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When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury's Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery.
Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops – until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register.
When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop's duties, the two women become fast friends – as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray's death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren't convinced.
Clues that don't add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance – all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.
As a general rule, I avoid Amish fiction. But the synopsis of Vannetta Chapman’s Murder Simply Brewed (and the title’s reference to coffee) had me intrigued, so I hesitantly made an exception and read the novel. Surprisingly, not a bad choice, I have to admit. With her two main characters and their individual perspectives, Chapman nicely balances the Amish and non-Amish lifestyle, so neither overwhelms the storyline, which helped to ease my hesitancy. It only took a few pages to hook me. A well-paced and gripping mystery with a bit of hopeful romance, Murder Simply Brewed is an excellent and worthwhile read – I just may have to make a few more exceptions and look into reading Chapman’s other novels. As always, I thank BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a free digital copy of this novel, as well as the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)