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(Americana / humor – 43k words) Volume 1 contains the first three, complete stories from “The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt,” a collection of stories all set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands. Featuring a rotating cast of characters including Oliver, Gretchen, and Father Nick from The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt’s Wood. Other characters include the devastatingly handsome Chief of Police, Henry Werner; Lola Eckert, a beautiful but bashful strudel artist; Peeper Baumgratz, who is ready for the Apocalypse; Sister Ursula, the nun who runs a snowplow; Mulligan Wolfe, the pig farmer who can dance, and many more.
Story 1 – Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister’s Snowplow
When Peeper Baumgratz wrecks his truck into the side of the Bucktail Tavern and then goes on the lam, Chief of Police Henry Werner recruits woodsman Oliver Eberstark to hunt him down. Because Henry does not want to see Peeper go to prison he concocts a scheme for him to do community service by working for the nuns at the local convent who are trying to start a snowplowing business.
Story 2 – The Whiskey Bottle in the WallTitus Winter is the great-grandson of Jubal Winter, the giant logger and fisherman who came out of the north woods and helped found Marienstadt but, while doing research on his ancestry, Titus made a discovery that has left him ashamed of his illustrious ancestor. During renovations on Town Hall an old whiskey bottle is found between the walls with a manuscript in it that tells a very different story.
Story 3 – The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition
In an effort to promote Marienstadt’s history of traditional cuisine, Father Nick Bauer wants to compile a cookbook but runs into trouble when some of the local ladies don’t want to share recipes. He calls on Mulligan Wolfe, a pig farmer and former dance champion, for help. With Lola Eckert’s assistance a recipe contest begins. Meanwhile Gretchen Fritz gets hoodwinked into entering Mulligan’s dance competition with Patrolman Dean Ginther.