue Stockings Literary Club.
Angels, Angels Everywhere (stories), Avon (New York), 1995.
"PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH MYSTERY" SERIES
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1994.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Crime, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.
No Use Dying Over Spilled Milk, Dutton (Bergenfield, NJ), 1996.
Just Plain Pickled to Death, Dutton (New York, NY), 1997.
Between a Wok and a Hard Place, Signet (New York, NY), 1998.
Play It Again, Spam, Signet (New York, NY), 1999.
The Hand that Rocks the Ladle, Signet (New York, NY), 2000.
The Crepes of Wrath, New American Library (New York, NY), 2001.
Eat, Drink, and Be Wary, Thorndike Press (Thorndike, ME), 2001.
Gruel and Unusual Punishment, New American Library (New York, NY), 2002.
Custard's Last Stand, New American Library (New York, NY), 2003.
Thou Shalt Not Grill, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.
Assault and Pepper, New American Library (New York, NY), 2005.
Grape Expectations, New American Library (New York, NY), 2006.
"DEN OF ANTIQUITY" SERIES; MYSTERY NOVELS
Larceny and Old Lace, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.
Gilt by Association, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.
The Ming and I, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
So Faux, So Good, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Baroque and Desperate, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.
Estate of Mind, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.
A Penny Urned, Avon (New York, NY), 2000.
Nightmare in Shining Armor, Avon (New York, NY), 2001.
Splendor in the Glass, Avon (New York, NY), 2002.
Tiles and Tribulations, Avon (New York, NY), 2003.
Statue of Limitations, Avon (New York, NY), 2004.
Monet Talks, Avon (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Tamar Myers is the author of more than twenty-five mystery novels. Her works are divided between two ongoing series featuring amateur sleuths: the "Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery" series, starring irascible Mennonite innkeeper Magdalena Yoder, and the "Den of Antiquity" series, with Abigail Timberlake, a diminutive antiques dealer from Charleston. Both series rely heavily on humor—Magdalena is particularly fond of crisp one-liners; Abigail often finds herself in funny situations with oddball characters; and the books' titles are puns with direct relevance to the stories. In both series, Myers, who comes from a Mennonite background, offers realistic details on Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonite life and the world of antiques collectors. In addition, the Magdalena Yoder books include recipes for several of the dishes highlighted within each individual story.
Sometimes cantankerous, sometimes wryly observant, Magdalena holds her own in such books as Just Plain Picked to Death, in which a dead body turns up in a barrel of sauerkraut given to her as a wedding present, and Gruel and Unusual Punishment, in which Magdalena must work to clear her name after an inmate in a local prison dies from arsenic poisoning in a meal she provided. In Custard's Last Stand she opposes plans by developer Colonel Custard to build a luxury hotel in her hometown of Hernia, Pennsylvania. When the colonel is discovered shot to death in Magdalena's inn, the authorities believe they have their culprit in the man's chauffeur, Ivan. Magdalena, however, thinks the murderer is someone else, and sets out to prove it. "Scrawny, pesky, irresistibly funny Magdalena will have you overlooking plot glitches and reading on for her next amusing one-liner," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor. In Assault and Pepper, Magdalena gears up for her church's annual chili cook-off. When Reverend Schrock keels over and dies after eating some chili, it is found that the reverend had a deadly peanut allergy and someone has spiked his food with peanut butter. As Magdalena investigates, she discovers that the reverend was not as good as everyone thought. In fact, he enjoyed his booze, his gambling, and his regular massage parlor visits. As more harm comes to members of Reverend Schrock's family, Magdalena investigates why a man of the cloth would have so many determined enemies.
Abigail Timberlake struggles to balance her personal and professional lives throughout the "Den of Antiquity" series. In Nightmare in Shining Armor she throws a costume party to celebrate the purchase of her new home. The party starts disastrously, with the appearance of Tweetie, her ex-husband's much-younger wife, and ends worse, with burned drapes and spilled punch, but the worst is yet to come when Abigail discovers Tweetie's body stuffed into a suit of armor and crammed under her bed. Sympathetic to the perils of new homeownership, Abigail helps a friend clean some ghosts out of her newly acquired mansion in Tiles and Tribulations. The psychic hired to do the job, Madam Woo-Woo, concludes that the ghosts appear because there is a body still hidden behind a set of priceless seventeenth-century tiles in the house. When Madam Woo-Woo later dies of an apparent poisoning, Abigail investigates the decidedly non-supernatural elements of the case. "Fans of laugh-out-loud mystery fare are sure to find this an exceptional delight," commented a Publishers Weekly critic.
Tamar Myers once told CA: "I was born and raised in the Belgian Congo, where my parents were Mennonite missionaries to a tribe of headhunters. We lived in a very remote region, hundreds of miles away from the nearest English-language bookstore. We had no radio or television. I wrote my first book-length manuscript at age ten to amuse myself and my three sisters.
"I began writing fiction in earnest in college, but it took twenty-three years to make my first sale. During that time I accumulated a stack of unsold manuscripts. Then, fortunately, I attempted a mystery with a humorous bent, using my background as a Mennonite of Amish descent. The novel sold immediately. In three years I signed contracts for ten humorous mystery novels: six centering on my Amish-Mennonite sleuth, Magdalena Yoder, and four featuring Abigail Timberlake, the owner of an antique shop called "The Den of Antiquity." Because I now write four books a year, writing is a full-time job."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 1997, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Just Plain Pickled to Death, p. 66.
Drood Review of Mystery, July, 2000, review of A Penny Urned,
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2002, review of Custard's Last Stand, p. 1737; December 15, 2004, review of Assault and Pepper, p. 1168.
Library Journal, February 1, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Custard's Last Stand, p. 121; January 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of Assault and Pepper, p. 84.
MBR Bookwatch, February, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Assault and Pepper.
Publishers Weekly, November 11, 1996, review of Gilt by Association, p. 72; November 27, 2000, review of The Crepes of Wrath, p. 57; July 2, 2001, review of Nightmare in Shining Armor, p. 57; January 28, 2002, review of Gruel and Unusual Punishment, p. 274; February 3, 2003, review of Tiles and Tribulations, p. 60.
Best Reviews, http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (December 10, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Custard's Last Stand.
Book Loons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (December 10, 2005), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Gruel and Unusual Punishment.
Books N Bytes, http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (December 10, 2005), Harriet Klausner, reviews of The Crepes of Wrath, Gruel and Unusual Punishment, and Nightmare in Shining Armor.
Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (December 10, 2005), Monica Pope, review of The Hand that Rocks the Ladle.
Tamar Myers Home Page, http://www.tamarmyers.com (December 10, 2005).