I confess: I have never read a book by Vannetta Chapman until Murder Simply Brewed. It may have been my first but it definitely won’t be my last! Murder, intrigue, romance, and faith are all blended to create one entertaining story!
Amber Wright, a 40-something single woman who lives with her cat on the premises of the Amish Artisan Village she manages, feels like she has the perfect job. Hannah Troyer, the twenty-two-year-old Amish girl who works in the Village’s quilt shop, feels that way too. One Englisch, one Amish, their paths don’t cross much outside of the Village. Until the day that Hannah discovers a body in the coffee shop next door and calls Amber in a panic. That’s the day that everything changes.
When Hannah takes over the coffee shop in the absence of the recently-deceased (from an apparent heart attack) Ethan Gray, she and Amber become fast friends. As seemingly-random acts of vandalism begin to pile up around the Village, the pair grow less comfortable with the police department’s ready acceptance of Ethan’s death by natural causes. They set out to find the truth on their own, with the help of Amber’s neighbor Tate and Hannah’s best friend Jesse, and maybe they’ll each find a little romance along the way as well.
Very much enjoyed this book! While I do like reading Amish fiction, I especially love those stories that aren’t typical of the genre. Murder Simply Brewed is one such example. The interactions between the Englisch and the Amish were lots of fun to read and gave more dimension (and less stereotype) to the characters in the process. The murder mystery added an element not usually seen in Amish novels, and I just wanted to curl up into this whodunit with a quilt and a mug of hot chocolate despite the summer temps outside. Lastly, the romance between two separate couples wove sweetly throughout the story and created an atmosphere of “cozy” tenderness even amid some high tension scenes.
I give Murder Simply Brewed 4 out of 5 stars! Currently, I’m reading the second book in this series and will be posting a review on it later today or tomorrow.
Vannetta Chapman holds a BA and MA degree in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. She published a novel with Abingdon Press called A Simple Amish Christmas in October of 2010. Her first Quilt Shop Murder Mystery, Falling to Pieces (Zondervan) was released in September of 2011 and received the 2012 Carol Award for best mystery. She currently lives in the Texas hill country. You can connect with Vannetta on her website and at Facebook.