Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful to visit these characters again
Cons: Mystery could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
A mentor murdered
Brings us back to these old friends
Sit back and enjoy
It was Heavenly to Visit These Characters Again
It's been two and a half years since we were last able to visit the residents of Heavenly, Pennsylvania. I hadn't realized just how much I missed these characters until I picked up Just Plain Murder. By the end of the first page, I felt like I'd come home, and we'd only seen three of the series regulars. I was smiling the entire way through the book.
If you haven't found this series yet, it is set in the Amish country. Claire Weatherly, our main character, isn't Amish herself, but the gift shop she runs sells many items made by the Amish, and through that she has made friendships in both parts of her community. She is dating Jakob Fisher, the local police detective, who has his own at times painful ties to the community.
As this book opens, Jakob's old mentor has come back to Heavenly. Russ Granger was the policeman who inspired Jakob's interest in police work when he was a boy, and he became like a father to him when Jakob became a police officer. Russ has long retired and moved to Florida, but he is back to visit his grown daughter.
However, before Jakob and Russ can reconnect, Russ is found murdered. Distraught over the man's death, Jakob throws himself into solving the crime. Can Claire help him come up with any leads?
Throughout this series, people talk about how peaceful the town is, especially the Amish side of the community. That comes through in the books. Just picking one up brings a sense of peace I don't get from any other of my favorite series.
The pacing of these books has always reflected that more peaceful setting. Even so, this book seems a little slower paced than most. There is a lot of focus on Jakob and how he is dealing with the loss, and it doesn't feel like we make significant progress on the mystery until the final third. However, the end result is well worth reading. I was highly satisfied when I was done.
The real star of this series has always been the characters, and they shine here. All your favorites get at least a scene if not several. There are some interesting developments for a couple of them as well. They have been friends since the first book in the series, and it was absolutely fantastic to be able to visit them again.
There are a few references to things that have happened in previous books that come close to spoiling events, but if you haven't read those earlier books, you can still jump in here. However, to fully appreciate the characters, you'll want to read the series in order. That is a journey well worth taking.
It is always wonderful to check back in with our fictional friends, and I was so thankful to be able to do that with Just Plain Murder. Whether you are new or old to this series, you'll be glad you picked up this book.
Enjoy more visits to Heavenly with the rest of the Amish Mysteries.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away. Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.
Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win. I will pick the winner Tuesday December 4th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 12/4. You will have until midnight on 12/9 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 12/10.