Friday, June 28, 2013

Two reviews in one...


HEARSE AND BUGGY and ASSAULTED PRETZEL by Laura Bradford. Books #1 & #2 in An Amish Mystery series.


Fleeing a high-stress lifestyle, Claire Weatherly goes to Heavenly, Pennsylvania in the heart of Amish country for a slower pace of life. She had only planned a short visit, but found herself opening Heavenly Treasures, an Amish specialty gift shop. Claire is settling in to her new life and making friends with the locals. Among them, a young Amish woman Esther, who assists in Claire's store. But Claire soon finds herself involved in helping with a murder investigation when the former owner of her store, Walter Snow is found dead behind the shop and Eli, the young Amish man Esther is sweet on, becomes the prime suspect.

 Detective Jakob Fisher has come home to Heavenly years after leaving his Amish family behind. But investigating Snow's murder will be difficult when no one from the Amish community will speak to him. So Claire offers to be his go between.

 Will everything Claire has come to cherish be at risk when she learns more than she should about her neighbors?


 Living in Heavenly, Pennsylvania and running her Amish specialty gift store Heavenly Treasures, Claire Weatherly has found the simple life she always wanted. But life in Amish country is disrupted when murder comes to town.

 Excitement over the guests staying at Sleep Heavenly, the Inn owned by Claire's Aunt Diane, has the town talking. Rob Karble has come to town to meet with the Amish community about crafting new toys for his company. Karble ends up dead after it's revealed he isn't planning to employ the Amish, but will build the new line of toys that they designed in his own factory.

 Suspicion falls on the Amish community. Claire and Detective Jakob Fisher begin to investigate. Will they find the killer among the quiet people?

I loved both of these books. Ms. Bradford makes Heavenly, PA a place anyone would want to live. Well, with the exception of a couple of murders that is. A wonderful job was done blending of the Amish and "English" communities. And I learned more about the Amish in these two books then in my decades of living near my local Amish community. Her characters are multi-layered, yet come across as very believable.

Claire is both strong and kind. She is a modern woman, yet embraces the plain and simple lives of the Amish. The way she investigates the murders is just right for a non-professional. Much more realistic than other characters in some books I have read.

Jakob Fisher, who comes back to be among the people who have shunned him, is tormented by the choice he made when he left. yet hope filled that he can find a connection with his family.

Aunt Diane is a good solid presence for Claire to have in her life. She is both wise and calming.

Esther is sweet and enjoyable. An interesting friend for Claire.

You will also enjoy learning about Esther's mother. Eli Miller, the young man Esther's love interest and his sister Ruth and older brother, widower Benjamin, who plays a large role in both books.

I've only been reading cozy mysteries for just over six months, but this series it at the top of my favorites list. I can't wait for the book number 3!


  1. Enjoyed your review Lisa. I really like this series and I will be seeing first hand about this area of PA when my husband and I, along with our daughter, son in law and three grandchildren go to Lancaster County for a week this coming November. We will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary ON Thanksgiving Day and we opted for this trip with our family to celebrate that milestone. We were married on Thanksgiving Day, the 28th and will celebrate our 50th on a Thanksgiving Day, the 28th as well. How cool is that???

    Should probably reread all my Amish paperbacks again just to refresh my memory, right??

    Good luck with your new endeavor, Lisa, and keep up the great writing, Laura!!!

  2. Thank you very much ceblain. It sure has been a learning experiance.