Cover Image: Scandal at the Salty Dog: An M/M Cozy Mystery

Scandal at the Salty Dog: An M/M Cozy Mystery

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Member Reviews

Another great mystery and Ellery and Jack are moving forward but throwing the doctor in the mix really infuriated me. 
The cast of quirky characters in this series is a boon. But I'm learning not to get too attached, you never know who could be the next murderer. Or their victim.
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"Amateur sleuthing turned out to be a hazardous hobby."

Once more, professional trouble magnet Ellery finds himself dragged into another mystery on the chaotic Pirate's Cove. And this time, he didn't go seeking trouble. Honest. His business neighbour, Libby, comes to him 100% certain that someone is sneaking into the Salty Dog (the titular bed and breakfast). It's tourist season in Pirate's Cove, so it could be anyone. But if it's a stranger wandering and pilfering through the kitchens of the Salty Dog, how are they evading the security cameras?

Further down the road, at the Blackwell Estate, the eccentric old lady Ms Juliet Blackwell suffers an injury, having fallen from her bed in a fright. Ellery, who had gone to deliver her order of books, finds her in a state of shock. Dazed and confused and insisting she'd seen the ghost of Rufus Blackwell.

Naturally, this makes Ellery, er... curious. He asks resident busybody and all-around encyclopedia, Nora,
"What do you know about the ghost of Rufus Blackwell?" Ellery asked Nora over coffee that morning.
Nora's face lit up with enthusiasm, "It's one of our best ghost stories!"
Well, if it's one of your best...

However, there is a mystery afoot. An old lady falls mysteriously in her home and is claimed to be attacked for the ghost of her ancestor. A young lady insists that someone is stealing from their kitchens. Is the ghost of seafarer Rufus Blackwell back for revenge and feeling peckish as he seeks to wreak havoc in Pirate's Cove? No, it's not a ghost because this isn't a ghost story.

But as ever, the best thing about these stories isn't just the beguiling Ellery, his soft romance with police chief Jack... it's the colourful cast of characters in Ellery's periphery. His main shop assistant, Felix (Libby's on-again-off-again boyfriend) is leaving for college and Ellery needs to replace him. All kinds of interesting people show up to get interviewed, including an unfortunately named man Dick Dix.

Watson is adorable. Ellery is amazing. The mystery is dual, cozy and fun. I can't wait to devour the rest of the series.

Thanks to Negalley for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A great addition to the series. As always Lanyon balances a good mystery with just enough romance and comedy to take the edge off.
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A bookstore owner helps to solve crimes and discovers old and Long hidden secrets. Fun and easy to read.
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A windswept mystery with history, intrigue, romance that surprises you in the end. The characters have depth and draw you into wanting to know what happens to them.
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Five Stars
Book 4 of the cozy mystery series Secrets and Scrabble was as delightful, and fresh as the others were. Ellery just has a knack with finding crime, and a fair amount of corpses. He is a rather reluctant detective but when pushed he won't back down, in solving a mystery, even when the stakes are high and dangerous. On the romance department, things have finally progressed between Ellery and Police Chief Jack Carson. They are a new couple and are carefully navigating the waters on their relationship. I have grown quite fond of Jack, and the reader will understand from the previous books why initially Jack was so reluctant to start a romance with Ellery.
 Doing a good deed can get you punished. Just ask Ellery. Going to an elderly customers home to retrieve some books for her to enjoy, while she is hospitalized, gets poor Ellery assaulted by a stranger that was there apparently stealing food.
Ellery gets some new bumps but survives the unpleasant encounter. The odd man at Mrs. Blackwell's home might be connected to more food thefts happening at the local bar. Jack actually teams with Ellery to see if they can connect what is going on. Is there really a food thief or ghosts as Mrs Blackwell insists? All in all this is a delightful and at times hysterical  romp of catch the ghost. The zany townspeople get involved, which will make everything even more confusing for Ellery.
 I highly recommend this cozy of eccentric sleuths, and thieving spirits. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!
Special thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book for my reading pleasure.
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I’m thoroughly enjoying this series. It’s light and fun with just enough tension thrown in. Of course, it does have everything a cozy should have – an amateur detective, a bookstore, a dog, a quaint town, quirky secondary characters, and a sexy love interest. And of course, Ellery finds himself in danger on a semi-regular basis. This is a series best read in order. While the mystery is confined to this book, you’ll understand the characters’ backgrounds and relationships better if you start from the beginning.

This time around Ellery finds himself in the middle of two mysteries. First, someone’s breaking into the Salty Dog pub and stealing food. Second, Mrs. Blackwell is being haunted, well, maybe not haunted – Ellery doesn’t believe in ghosts, but someone uninvited has definitely been in her house. Of course, the two are connected, but it takes a bit to figure out how.

Ellery and Jack are finally kinda dating in this one, which is nice. I do wish it wasn’t another cozy sleuth dating another cop, but as a couple they work well together and I like that the relationship is finally moving in the right direction.

As far as the main mystery goes, the solution seems a little farfetched to me, but I loved the solution to a secondary mystery. And as always, the town characters, including Nora and the Silver Sleuths, are a hoot. The next one comes out in August.
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This fourth instalment of Josh Lanyon’s cozy mystery series ‘Secrets and Scrabble’ takes me back to Pirate’s Cove, the small town on Bluff Island. After having been roughed up at the end of his last adventure, Ellery Page, former New York-based actor, has returned to his little house and his job as the owner of the local mystery bookshop. But new enigmas seem to just have been waiting for him to recover. First, there are strange things going on at the “Salty Dog”, the town’s pub cum restaurant, and the owner’s daughter, who runs the place in her dad’s absence for health reasons, asks Ellery to help her find out what exactly. In fact, food, booze, and money has been disappearing overnight, and no trace of an intruder can be detected on the security camera footage.
Then old Mrs. Blackwell, one of Ellery’s more eccentric customers, is attacked in her ancient, run-down mansion, and of course, Pirate’s Cove being Pirate’s Cove, she is not only very evasive when Ellery finds her unconscious in her bedroom, but she also claims to have seen the ghost of a long-dead ancestor, infamous pirate Rufus Blackwell. Of course, Ellery has learned his lesson, so he decides he won’t go off on another harebrained solitary amateur sleuth investigation. No, he discusses the matter with his boyfriend (although, is he?), the ruggedly handsome and sizzling hot police chief Jack Carson, who remains cautious as to whether Mrs. Blackwell is really as much in danger as Ellery insists she is. And then, the old lady leaves the local hospital… and promptly tumbles down her staircase and is very dead. What more does Ellery need to poke his nose into business he had better stayed away from?
I really love the quirky little-town world Josh Lanyon has created in this series, and from book to book I grow fonder and fonder of it. Every single character is a bit loony, gossip and speculations are rife more often than not, and the townies as well as any newcomers always turn out to be a bit more than one would think at a glance. I’m not sure this installment is my favorite, though, as for large parts I rather missed Josh’s usual astute dialogs filled with wry humor and witty repartees. There was also no real question of “whodunnit” as I guessed (along with other readers, I’m sure) almost immediately the culprit’s name. As to whether Mrs. Blackwell was murdered or not… don’t count on me to tell you. Anyway, this book felt almost subdued, maybe not rushed as such, but not as finely chiselled and polished as the three previous ones. But still, it made for an amusing and highly entertaining read—one I finished in two evenings, as always, because even though it’s a cozy mystery novel, Josh Lanyon wouldn’t be Josh Lanyon if she didn’t introduce a certain dose of suspense and the odd twists and turns that keep you wildly guessing at whys and hows.
Josh wouldn’t be Josh, either, if she didn’t make the romantic sideplot evolve as well. In this series, it’s the relationship between Ellery and Jack, of course, that interests us readers. If we’ve been kept waiting way into the third book to see a promising outcome (promising, but not necessarily a surefire “Happily Ever After”, mind you), things seem to proceed at a steady if slow pace in this book. Ellery has learned to trust his police lover-and-mayhaps-boyfriend and now discusses his thoughts and findings with him, which comes as a relief. Jack in turn has finally opened up to the (eventual) possibility of commitment and shares his genuine deep feelings for Ellery with him (and us readers). Of course, a slight distraction is introduced to throw us off track, but I for one wasn’t fooled—no way, Mrs. Lanyon! No local doctor, be he hotter than Tabasco sauce and cuter than Matt Bomer, can snap Ellery away from Jack, you hear me? Don’t even think of it!
All in all, even though I feel a teensy bit less enthusiastic about this installment than I did about book number three, I was drawn into the story after only a few words and enjoyed the read very much. I’m impatiently waiting for number five to be written and released as we speak.
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Quick read involving mystery and romance?! Sign me up!

I'm the kind of person that HAS to read the series in the proper order. With this series, you don't, but I did. I'm so glad I did! Scandal at the Salty Dog is the 4th book in the Secrets and Scrabble series. The series focuses on Ellery, a New Yorker, that just moved to Pirate's Cove, on a small island near Rhode Island. Ellery runs into murder and mystery (as well as some love) everywhere he goes. In Scandal at the Salty Dog, Ellery is once again caught in a mystery - technically two. The daughter of the local pub wants to hire Ellery as a detective. Ellery isn't a detective, he's a book store owner and is not an amateur sleuth (so he claims). She wants to hire him as someone is sneaking into the pub and stealing money and food. Ellery then falls into another mystery. A lonely spinster, a customer of Ellery's, keeps seeing the ghost of her dead relative. If you see him 3 times, you will die or so the curse says. Ellery gets involved as he's worried as well as curious as to what is happening to this lonely old woman. Meanwhile, Ellery's struggling with his personal relationship with the police chief Jack. Jack and Ellery are interested in each other and are casually dating, but Jack is giving off some strange vibes. What happens to their relationship? Will they make it?

I absolutely love romance and I especially love it when murder and mystery are involved. 3 of my favorite things! From the beginning of the series, you're routing for Ellery, especially when he meets Jack. In this story, I was routing for the two of them, but also felt for Jack. Ellery was getting involved in so much mayhem which results in Ellery getting injured. Jack was worried and was usually the one rescuing Ellery. I can't wait for the next book in the series (August 2021!-so soon!). I will definitely be reading more of Josh Lanyon's books!

ARC provided by Netgalley for honest reviews.
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Screenwriter and former actor Ellery Page is finally settling into quaint but active Pirate's Cove. He's got himself a steady beau in Police Chief Jack Carson, even though Jack is continually challenged by Ellery's penchant for getting caught up in murder plots in real life. They seem to have a truce on Ellery making unauthorized investigations--especially since the last time netted the criminal plus a cracked skull. Ellery's just getting over his concussion when another mystery seems to be knocking on his door.

Miss Juliet Blackwell is an elderly woman and life-long resident of Pirate's Cove. She is a spinster and peculiar, never letting people into her spacious, though now-crumbling, mansion. Ellery was asked to deliver some of her new book purchases, and while there he hears Miss Blackwell screaming in terror. He's not terribly well, but he is able to climb through an open window and rescue Juliet who had a nasty fall and is terrified the ghost of her pirate ancestor has finally come a-calling to take her home to rest. Thing is, Ellery was sure another person was in Juliet's home at the time of her "attack" though she later denies seeing anyone. 

On a side note, a fellow Scrabbler, Libby, is filling in for her injured father, Tom, running their family tavern and boarding house, the Salty Dog Inn. Libby is a just 18, and she's had some upsets with her dad taking sick and her last boyfriend getting into big legal trouble, so Ellery is pretty sure Libby's reports of theft from her bar and kitchen are just borne out of pressure and exhaustion. However, his promise to quietly investigate lead to further mayhem. And, Jack is feeling decidedly salty about Ellery doing anything remotely dangerous, or sleuth-y, since the debacle at the Bloodworth crypt a few weeks back. 

This is a fast-paced mystery that really digs deeper into to history of Pirate's Cove, as well as that of its enigmatic citizens. I loved the scandal, as well as the cave explorations--a tunnel system that dates back to the pirate age and has been in continuous use for sometimes-nefarious dealings. Jack is stellar as a foil to Ellery, who really IS trying to not get murdered, or injured, this book. They made a sweet couple in investigation as well as back home. It was awesome to see a peek behind Jack's tough exterior, and I'm very much looking forward to watching him and Ellery fall deep into love in future stories.  

It's a little less dramatic than the previous books, in that the death doesn't come at the beginning of the story. Ellery's a champ throughout, and his compassion--even for his biggest enemies--is really astounding. I flew through this story, much like the previous books in this series, and I recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries, especially those starring LGBTQ characters.
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I’ve adored Ellery since the very first book in Secrets & Scrabble (Murder at Pirate’s Cove). He’s one of those sweet quirky characters that I love to find in cozy mysteries. Jack’s taken some getting used to, but that’s mainly because of the stand offish way he’s treated Ellery since that very first book. (I’m nothing if not loyal to my favorite characters. 😉 ) I have to admit that Jack’s growing on me though and seems to have come around. To be fair, he had his reasons, so he can now consider himself almost forgiven.

Scandal at the Salty Dog had a lot going on which in the beginning seemed totally unrelated. Much to Jack’s lament, Ellery has gained a reputation of being an amateur sleuth. To be honest, Ellery isn’t much happier about the title, but it’s hard to argue with a town full of eccentric characters like those who reside in Pirate’s Cove. Once again, Ellery finds himself in more than one dangerous situation and an exasperated Jack has to come to his rescue.

Secrets & Scrabble is full of humor, a touch (and sometimes more) of danger, off the page romance between two unlikely characters, suspense and good mysteries. All the perfect ingredients in a fun cozy mystery. I always look forward to the next installment. Speaking of which, Body at Buccaneer’s Bay is coming soon. 😉
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Lanyon's Secrets and Scrabble series continues to be utterly charming, fortified with murder, mystery .... and pirates.  It's pretty much the ideal trifecta, in my opinion.  

This book gives us a little bit of this, a dab of that, and it feels like catching up on old friends. There's the very attractive Dr. Mane at the Med Center, Nora and the Silver Sleuths are afoot, Ellery is reluctantly looking for a new employee at the Crow's Nest and then there's Jack ...

"The thought of Jack made Ellery smile, but the thing between them still felt so new, so fragile, he didn't want to ... handle it too much. Didn't want to overthink it. but so far so good. In fact, so much better than he had even hoped."

And it turns out Buck Island has another secret - pirate tunnels! - and these tunnels, a holdover from pirate days and a handy place for stowing illegal loot, play a part in the mystery of how food is disappearing from the Salty Dog kitchen. In addition, elderly recluse Juliet Blackwell claims to see the ghost of legendary pirate Rufus Blackwell, and Ellery wonders if the "ghost" is using the pirate tunnels.  

Yes, Ellery is once again reluctantly involved in solving mysteries, and while I didn't personally find this murder mystery gripping, I'm looking forward to getting to know Ellery's new employee, wonder what Nora will next find to investigate, hope Dr. Mane doesn't get in the way of Jack and Ellery's budding relationship, and can't wait for their next adventure.  4 stars.
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Ellery , Jack , Watson , Nora and all the colorful -at times murderous-  yet, always entertaining residents of Pirate Cove are back in all their cosy mystery, shenanigans glory ; and I couldn't be more happy.

Scandal at the Salty Dog is book four in the über fun and enjoyable Secret and Scrabble series and thus far one of my favorite..... Well, all are my favorites as these all are very well written , plotted and paced books.

When I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Scandal at the Salty Dog  through NetGalley and began reading it , I soon realized I couldn't continue until I read the other three previous books. I was so charmed within the first two chapters ; I wanted to know everything that came before. 

Therefore, I promptly rushed to Audible and bough/listened/reviewed/loved them all. Talk about addiction. Looking forward listening SATSD in audiobook too.  I highly recommend this and all other books in the series. 

I just reviewed Scandal at the Salty Dog: An M/M Cozy Mystery by Josh Lanyon. #ScandalattheSaltyDogAnMMCozyMystery #NetGalley
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A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

I just love this series!  At the same time it's light and sweet, and nail bitingly anxious.  So many times I worry for Ellery.  How many times can he get knocked out, thrown across rooms, down stairs, and find himself in the same room as a killer?! :D

Once again I was mystified as to what was going on.  There were so many random things that didn't seem to connect, and then they did.  Well done JL!

This is not a standalone, and must be read in order.  While the mystery is confined to this book, the character background and relationships start (of course, lol) with book 1.

I don't even know what to say because I'll give things away! Drat drat drat!  I can say Ellery and Jack's relationship is doing very well, and I am squealingly happy about it.  Ellery, Jack, and Watson, a cute family whom I just adore. Book puppies are the best, let me tell you.

So, somehow, once again, Ellery finds himself in the middle of a mystery, actually two mysteries.  And Ellery being Ellery he can't say no to helping people, which has gotten him on the outs with Jack before, but in this book they're working on that.  No matter how often Ellery says he isn't a detective, people push him to it anyway, despite the fact he ended up in the hospital last time!  This is just the type of story Scandal at the Salty Dog is - a normal guy who wants to live his life but because of busybody friends, he can't. At least he found love along the way.

The mysteries were well done and I am so totally down for exploring those caves. Where do I sign up? I can't say much (again) about what happens because that will ruin things, but I can say <spoiler>that Ellery discovers the tunnel access to the Salty Dog wasn't covered up like everyone said.  A wall was covered to make it <i>appear</i> like the tunnel was blocked, because the owner didn't want people/kids to go exploring and get hurt. Smart plan, actually, but it did allow someone to sneak in at night and raid the fridge. Not kidding, they were hungry and thirsty.  I didn't see how these events were related to the other mystery with Juliet Blackwell.  It's not impossible there are two separate crimes happening on the island. I mean, they have more than their share of murderers, so... Anyway, I debated if they would be related and in the end, they were.  Pretty interestingly I might add. 
 And OMG, that one scene towards the end, wow.  I laughed so much.  How Ellery's face must have looked - priceless!</spoiler> Not all is as it seems.  Poor Ellery, he needs to learn to be more skeptical of people.

JL is an amazing writer, and has once again crafted a great story. This isn't nearly as dark and dangerous as some of her other books, but by no means less is any way. If JL writes it, I will read it, plain and simple, no if ands or buts.  I may not always like her work, but I don't care.  She is the top of the top in writers and can do no wrong (even when I don't like the story).  You write what comes to you and I can't fault that.

I highly recommend this and especially for those who don't like sex on page.  I've gotten over that years ago and am now focused on the story and the relationships, not the sex.  Not that I don't appreciate a little on page once in a while, but it's nice when it's not the plot, you know?

I give this 4.25 stars and am jumping at the bit for the next book.  More please!
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I've loved Josh Lanyon's work for years, and this series is definitely my favorite! I loved Scandal at the Salty Dog, it's a wonderful addition to the series!
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3.5 stars rounded up

I really love this series of cozy mysteries- they're perfect for some comfy reading time! They're fun, short, and Lanyon always delivers.

This one had a new crazy islander (which is saying a lot, given the competition) who swears up and down she's seen her pirate-ancestor's ghost. A sign which, legend has it, means she will be the next to die.

At the same time our amateur sleuth is asked to investigate the case of the mysterious disappearance of food from the Salty Dog's (the local pub) kitchen, which leads Ellery to discover some more of the island's secret tunnel system (a leftover from the pirate days).

The solution of the main mystery, as in the book before, came a bit too out of the blue for me (Ellery has another of his epiphanies and just announces the solution again), and I would like him to do a bit more actual sleuthing, clues that you as the reader can try and piece together yourself right along him, but oh well.

I also loved seeing Ellery and Jack together now that they have finally decided what they want from each other. They still have a long way to go, but their blossoming relationship is one of my favorite things about these books, and I can't wait to see where they go from here!

All in all, another stellar addition to a fun series I hope will continue for a good long time!
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Scandal at the Salty Dog is a welcome return to Buck Island and the lives of Ellery, Jack, Nora, and the other delightful island residents. In this newest installment of the Secrets and Scrabble series, Ellery has to contend with returning to work, interviewing potential employees for his bookshop, handling a reclusive book buyer, and navigating the waters of his new relationship with Police Chief Jack Carson. I loved every minute! This cozy mystery has a perfect balance of humor, intrigue, gossip, shenanigans, and a gently paced romance. The mystery plot kept me guessing and I never could have predicted the various twists and turns. I'm looking forward to Ellery's future adventures in amateur sleuthing!
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We’re joining Ellery, Watson, and police chief Jack Carson in the fourth installment to Lanyon’s “Secrets and Scrabble” series at Pirate’s Cove where summer was the busiest season for the island; with mysteries and shenanigans couldn’t seem to stay away from reluctant amateur- sleuth Ellery Page. With Ellery settling in as one of PC’s respected denizen along with his relationship with Chief Carson, life should be cracking good for him and Watson. Alas, when people started to look at him to solve peculiar happenings, peace went out the window. It didn’t help that Ellery’s friends excitedly wanted to get involved. 

SCANDAL AT THE SALTY DOG was such a hoot of an adventure. The interactions between Ellery and Watson the pup were often the source of cackle (for me throughout reading) while his developing romance with Jack for once showing promise for the future. Jack seemed to relax in coping with Ellery’s penchant to trouble, even helping somewhat. It’s heartwarming if a tad bittersweet how the pair starting to really open up to each other. 

Puzzle and the subsequent death on this book might not be as numerous as the previous (cases) in the series. But I’m really warming to the Pirate’s Cove crew and they fast becoming my favorite gang to follow, especially Watson and his hooman. I can’t wait for the next titles to be released and found what more mischief await Ellery. 

Copy of this book is kindly given by the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Josh remains one of my favorite mystery authors!
Again we meet Ellery who has gained the fame of being an amateur sleuth in the picturesque town of Pirate's Cove.
He will now face, inadvertently, a stranger who is scaring Juliet Blackwell, who in past books we met as an eccentric old woman, he will also investigate the strange thefts that occur in the Salty Dog Pub, with the help of Jack, the adorable watson and the Silver Sleuths
We also see Jack and how the relationship between him and Ellery progresses but at a snail's pace, these books do not focus so much on romance, what catches you is the mystery that is revealed on each page.
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Another enjoyable episode in the Pirate’s Cove cosy mystery series and probably my favourite so far. It was great to see Ellery and Jack as a newly established couple finding their way and starting to work out their relationship. 

Ellery can’t seem to avoid trouble while acting as a somewhat reluctant sleuth, but Jack is always there for when he gets himself into sticky situations. 

There's lots going on in this story, with two mysteries that apparently need solving this time around, plus there’s another contender for Ellery’s attention. 

There are also some very entertaining and amusing scenes where Ellery interviews prospective employees at his bookshop. I couldn’t help thinking that if he wasn’t running around solving mysteries he probably wouldn’t need another employee, but where’s the fun in that? 

A delightful mix of characters (good and bad) and a quaint seaside setting made all the more enjoyable by the marvellous writing. Recommended.
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