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Amish Country Murder Mysteries Great Summertime Read

August 16, 2013

This summer, thanks to Daedalus Books, I found an author I had not read before, and a series of books that are really quite unique.  Wednesday a two-pound box arrived in my mail with several more of P.L. Gaus’ Amish country mysteries. 

If you are anything like me the first thing that strikes you about a book is the cover.  Convince me to pick it up, and look it over.   Each of these mysteries is presented with a striking cover.   But it is the strength of the plotting and writing that carries a reader through the pages.

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What I find most interesting is how Gaus turns these books into a lesson about the Amish culture.  He allows insight into how they think, keep their faith, and why they hold themselves apart from the rest of society.  Gaus takes us into the old-fashioned Amish homes and allows a sense to the rhythms of their lives .  From the way they pray and worship, their methods of farming, the exact brims of hats worn by men, the style and color of dresses for women to how they travel by horse and buggy without rubber tires.

But it is the murder mysteries that are set among the Amish that are so well told and believable that makes Gaus simply amazing.  The way he crafts his stories and makes it all happen in the ideal landscapes of the lush rolling hills and old-fashioned barns keeps me coming back for another book in his series.

The first book, Blood Of The Prodigal, introduces us to the landscape of Holmes County, Ohio and the Amish who live there.

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The thrust of the plot centers around a bishop’s grandson, Jeremiah, who has disappeared. The boy had been living with the bishop and his family since his father was banished from the community ten years earlier, just before Jeremiah’s illegitimate birth to a local drug-addicted teenager. The bishop calls upon a local “English” (non-Amish) college professor to locate the boy, as he has reason to believe that Jeremiah is with his missing father for the summer. Eventually Jeremiah’s father is found, shot to death, not far from the bishop’s farm, but Jeremiah himself has not turned up. Thus the matter becomes public and involves the sheriff and his deputy, who work with the professor to solve the murder and find the boy.

With the summer sun beckoning as we head towards Labor Day these books are calling me.  I think if you give one a chance, they will call your name too.

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