When I received a pitch for an Amish murder mystery book, I was very intrigued. I knew that there were Amish romance novels out there, but a murder mystery? I love cozy mysteries and decided to read A Plain Scandal: An Appleseed Creek Mystery by Amanda Flower so I could tell you all about it, dear readers. I had no idea what to expect when I began reading.
Let me tell you, dear readers, I practically ignored my husband Saturday night to find out whodunit. Don’t let the Amish setting deter you for this book.
In A Plain Scandal, our sleuth is Chloe Humphrey who is clearly not Amish. She recently moved to Ohio’s Amish country to take an IT job at the local college. How un-Amish is that? Chloe is friends with Timothy and Becky Troyer, siblings who decided to leave their Amish religion after their rumspringa, a time when Amish youth are allowed to experience “English” life. Becky is Chloe’s roommate and also her guide to Amish culture. Chloe also has a massive crush on Becky’s older brother Timothy, but isn’t sure how to approach him because of his Amish background.
In the midst of the small college town life, Chloe and Becky discover that several Amish teenage girls have been assaulted and their hair cut short. Amish girls are not allowed to cut their hair. While Chloe tries to track down the person(s) responsible, she discovers a body (like any cozy sleuth should). Sleuthing is challenging for Chloe, since most Amish will not speak to outsiders.
Usually when I read cozy mysteries, I don’t try to figure out the killer. I’m just there for the ride. I read them for the characters, the relationships between the characters and the setting. Cozies are how I relax. (Cozies are murder mysteries in which the sleuth is usually a woman and there isn’t a lot of blood or gore.)
First of all, A Plain Scandal is very well written. I’ve read plenty of cozies where the premise is so contrived I could not buy into it. Not the case with Amanda Flower’s writing. Chloe was the perfect character for readers who are unfamiliar with Amish culture/religion. Like me. It’s all new to Chloe’s eyes as well, so I learned with her. It was a very natural fit. From an outsider’s point of view, I felt that Flower present Amish culture in a very respectful manner.
My favorite character in the book is Becky. Becky discovered cooking shows during her rumspringa and has embraced them wholeheartedly. She is so excited about cooking new to her foods: manicotti, Mexican, even Paula Deen.
If you like cozy mysteries, I highly recommend A Plain Scandal: An Appleseed Creek Mystery by Amanda Flower. It’s the second book in the series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the first book, A Plain Death.
What did you read this weekend?
I received an ARC of the book in order to review it. All opinions are my own.