We are in the middle of remodeling our kitchen and, as a result, I do not seem to be able to read as much as usual! This is the first in Bradford's new Amish mystery series and, if this debut is any indication, we will be seeing many more.
Claire Weatherly, still hurt and uncertain after a failed marriage, has moved to Heavenly, PA to stay with her Aunt Diane at her charming B&B, Sleep Heavenly. Claire's new business, Heavenly Treasures, features gifts and household items handmade by local Amish artisans. The shop that Claire rents was formerly occupied by Walter Snow, who left town owing money to Amish furniture makers whom he had cheated. When vandalism occurs at the Shoo Fly Pie Shop next door, Claire finds it hard to fathom why anyone could be deliberately targeting its Amish owner, gentle Ruth Miller. Nor is she inclinded to believe, as many in the commun ity do, that Ruth's younger brother Eli could be guilty of murder when Walter Snow is found strangled in the alley between the two shops.
No cozy mystery is complete without the potential for a little romance! Jakob Fisher, shunned by the Amish community, has returned to Heavenly as a police detective. Old rivalries and a longing for contact with his Amish family add depth and interest to this character, a potential future love interest for Claire. With Claire's unresolved relationship issues from her marriage, her attraction for Amish widower Ben Miller, and her newly discovered talent for sleuthing, a future relationship between Claire and Jakob promises to be intriguing.
Laura Bradford has done a thorough job of researching Amish customs and practices and with this series she manages to transport the reader to the heart of Amish country and, more importantly, into the Amish way of thinking. Aside from a credible, entertaining mystery, which Bradford definitely delivers, one of the most important facets of the cozy genre is the creation of genuinely interesting, likeable characters who are firmly woven into the fabric of the setting and plot. Bradford has accomplished that, and this visit to Heavenly, PA leaves the reader looking forward to the next installment!