Thursday, March 10, 2016
A Churn for the Worse by Laura Bradford
The Sleep Heavenly Bed-and-Breakfast owned by Claire Weatherly's Aunt Diane in Heavenly, Pennsylvania is full of guests. Claire's gift shop, Heavenly Treasures, is popular with tourists. Claire's relationship with Detective Jakob Fisher is progressing nicely. Everything seems, well, heavenly, in the town. But, nothing lasts. When an Amish man dies in his barn, Jakob quickly determines it was murder. And, Claire's Amish friends reveal that someone is stealing money from their houses. Because some of the Amish refuse to ask Jakob to investigate, Claire, once again, is the go-between with her Amish friends and the detective who found his true calling with the police, but is shunned by the sect he once belonged to.
There is so much joy in the day-to-day life in Heavenly. Claire's friend, Esther, is expecting her first baby, and her husband, Eli, bought her a horse, one to safely carry his wife and baby. Annie, who works for Claire, also has a new horse, her first for her buggy. And, Claire is amazed to discover how much her aunt, Diane, knows about horses, how much she loves them. Horses are an essential part of the Amish lifestyle, but Claire never paid a great deal of attention to them.
And, the outside world is discovering Heavenly, which is good for the town, but that also means threatened changes. Diane's guests include a college professor looking at the Amish home businesses, a tour guide looking to bring more people to town, a blogger and photographer, and a consultant hired by the town to examine ways to bring more business.
There are changes in Heavenly. Claire, as a business owner, and Jakob, working for the police, are very much aware of the changes. It will take all of their knowledge to find the answers to the crimes that seem centered around the Amish.
Bradford successfully brings all these elements together in her latest Amish mystery. She understands the fascination readers have with the Amish way of life. She manages to incorporate details of daily life into a well-written mystery with a number of possible suspects. And, she also manages to juggle the progress of relationships and family life in this popular series. The book may be A Churn for the Worse, but, for the reader, it doesn't get much better.
Laura Bradford's website is www.laurabradford.com
A Churn for the Worse by Laura Bradford. Berkley Prime Crime. 2016. ISBN 9780425273036 (paperback), 296p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.