My rating: 3 stars / I liked it
Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright can see profits in sight for her collection of Amish artisan shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a single hole in the front window and Mr. Gray dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. Hannah Troyer takes over the shop’s duties, and she and Amber become fast friends as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death to be a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t so easily convinced.
Old Testament clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to solve a mystery and bring peace to the Amish community.
This was a good book. I liked the characters. I liked the setting. The mystery was mysterious. The drawback for me was that the pacing was just so slow. There doesn't seem to be any urgency to the investigation which I'm not used to in a murder mystery. Each clue that moved the story forward came between leisurely description and details from three different points of view- Amber's, Hannah's, and the neighboring farmer Tate. The three perspectives do give variety to the story and show how the Amish and English communities interact and form friendships. The romance between Amber and Tate is especially enjoyable to see develop.
Murder Simply Brewed is the first in the Amish Village Mystery series and is currently on sale for e-book for only $1.99! The second book Murder Tightly Knit is available now, and the third, Murder Freshly Baked, will release early this summer. In each novel Amber and Hannah are the main characters solving the mysteries.
(Thank you to Zondervan Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)