Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Clouds without Rain by P.L. Gaus

P.L. Gaus' understanding of the Amish culture brings his mysteries to life. The third novel in his series, Clouds without Rain digs deep into a contemporary problem, the loss of farmland and the displacement of Amish families.

The story opens with Professor Michael Branden working undercover as an Amish man, trying to flush out the teens who were robbing the Amish as they drove their buggies. His unproductive day ends with a radio broadcast from Sheriff Bruce Robertson at the site of a violent accident involving a jackknifed truck, an Amish buggy, a couple cars, including a deputy's, and a fire. In trying to rescue the deputy, Robertson is critically injured by the fire, leaving Branden, newly deputized, to work with the rest of the department in the investigation. It isn't long before Branden learns the dead Amish man was a wheeler-dealer, a man who owned land in three counties, including land he had just taken away from eight Amish families. The land transactions brings Pastor Cal Troyer into the situation, the third man in the friendship with Branden and Robertson. Troyer, one of the few English trusted by the Amish, works closely with a local bishop, Andy Weaver, brother of that Amish land owner.

While the police look one direction in their investigation, Branden searches for answers to the questions about the land deals. And, when a local banker disappears, the professor knows he's on the right track. Is it possible that accident wasn't really an accident?

Gaus' mysteries of the Ohio Amish-Country are always fascinating, with the glimpses of that unusual culture. In this one, he deals with issues of the loss of land, the loss of the Old Order as many Amish turn to modern ways, and the trouble teens get into. Gaus manages to skillfully incorporate all of these elements into a mystery and the investigation by three men linked by their childhood friendship.

Clouds without Rain is another strong entry in this intriguing series. Anyone with an interest in Amish Country can learn a great deal from this author and series.

P.L. Gaus' website is

Clouds without Rain by P.L. Gaus. Penguin Group (USA), ©2011. ISBN 9780452296688 (paperback), 208p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I read "Broken English" recently after reading a good review on your blog and really enjoyed the book. Thanks for the heads-up on the sequel!

Lesa said...

This is the third book in the series, Elizabeth. I'm glad you enjoyed Broken English. I find the subject of the Amish fascinating. I particularly enjoy P.L. Gaus' books because I know how much research he has done.

bermudaonion said...

I bet my mother in law would enjoy this series. I should start it for her.

Joe Barone said...

This is another book I've read and enjoyed. I bought a collection of the first three books in this series in a single volume. I enjoyed all three books.

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