Series: Amish Mystery #2
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Berkley on 5 March 2013
The murder of a toy manufacturer unsettles the town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania and gift shop owner, Claire Weatherly, decides to get to the bottom of it. The man was staying at her aunt’s inn after all and threatened Amish livelihoods.
Claire wasn’t much of a cozy detective heroine as she spent much of her time musing on life and acting in a fairly sanctimonious fashion. The moments when she lectured an Amish person on his own religion sealed my dislike for her. The other Heavenly characters gave the book a real Brady Bunch vibe.
I struggled to engage in this one given the romance aspect and the way that Claire ‘investigated’ the crime. I get that a love triangle is a way of raising tension but having one Amish man and one former Amish man interested in her seemed a little much. Bradford does raise some interesting issues though as nearly every Amish character is struggling or has struggled with their faith and has had to choose between love and their religion. FYI love wins every time and this is either a sad indictment for religion or a triumph for passion depending on your personal views.
There isn’t that much in the way of investigation which was a shame. The Amish were essentially good while the English were full of vice unless they lived in Heavenly and had assimilated. These binary oppositions make it fairly difficult to hide a murderer as readers can pretty easily join the dots and exclude half the population. We can’t however identify the actual murderer as there are no clues leading to the individual. Claire has an ‘aha’ moment and voilà the mystery is solved. A few clues along the way would have been helpful. The whole incident is wrapped up quicker than you can eat a pretzels that doesn’t really feature in the novel.
The blurb intrigued me but the execution didn’t live up to what I wanted – rounded characters, realistic setting and an investigation that involved…investigation. It was just an ‘okay’ read for me.