Book Notes Review “Murder of an Amish Bridegroom” by Patricia Johns

Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a free e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Murder of an Amish Bridegroom

An Amish Seamstress Mystery
by Patricia Johns

Publisher’s Summary

The quiet Amish lifestyle isn’t all that it seems in this debut cozy mystery series, for fans of Amanda Flower and Wanda E. Brunstetter.
Petunia Yoder is Blueberry, Pennsylvania’s youngest old maid, at twenty-two years of age, and completely unmarriageable. But she’s determined to celebrate her friends’ weddings with joy and a full heart. Unfortunately, Petunia’s best friend, Eden Beiler, is playing a dangerous game with a man who is ruining her reputation.
Ike Smoker is the community’s iceman—the one who cuts, stores, and sells the ice—and when Petunia discovers him dead with an ice pick in his chest, Eden is found on the scene with blood on her hands. Homicide detective Asher Nate is new to the area, and he has a challenge on his hands. The Amish community sticks close together, and he doesn’t understand the subtleties and nuances of the clues he uncovers. He needs an Amish interpreter, and he asks Petunia if she’ll help. In a bid to keep her best friend out of prison, she agrees.
The community is filled with people who had good reason to hate Ike Smoker, especially as Petunia and Asher begin to uncover his secrets. Was someone trying to protect their family’s reputation? Or to exact revenge for a sin buried deep in the past?

My Thoughts

Patricia Yoder is the antithesis of the ideal Amish woman. She can’t cook, speaks her mind, and asks a lot of questions. She’s dubbed the youngest old maid in her Amish community, and no Amish man in his right mind would consider her for his wife. Patricia seems to have accepted this with a sense of humor. But the characteristics that alienate her in the Amish community are ideal as a detective investigating a murder. She teams up with Detective Asher Nate as a liaison between the detective and her Amish community. But her best friend, Eden Beiler, is accused of killing Ike Smoker, and her liaison role becomes secondary to her goal of clearing Eden’s name.
The mystery has several solid suspects. I had a suspicion of the murderer’s identity, but the misdirections kept me guessing.
Overall, this is a quick, entertaining read. 3.5/5

Patricia Johns’ website

 

Publisher’s Info

Hardcover: $29.99
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781639105328

Book Notes Review of Dating Can Be Deadly

 

Book cover for Dating Can Be Deadly two goats pulling at a quilt with a skull on it.

Dating Can Be Deadly

An Amish Matchmaker Mystery #5
by Amanda Flower

In Dating Can Be Deadly, childhood friends Milly Fisher and Lois Henry are pulled into another murder mystery when a quilting contest turns deadly.

Dating Can Be Deadly Summary

Readers are back in Harvest, Ohio, this time for the county fair. Millie Fisher is, for the first time, entering a quilt into the quilting contest. Lois Henry, Millie’s lifelong best friend, is there to meet a man (potentially husband #5) she connected with on a dating app. But when the head judge for the competition is murdered, Millie and Lois make finding the murderer their top priority.

Thoughts on Dating Can Be Deadly

I love the pairing of Millie Fisher, a widowed Old Order Amish woman and Amish matchmaker, and Lois Henry, an over-the-top Englisher. The contrast between Millie, with her quiet demeanor, demure prayer cap, Amish dresses in dark colors, and Lois, with her spikey purple-red hair, bright colored patterned clothing, chunky costume jewelry, heavy use of eye shadow, and a bag Mary Poppins would envy for the amount of items it contains is one of the best things about the novel. Even though they are as different as night and day, their lifelong friendship is strong. They model what true friendship looks like-accepting of each other, even though they may not understand each other (esp. Millie when it comes to Lois’ English ways) or agree 100% of the time.
The small village atmosphere encompasses both English and Amish communities, and the friction as well as the friendships are well-written into the novel. While the Amish way of life is a strong part of the series, it isn’t a whitewashed way of life. Flower’s characters reflect both the good and bad of members in both cultures.
Characters from Flower’s Amish Candy Shop Mystery series also make appearances. It’s fun to see which ones make cameo appearances.

The plot is also strong. Flower excels at planting red herrings and plot twists, and I found myself going back and forth between several viable suspects. This one kept me guessing until the final reveal.

There are four other books in this series, and while you can read this as a standalone, I would recommend reading the other books in the series first. You can read a sample from Dating Can Be Deadly here. If buying the book is too much of a commitment, then check out a copy from your local library. However you obtain your books, get a copy and read Dating Can Be Deadly.

Publishing Information

Published by: Kensington
Imprint: Kensington Cozies
336 Pages, 4.11 x 6.79 x 0.86 in
ISBN: 9781496737489
ON SALE: 10/24/2023
FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / AMATEUR SLEUTH

Thanks to #NetGalley and #KensingtonCozies for providing an electronic copy for review. Thanks to the author for providing
a hard copy for review. All opinions are my own.

Book Notes-Blueberry Blunder

 

Book cover for Blueberry Blunder-spotted pic wearing a yellow hard hat, blueberries in crates and boxes, framed out warehouse in backgroundBlueberry Blunder
Amish Candy Shop Mystery #8

By Amanda Flower

About Blueberry Blunder

Amanda Flower’s USA Today bestselling Amish Candy Shop Mysteries combines a fascinating look at Amish life with the sugar rush of candy making, a quirky whodunit, and a hint of romance between chocolatier Bailey King and her law enforcer boyfriend. This eighth installment raises the charm even more, as filming begins for Bailey’s new reality TV show just in time for a big blueberry festival to jam up the small town of Harvest, Ohio.

Bailey King, star of TV’s Bailey’s Amish Sweets, is building her dream candy factory in Harvest, Ohio. But no sooner is the frame of the new building up than she finds the dead body of a surly contractor who has a long list of enemies—including people in the Amish community. To add to the drama, Bailey is being filmed by a crew for her upcoming show. . .

When Bailey’s TV producer pitched a reality show about building the factory, Bailey was shocked that the network picked it up. She’s not shocked that many of the Amish working on the jobsite refuse to be on camera. However, local community organizer Margot Rawlings is ecstatic—because the filming coincides with Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash. Margot believes the media attention will make Harvest the most popular destination in Holmes County. But now, the county may become known for all the wrong reasons . . .

Bailey will have to sift through a crowd of angry villagers and thousands of blueberries to solve the murder, save her new venture, and protect her Amish friends. At the same time, she and her longtime boyfriend, Aiden Brody, are making big decisions about their future together—a future that may be in jeopardy if Bailey is the next pick on a killer’s list . . .

Thoughts

Aiden has returned to Harvest to hang out his shingle as a private investigator. This time Bailey and Aiden work together to solve the murder of local contractor Wade Farmer. Sheriff Jackson Marshall, whose nasty personality has been hinted at throughout the series, makes his appearance in Blueberry Blunder and his reputation is well-earned. There are multiple suspects with plenty to gain with Farmer’s death. Numerous twists and turns send a reader down multiple paths while trying to solve the case. The murder isn’t the only issue raised in the book.

Bailey’s cousin, Charlotte King, is engaged to be married to Deputy Luke Little. Charlotte was shunned by her family after she left the Amish. Now that her marriage is close, Charlotte wants her family at her wedding, but her father is unmovable. When Charlotte left her ultra-strict order, she also ceased to be a member of the family. Charlotte is still grieving that loss, and the reader begins to understand the cost Charlotte has paid to pursue living life on her terms. We also meet Luke’s parents, and they are a trial unto themselves. From DC, neither understands the choices their son has made-in where he lives, in what he does, or the fact his fiancée is former Amish. In other words, both are marrying outside of their expected social circle and neither set of parents is happy about it.
I enjoyed reading all the books in this series, and Blueberry Blunder was no exception. If you like murder mysteries with humor, well-developed characters in a simple, yet complex setting, and a puzzling mystery, then give this series a try.

Other Books in the Series

Peanut Butter Panic

Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flower

Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower

Candy Cane Crime by Amanda Flower

Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower

Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower

Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower

Publishing Information

Kensington Books-Blueberry Blunder

336 Pages, 4.12 x 6.75 in

  • ISBN: 9781496734631
  • ON SALE: 05/23/2023
  • FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / AMATEUR SLEUTH

Copy provided by the author.