Botulism scares me, probably more than any of the other lurking household dangers. (Carbon Monoxide might be a close second. At least they make detectors for Carbon Monoxide.)
When I took a food preservation class about a decade ago, they had us listen to a taped interview with a woman who had survived a series case of botulism that she got from a baked potato at a buffet in Winnemucca. She didn't even eat the whole thing, just poked at it with her fork and took a little bit to determine that it was cold and nasty. Listening to her talk about her experience spooked me like nothing else.
The victim in Heaven Preserve Us isn't that lucky -- he dies shortly after being rushed to the hospital, but not before telling Sophie Mae Reynolds about the threats against him. Unfortunately there were a lot of people who had good reasons to wish the man dead. After the recent preserves exchange at Heaven House, there's no shortage of sources for the deadly canned beets.
Barr Ambrose, Sophie's boyfriend shared the deadly salad. He was lucky and only contracted a mild case of botulism, but he's not able to help Sophie -- or to keep her out of trouble. And Sophie has a stalker, a caller from the Heaven House help line.
Poor Sophie Mae! In the first book, she found her handyman in her workroom, dead after drinking lye. The victims in this series don't die peaceful deaths.
I can't wait to start the next book in the series, partly to see how the author deals with strangulation, and partly because I want to see what develops next in the romance growing between Sophie and Barr.
This post is linked to Whatcha Reading? at Patchwork Times.