Friday, November 17, 2017

"When the Bishop Needs an Alibi" by Vannetta Chapman

Emma heated the kettle on the gas-powered stove. As they waited for the water to boil, she told Sophia about her family, hoping to put her at ease. She'd made it through all of the grandchildren when the kettle let out a whistle. She jumped up to pour the hot water over bags of herbal tea. "Gut for the nerves," she murmured, setting a mug in front of Sophia.

— "When the Bishop Needs an Alibi," Vannetta Chapman

Did you ever think about what the Amish eat and drink? I didn't until I happened to read this new Amish cozy mystery that I so enjoyed, I thought some of you might want to check it out as well! To be honest, I've never read an Amish mystery. I know there's a slew of them out there, but the topic never appealed to me. But when I came across this title on NetGalley and saw the intriguing cover with its old-fashioned diner stools, I downloaded it.

Henry Lapp, a widowed Amish bishop in Colorado, keeps finding himself in the middle of murder investigations. This is the second book in the series and frequently references a "Monte Vista arsonist" he helped find previously. This go-round, the bishop is drawn to help a young waitress in the  local diner he frequents. Sophia seems nervous and on edge, and Henry feels drawn to help her, even getting his lady friend, Emma, involved. They sense something very dangerous is going on in Sophia's life, but she won't reveal what it is. Still, Henry and Emma feel compelled to help, especially when a body is found.

It's quite fascinating to consider how Amish people might help solve a murder. They are definitely not much help when it comes to technology (a subplot involving a flash drive is quite fun), yet their common sense and people-watching skills more than make up for what they lack in modern-day know-how. Henry and Emma's faith, naturally, is a big part of this story, and the author does a fine job of weaving in the spiritual elements without seeming preachy. Her characters come across as authentic—and authentic in their struggles—and watching these Amish folks solve a mystery was more delightful than I could have imagined. I'm hooked and look forward to reading other books in this series!


  1. I've enjoyed other books you've recommended (I've read the first three of the Wolf Creek Square ones now) so I'd probably like this one, too. I'll add it to my list!


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