Book reviews by Mobilism's Book Review team
Apr 11th, 2018, 2:00 pm

TITLE: Hearse and Buggy (Amish Mystery #1)
AUTHOR: Laura Bradford
GENRE: Fiction, Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2012

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon, Mobilism

Description: Claire Weatherly has fled a high-stress lifestyle for a slower pace—in Amish country: Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She only planned a short visit but instead found herself opening an Amish specialty shop, Heavenly Treasures, and settling in.Claire loves her new home, and she’s slowly making friends among the locals, including Esther, a young Amish woman who works in the shop. So when the store’s former owner,the unlikable Walter Snow, is murdered, and the man Esther is sweet on becomes a suspect, Claire can’t help but get involved.

Newly returned Detective Jakob Fisher, who left Heavenly—and his Amish upbringing—as a teenager, is on the case. But his investigation is stalled by the fact that none of his former community will speak with him. Claire’s connections make her the perfect go-between.

As Claire investigates, she uncovers more than she wanted to know about her neighbors. And suddenly, everything she had hoped to find in this peaceful refuge is at risk...

Review: I love mysteries, especially cozies. I enjoy trying to figure out whodunit with all the little clues provided. I am not one of those people who read all the fiction books I can find about the Amish. I have Amish families all around me, meet them daily, talk with them and I am just not in ‘awe’ over books about them. To me, they are no different than anyone else.
"We are grateful for the money you send home with Esther each week. It has made up for some of what Mr. Snow took when …" Martha’s words trailed off as she seemed to realize what she was saying. Such matters were not for the women to pay any worry.

My first problem with the story: No matter what, no Amish person would ever start to speak badly about someone else; it does not matter what the other person has done. Does not matter whether the person is Amish or English. Amish people do not speak bad about others. They really do follow the rule ‘If you have nothing good to say then say nothing at all’.
"But it was too late for him to go back, wasn’t it?" she asked, although she knew the answer all on her own. Leaving the Amish world after baptism was an unforgivable offense.

A second problem with the book: Any and all offenses in the Amish world is forgivable. All a person has to do is stand up in the Amish church, confess their sin(s), ask for forgiveness and it will be granted. They will no longer be shunned; they will be able to move back into the community, marry within the community and continue on as though nothing has changed since they were baptized.
"Walter Snow was no man," Eli hissed. "He was a crook."

Again, no Amish person would speak this way. Really makes me wonder if the author has ever met an Amish person.
Eli smacked his good hand against the porch railing, then stormed into his sister’s bakery, slamming the door in his wake.

Readers are finally gifted with proof that Eli’s sister, Ruth, owns Shoo Fly Bakery. Well, another thing the author knows nothing about. An unmarried Amish female would never be allowed to own a business. I do not care what sect or group (Old Order or New Order) of Amish the female is a member of. This would never be allowed to happen.
"I do not know why people murder," Martha said. "God decides man’s fate."

The Amish do not say God, they remove the d and make a ‘t’ sound. Gotte is the actual spelling for God when someone is talking or dealing with the Amish.
"Good evening, Miss Weatherly. May I offer you a ride to wherever it is you are going?"

She stepped into the shadow of the buggy as it stopped beside her, the now-clear view of the driver and his knee-weakening blue eyes making her wish for a fan or a sudden acceleration to the breeze that cooled her face. "Hi, Benjamin. I … I appreciate the offer but I’m not really going anywhere in particular."

"If you have the time and you’d like to share your special place with me, I’d be honored. Truly." Reaching up, she grabbed hold of the buggy’s edge and lifted herself onto the seat beside him, the beat of her heart vacillating between fast and slow. "Thank you."

Really? I honestly believe the author thinks Amish people are no different in every way than the English; Amish people will not offer the English a buggy ride.

I seem to have nothing good to say about this novel. It is an okay story but the culprit is easy to figure out way too early in the story. There is no build-up for anything, and forget a payoff to the mystery. And the instant love attraction between the Claire and men is a large turn-off.

Claire is supposed to be recovering or getting over a bad break up or marriage. Readers are not sure about which one or how long the relationship lasted. She has been in the area six months and one day she is still thinking about the past with her ex. Then the next day she is mooning over the men around her wondering who she wants to be with.

I do not claim to have all knowledge about the Amish; I do claim to know how they live and what they are allowed or not allowed to do. After reading this book, I had to call a friend who grew up Amish but left during her Rumspringa. She provided me proof that these things do not happen within the Amish community. As such, with so many facts wrong or misguided, I cannot recommend this novel to readers. Two stars, and those only for the effort.
Apr 11th, 2018, 2:00 pm