P.L. Gaus originally published the books in his Amish-Country Mystery series with an academic press. Fortunately for readers, they're being republished a decade later by a mainstream publisher. That's fortunate for those of us who enjoy intriguing puzzles such as Broken English.
It didn't take long for Jesse Sands to kill someone and plan a few robberies after he was released from prison in New Jersey. Somehow he found his way to Millersburg, Ohio, where he broke into Janet Hawkins' house. Despite her 9-1-1 call, Sands killed her before the police arrived. Then Sands was caught by a former security guard as he exited the house.
There's trouble, though, when Janet's father, David Hawkins asks to see Sands in jail. He's accompanied by Pastor Caleb Troyer, who witnesses Hawkins' eruption when Sands whispers something to him. David's disappearance only becomes a cause for alarm when a reporter is murdered. Sheriff Bruce Robertson's investigation reveals David Hawkins was former U.S. Army Special Forces. Robertson suspects Hawkins of killing the reporter to conceal his past, with plans to execute Jesse Sands.
That isn't how Robertson's best friends see the scenario. Cal Troyer knows Hawkins has given up a life of violence, and is prepared to become part of the Amish community, a peace-loving society. When he asks Professor Michael Branden to look into the story, he knows he's pitting Robertson against the two of them, his childhood best friends. Now, it's up to them to prove the missing Hawkins isn't a killer, but someone out there knows Jesse Sands' secret.
P.L. Gaus' mysteries are quiet puzzles of human nature, perfect vehicles for stories involving Ohio's Amish. Branden and Troyer are the men who understand the Amish people, accepted by them to help them deal with crimes that affect their communities. Sheriff Robertson represents the English world, the non-Amish, with a different view of the world, and of people. Broken English, like the previous book in the series, Blood of the Prodigal, skillfully brings together Amish life and these three men in a compelling story of mystery and conflict.
P.L. Gaus' website is www.plgaus.com
Broken English by P.L. Gaus. Penguin Group (USA), Pub date, 2010. ISBN 9780452296619 (paperback), 224p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of the book.