Amber Wright, manager of the Amish artisan shops in Middlebury, Indiana, loves her job and her quiet, peaceful town. When the owner of the local coffee place, Ethan Gray, is discovered dead in his shop, the peacefulness of this small community – where Amish and English work together – is shattered.
When Amber assigns a young Amish girl, Hannah, to take over the coffee shop, the two soon come to believe that Ethan’s death may not have been accidental. Ethan was not a well-liked person in the
Village, and a series of vandalisms begin pointing to something more sinister lurking about.
Messages taken from the Old Testament, secret letters, and suspects with many things to hide lead the two women on a search to solve the mystery that has rocked their little community. Will they be able to restore some type of order to this peaceful place, or will their searching lead to a dangerous end?
I read all three of the previous novels in the Shipshewana mystery series by this author, and I enjoyed the feel of a Murder She Wrote-type mystery along with the unique setting. Both of those elements are present in this new mystery novel as well.
The setting of a small community where Amish and English work side-by-side was once again unique, and it set up the mystery part of the novel very well. It was neat to read about the descriptions of life in this small community and how this death touched so many people. The mystery was also good. There were enough twists and turns to keep the mystery interesting without it becoming ridiculously complicated. It’s a true whodunit, which is my favorite type of mystery.
Even though the setting was interesting and the mystery was compelling, the rest of the novel didn’t keep my interest. It was nice to see the relationship develop between Amber and her neighbor, Tate, but I wasn’t very invested in their romance. The same was true for the interest that Hannah had in Jesse. It was nice, but that was it. The romances helped to fill out the novel some but not quite enough.
I also thought that there was a lot of filler in this novel that just didn’t make any difference in the outcome of the mystery or in the characters’ lives. There was a lot of repetitive dialogue and descriptions, and I found my mind wandering at times. Maybe these sections were supposed to try to throw me off of the mystery or to give the novel a more realistic feel. All it did was cause me to be somewhat bored until the next mystery element took place.
This was a nice mystery novel, and I would be interested to see what might happen in subsequent novels in this series, but it didn’t enjoy it as much as the Shipshewana series. The setting of the novel and the small town mystery are both really good. Unfortunately, there was not enough in between the mystery elements to flesh out an entire novel and keep it interesting throughout.
I will give Murder Simply Brewed … 3 BookWorms.
Murder Simply Brewed
by Vannetta Chapman
Publication date: March 25, 2014
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."