Friday, November 16, 2012

A Plain Scandal: An Appleseed Creek Mystery, by Amanda Flower

Overview: The people of Appleseed Creek in the heart of Ohio's Amish Country are under attack. Soon after the dust has settled on a buggy accident that turned out to be murder, an unknown assailant begins cutting off the long hair of Amish women and the beards of Amish men.

New to the area, computer specialist Chloe Humphrey may not share their customs, but she is certainly alarmed over these crimes against the Amish and worries how such events will impact her growing number of friends who are more connected to that way of life.

In this small community, when Chloe discovers the body of an Amish businessman who was stabbed in the back and whose beard was cut off, she knows that finding the murderer and restoring peace to Appleseed Creek is as much her responsibility as anyone else's.

Review: This was a very entertaining read, a very enjoyable ride. Very well written, nicely paced, it keeps you wondering, guessing and piecing together bits and parts of the mystery to figure it all out. You will know who the villain is, you will sort of know who else is involved, but the how and why? Leave it to those involved in the mystery to reveal it all to you.

The author does a very nice job of keeping the reader interested, invested in the mystery as well as in the characters. Chloe is very likable, Timothy is sweet, and Becky, as well as her family, is charming. The character development is what I would expect in a light read: not too deep or detailed, but not too superficial either.

One thing that keeps bothering me, here and in the first book of the series, is how slow the romance is developing. I get that Timothy used to be Amish and they have their differences, but it's just too dragged. Chloe keeps second guessing herself and Timothy's intentions, even though it is incredibly obvious how he feels about her, and the people around her tell her, and Timothy himself tells her. No, she keeps wondering. Also, the portrayal of the Amish is still very shaky. Very few are good natured people; most are petty, mean, downright vindictive and vicious. But at least in the end there is a sense of some of them changing for the better.

This is the second book of the series, and much better than the first, A Plain Death, which makes me look forward to the next. It was a quick, easy read, a lot of it very predictable from the start, but with a few, nice surprises that kept it interesting.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book from B&H Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

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