Book Review: A Plain Death

3 Jul

676970_w185Welcome to Appleseed Creek, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, where life is not as serene as it seems.

While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home.

While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line.

Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.

34897648_xc41Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.

Author Interview

My Impressions:

A Plain Death was on the shortlist of books nominated for the mystery/thriller category of the Inspy Awards. It was my very great honor and pleasure to serve as a judge in this category. The decision was hard — all the books nominated were excellent! Here are some of my thoughts on this novel.

Chloe is off to her first real job as the tech director of a small college in the heart of Ohio Amish country. Before she even reaches the rural community of Appleseed Creek she rescues young Amish woman, Becky Troyer, from two local thugs. Her determination to enter the Amish community is met with a mixture of welcome and hostility. Undaunted, Chloe sets to solve the mystery surrounding damage to Amish property and the death of a beloved Bishop, while becoming more and more involved with Timothy, Becky’s brother.

A Plain Death combines several genres — Amish, cozy mystery, and Christian fiction — to create a very satisfying read. Great characters, picture perfect setting, and a mystery that keeps you interested, this novel has it all. A quick read, A Plain Death is a welcome addition to your vacation reading. I liked that the author distinguishes between the various Amish sects. There really is no stereotypical Amish community. They all have their differences in spiritual and cultural rules and restrictions. The characters are seeking to know God in the light of and despite their past experiences and upbringing.  God’s grace is a strong theme in Flower’s novel.

If you like a small town setting, an interesting mystery and some fun, quirky and endearing characters, then pick up A Plain Death. This novel is book 1 in An Appleseed Creek Mystery series. Book 2, A Plain Scandal is also available. Book 3, A Plain Disappearance is due out in September 2013.

Recommended. 

(I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for the judging process. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of A Plain Death, click on the image below.

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