Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman
Review by Kara Grant **4 stars**
Info from goodreads.com
Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright can see profits in sight for her collection of Amish artisan shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a single hole in the front window and Mr. Gray dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. Hannah Troyer takes over the shop’s duties, and she and Amber become fast friends as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death to be a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t so easily convinced.
Old Testament clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to solve a mystery and bring peace to the Amish community.
I was so thrilled to get a review copy of this book, I’ve read so many of Chapman’s books and they never disappoint. She has a unique talent of mixing Amish and Englischer characters within a small community and having her readers fall in love with these characters. I didn’t connect with Murder Simply Brewed as much as I hoped I would, but I still really enjoyed what can be easily described as a cozy mystery.
The two women in this book are Amber and Hannah. They make an unlikely bond in this story that becomes a sweet friendship as they investigate a death in their community that the police deem is not a murder, but natural causes. However there are just too many “coincidences” related to Ethan Grey’s death that put Amber in a sleuthing role despite the risks that go with it. Hannah doesn’t get as involved, but she does share any new information with Amber and they rely on each other throughout the story. Both women are very observant and eager to resolve the entire situation. The only question I have is, was Hannah finally able to taste the coffee she prepared or maybe that’s for the next book?
I couldn’t believe some of the pranks in this book; some were totally outrageous while others were utterly creepy! Even though the story started out slow for me, once these pranks were put into motion I was eager to find out what would happen next.
My two favorite characters were Tate and Elizabeth. They are both incredibly supportive of Amber and had me smiling.
There was a sweet romance between Tate and Amber and Jesse and Hannah. However, I really enjoyed reading more about Tate and Amber even though they start out as total opposites in personality. Tate is still grieving his late wife when the story begins, but he ends up helping Amber with the investigation and I just loved the scenes they have together. Leo the cat was also an enhancement to the story.
Even though I didn’t connect with this story as I’d hoped to, it’s still accurate to say that anything Chapman writes is wonderfully entertaining and always illustrates what it means to have faith in God no matter what culture you’re from. The characters keep things interesting, I had no idea who the culprit was, the police had me suspicious because of their nonchalant attitude towards Amber, the romance is subtle but perfectly done, the friendships are pure delight, the Amish community stick together and help each other in such precious ways, and even when you discover who the “villain” is there is forgiveness available for this person. I’m grateful for authors like Chapman and I know her readers will enjoy this book as I did!
I want to thank BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for the review copy received. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.