Title: A Plain Scandal: An Appleseed Creek Mystery
Author: Amanda Flower
Published by B&H Publishing Group, 2013
Advance Reader's Edition/Kindle format
A young Amish woman is attacked, her hair cut. Three more young Amish women are similarly attacked, their hair also cut. Two Amish-hating thugs are out of prison, too soon. An elderly Amish gentleman is attacked, his beard cut--but his horse took a bite out of the attacker's shoulder, through his wool coat. Finally, an Amish businessman is stabbed in the back and killed, his beard also cut.
How many attackers are there? Are all of the attacks really related? Are the two thugs, Curt Fanning and Brock Buckley, responsible? Or is it possible that one or more members of the Amish community are attacking their own?
Readers of Flowers' A Plain Death, the first in the Appleseed Creek Mystery series, will welcome the return of Chloe Humphrey, an Englischer; her two formerly-Amish friends, siblings Timothy and Becky Troyer and their family; and Police Chief Greta Rose. In Chloe's office, Clark and Miller also remain.
In part because of their history with Curt and Brock, Chloe and Timothy assist police in the investigation. Along the way, Chloe and Becky get a new landlord whose motives they suspect;
- most of the Amish community turns against the entire Troyer family, and especially against Chloe;
- Chloe discovers a dead body and a secret engagement;
- Chloe runs from Brock across a pond that is not so frozen, after all;
- a man loses his grip on reality; and
- Chloe nails the killer.
The series is obviously Amish-related, but with Chloe as the protagonist, that community does not quite claim center stage in A Plain Scandal,. However, Timothy plays a strong supporting role which becomes increasingly significant--especially to Chloe. A Plain Scandal includes a number of references to events in the first book, which I have now read. Usually, when I read a series novel out of order, I don't especially feel as though I've missed a lot, even though (if I like it) I will read whatever came before. I suspect readers of Scandal may be more satisfied for having read Death, first, but this is only my experience.
I like most of the characters that carried over to the second novel, and I enjoyed Scandal as easy reading, with more than enough intrigue to keep me in it. And now both books continue to haunt my mind. The third book in the series is set for release in the fall, 2013, and already I chomp at the bit. I give A Plain Scandal ****.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Shelton Interactive on behalf of their author or publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.