The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is really less of a mystery and more of a romance, albeit a very quiet Amish one. Apparently this is the middle book in trilogy and the mystery - Who Killed Perry And Why - is spread out over the entire series.
We open with Perry and Frannie arguing. Soon, Perry is dead and (of course) it's under investigation. Because this is an Amish community, Perry's involvement with English men was noted as were his increasingly wild ways. Feeling unable to solve this himself, the Sherrif, Mose, asks his old friend Luke (on leave from Cincinnati PD) to help; Luke at first stays in Frannie's in but moves out because he feels he's getting personally involved with her. Then Frannie gets injured, and her friend Beth stays to help out... and Beth finds herself drawn to the mysterious Chris. Of course, both Frannie and Beth are wonderfulgut Amish girls, so any relationship with an English man is going to involve some degree of angst.
Rather than being a typical mystery, we get chapter heading snippets of what I'm guessing are quotes from witness statements and some, but really only a smattering, of detection. Mostly this centers on the relationships between Perry, Frannie, Beth and the community, as well as Frannie/Luke and Beth/Chris. Only at the very end, and in a nearly miraculous "reviewing of the obtained evidence" do we finally start moving towards solving the who/whydunnit.
Using the mystery part as a hangar for the romance wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I was expecting. The Amish scenes assume readers will understand in greater detail the differences between Old and New Order, Mennonites and English.
ARC provided by publisher.