When the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, refuses to discuss a murder with the police, it’s up to Rachel Mast to bridge the cultural gap and stop a killer from striking again. . .
While swimming in a local quarry, Rachel and her cousin Mary Aaron discover the body of an Amish girl, fully clothed in her white bonnet, floating face down in the water. The drowned young woman, Beth Glick, had left Stone Mill and her Old Order Amish life a year ago, causing her to be shunned by her family and her people.
But if Beth had joined the English world, why was she found dressed in Amish clothing and strangled? Rachel’s boyfriend, police detective Evan Park, is getting nowhere with questioning Beth’s family. He’s also troubled over the fate of three other Amish girls who left Stone Mill in the last two years. As someone who gave up the Plain lifestyle herself then returned to operate a B&B, Rachel is able to use her ties to the community to learn more about the missing girls. But when her search eventually leads to the dark underbelly of the secular world, Rachel finds her own life in dire jeopardy. . .
When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what I was in for as it had been awhile since I had requested it from Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All I remembered was that it was a mystery. And it was a mystery, but not exactly what I expected. It was also the second in a series, something else I didn’t know. The good thing is, it really didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the first one. This book can stand alone if it doesn’t bother you that you don’t get to see how the main character, and her love interest first meet, at least I think that happened in the first book, Plain Killing.
Rachel is the proprietor of a bed and breakfast inn in a small town in Pennsylvania. She is also formerly Amish, and still lives near her family after an absence of fifteen years, during which she was educated,worked, and spent time just being away from the Amish. She missed her friends and family so she came back. Since she left before she was baptized, she is not shunned, although her mother still won’t speak to her. One day while swimming with some of her Amish friends, she finds the body of an Amish young woman.
Rachel as a character was a strong willed, but still sympathetic character. She still holds some Amish beliefs, but knows she could never go back to the religion. She stubbornly refuses to let the police do all the work to find the killer, even though her friend/love interest? is a state trooper and wants her to stay safe. Evan loves Rachel but he knows she pretty much will do as she wants to, which includes ignoring most of his instructions to stay out of the mystery. Another character, Mary Aaron was actually more of a main character then Evan. As Rachel’s Amish cousin, and best friend, Mary Aaron is very happily Amish, and has no need to go out among the world. She knows what she wants, but still enjoys some of the modern perks(air conditioning) of visiting Rachel’s home. Rachel and Mary Aaron get very involved in solving the murder, not knowing that it will take them into the underbelly of society’s more nefarious and sordid side.
Most of this is just background information. I won’t go into the details of the murder or the mystery subplot that is discovered because of the murder. I enjoyed getting to know Rachel and Mary Aaron as they sleuthed their way around the small town, the Amish homes, and beyond. I also was caught up in the customs and everyday life of the Amish, and how real the author makes the Amish people to the reader.
This is not a hold on to the seat of your pants thriller. Instead it was more of a cozy mystery that built the suspense more slowly. The author knows how to write a good mystery, and how to keep a reader like me, one that is used to the more scarier thrillers, happily reading until the end. I ended up really enjoying the read.
I would recommend this to mystery readers, but would limit it to about age fifteen and up, due to some of the more sordid details.
The review copy of this title was supplied by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.