Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes
Isabella Alan on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries
0.5. Plainly Murder
1. Murder, Plain and Simple
2. Murder, Simply Stitched
3. Murder, Served Simple
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Murder Served Simply, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock has a lot on her plate this Christmas. But things only get worse after someone develops a taste for murder…
Angie’s parents are visiting Rolling Brook for Christmas—but unfortunately, her ex is joining them. Luckily, Angie has no time to dwell on her romantic troubles as she prepares her store, Running Stitch, for the town’s traditional progressive dinner, featuring a sleigh ride stopping at each shop for a different course of the meal.
The meal ends with an Amish-themed Christmas play at the Swiss Valley Hotel and Barn. But the performance is cut short when an actress falls from the scaffolding to her death. After the sheriff suspects foul play, tensions between the Amish and Englisch heat up, as do rivalries among the acting troupe. Now Angie and her quilting circle must stitch together clues before they’re the ones running for cover…
Isabella Alan's Amish Quilt Shop Mystery series continues with the third book, Murder Served Simply. Set during the Christmas season, this novel, has everything from a progressive dinner, to a theatre production, all set to daily life in the Amish town of Rolling Brook. Alan's knack for writing about the simple lifestyle of the Amish imbued with a little bit of murder is both light and entertaining. Readers who love a good mystery, have a few pets, love quilting or just plain and simply enjoy reading, will love it.
What I liked:
One of the things I have always liked about this series is the way that Isabella Alan makes her Amish characters so real. When I think of the Amish, I have a lot of respect for their culture and beliefs, but I don't really see them as people who might be like me or as people I might find something in common with. But Alan does a fantastic job of making the Amish seem more accessible, more realistic and in some ways just as flawed and human as I am.
Angie from the Running Stitch Quilt Shop is very busy with the holiday season in, Murder Served Simple. She is taking part in what is called a progressive dinner. I had never heard of that before reading this book, but found it a really interesting idea. Each of the local shop owners contributed a part of the meal and tourists went from shop to shop ending up at a local hotel for the final course. What a cool way to celebrate the season! I admit I want to steal the idea and create my own progressive dinner among friends, but it was certainly a great idea for this mystery. Alan uses it to get the mystery started so to speak, along with a Broadway production that has the Amish all in a stir.
Not only does Angie have her parents and her ex-boyfriend in town for Christmas she ends up with a murdered actress on her plate as well. When a former Amish woman, turned actress dies in the middle of the first night of the play, it's up to Angie to figure out whodunit and why. Many of the Amish characters in the book, were not in favor of the play because they felt it cast the Amish in a bad light and made fun of their culture and beliefs. That certainly added to the suspect list, along with the actors and actresses from the play and a crazy Amish relative of the victim.
Alan does a great job of balancing the mystery in this book against Angie's personal dynamics with her matchmaking parents and her new and old boyfriends. The mystery aspects were fun to read and try to figure out, while Angie's life continued to get in the way of her sleuthing. Pet lovers will love scenes with Oliver and Dodger and the Christmas theme was well included in the mystery. An all around great addition to this wonderful Amish mystery series.
Murder Served Simply is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Isabella Alan is the author of Murder, Simply Stitched and Murder, Plain and Simple. An academic librarian for a small college in Ohio, she grew up visiting the state’s Amish country with her family. Her 2010 debut, Maid of Murder, written under the name Amanda Flower, received an Agatha Award nomination for Best First Novel.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Murder Served Simply by Isabella Alan.
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