Murder of an Amish Bridegroom by Patricia Johns (December 2023) Crooked Lane Books
There is an Amish community in Blueberry, Pennsylvania that allows tourists (who they refer “Englishers”) to visit their town. Petunia Yoder is the daughter of the one managing the community tour. She is considered an old maid, at age twenty-two. Her cooking skills and her independent thinking make her completely unmarriageable. But she’s the community’s seamstress so almost everyone would request her to sew their wedding gowns and even Amish dresses tourists enjoy buying.
Unfortunately, Petunia’s best friend, Eden Beiler, is too much in love with Ike Smoker, the community’s ice man, a man who is ruining Eden’s reputation.
When Petunia discovers Ike dead with an ice pick in his chest and finds Eden on the scene with blood on her hands, she couldn’t believe it.
Homicide detective Asher Nate is assigned to the case. He is new to the area, and he finds the Amish community challenging. First, the Amish community sticks close together and they don’t want outsiders interfering. Second, Asher doesn’t understand the subtleties and nuances of the culture and clues he uncovers. So he needs an Amish “interpreter” and asks Petunia to help. Because Petunia believes Eden is innocent, she agrees just to get Eden out of prison.
There are numerous people in the Amish community who had good reason to hate Ike Smoker. As Petunia and Asher begin to uncover Ike’s secrets, almost everyone who hates Ike becomes a suspect. Clues are popping up everywhere. Was someone trying to protect their family’s reputation? Was someone trying to exact revenge? Petunia and Asher have to find the culprit fast or else Eden has to be transferred to another prison.
The novel is an enjoyable and easy read. It gives the readers a glimpse of how the Amish community lives in today’s modern times. At the same time, the suspense keeps the readers turning the page to find out who really murdered Ike. Every time I read a mystery novel like this, it’s fun to guess the “whodunnit” and this time I got it right. For this reason, I’m going to give it 4 out of 5 stars.