Book Review: Murder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan

Finding the Book

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Murder, Plain and Simple came across my radar when I was on Amazon one day getting another Amish cozy mystery book and Amazon’s wonderful algorithm showed me An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery series.  After checking out the series page and book description, I decided this series definitely sounded like something I’d enjoy so I started with the first book, Murder, Plain and Simple.

And, boy, did I enjoy it!

After Mary B. Barbee’s Amish Lantern Mystery Series, An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery series is my next in line for favorite Amish mystery book series.

About the Book

Angie arrives in Ohio after a surprise ending to her engagement to now-former-fiance back in Dallas.  New to small business ownership, Angie dives into the task of taking over her late aunt’s quilt shop.  It’s quite a different lifestyle than she’s accustomed to, and settling in is made even more difficult since she’s an Englischer taking over her Amish aunt’s shop.

Several local Amish women, members of the quilt shop’s quilting circle, step in to welcome Angie to the community and support her in continuing the lifework of her aunt, but one Amish woman is resentful of Angie’s takeover and causes upheaval.  

When the nasty-tempered Amish business owner next door to the quilt shop shows up dead inside the quilt shop, Angie has a whole new set of problems on her hands.

With the quilt circle’s support, Angie sets out to prove she’s innocent, landing herself right in the middle of danger, both for her life and of falling for the local sheriff!

From the Publisher:  When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio.

With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle tries to make her feel welcome as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch. 

On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom the next morning, everything starts falling apart.

With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can arrest her. Rolling Brook always appeared to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems….

What I Love

I really enjoy the Amish book genre, especially the cozy mystery section, of which there aren’t many.  The setting was well done by the writer; it truly felt like (what I think) a true Amish environment.

The characters were well-developed, including the main character, Angie, the supporting Amish women, and the sheriff.  Even the unlikeable characters in this story were created in such a way as to be an intricate part of the story so I didn’t even mind their wrongdoing! Lol

The addition of the dog sidekick, and the introduction of an adorable kitten, gave a real life flavor to Angie’s character, and I enjoyed those “characters” being worked into the storyline.

If you like a bit of romance woven into your cozy mysteries, then you’ll find this strong mystery story, with a hint of light romance, a worthwhile read.  Don’t really enjoy romance in mysteries?  Give it a try anyway; it’s seriously so lightly worked into the story that it’s very tasteful and actually adds to the story rather than overshadowing the mystery.

Another enjoyable aspect of the story was the focus on small business.  The main setting in this book are the quilt shop, now owned and run by Angie, and the Amish auction, which has a main role in the story.  Also featured are the victim’s woodworking shop next door to the quilt shop, and, of course, the requisite Amish bakery across the street.  I love all things small business, so this was an interesting focus of the story for me.

Get the Book

Other Books in the Series

Murder, Plain and Simple (An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Book 1)

Murder, Simply Stitched (An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Book 2)

Murder, Served Simply (An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Book 3)

Murder, Plainly Read (An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Book 4)

Murder, Handcrafted (An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Book 5)

You can check out Isabella Alan’s Amazon author page here.  This is author Amanda Flower’s pen name so you can find her other books here.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought Murder, Plain and Simple was a fabulous read with a well-developed and written mystery plot, and I highly recommend it to any fans of cozy mysteries, especially those who love cozy Amish mysteries!

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