Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman

When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join forces 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 head. 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.

         Amber Wright has been the manager of the Amish Artisan Village for more than a decade, and she loves her job. Although it has never been completely smooth sailing, those years have passed fairly uneventfully. Now, as a murderer strikes in their small town of Middlebury, Amber feels as if her life is spinning out of control. Between trying to keep her shops open and running despite multiple accounts of vandalism, making a new friend in her neighbor amid feelings for him that she doesn’t understand, and getting tangled up in Ethan Gray’s murder mystery, Amber is completely overwhelmed. Will she find the answers they need before it’s too late, or will the murderer strike again?
         Murder Simply Brewed was a completely thrilling murder mystery that had just enough romance mixed in. I read both this book—the first installment in Vannetta Chapman’s Amish Village Mystery Series—and the second book called Murder Tightly Knit in about three days. Maybe a little less. By the way, I’ll be reviewing that one tomorrow. Anyway, both were wonderful mysteries that kept me guessing, but Murder Simply Brewed was the harder one to figure out. As I read, I tried to puzzle out the mystery, which I am quite fond of doing as I grew up reading books like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, but I didn’t know who the culprit was until Amber did. Shocking, right?
         Vannetta Chapman did a wonderful job weaving the mystery into every aspect of her story without making it over the top. While the murderer was obviously deranged, the vandalism and the clues were all realistic, and the murderer did have a viable reason for murder. Don’t worry I don’t agree with him/her in the slightest. My point is only to say it wasn’t a silly reason like Ethan stepped on his/her toe or something. The whole book was thrilling and gave me lots of spine-chilling, cliff-hanger moments that made it a perfect read, which is why I picked up the second one—and finished it—so soon after. Unfortunately for me, the third—Murder Freshly Baked—doesn’t come out until June ninth. I’ll be eagerly awaiting it just the same! All three books are on my Amazon Store, so check them out! Murder Freshly Baked is on sale for pre-order until the ninth!
         Happy reading!

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Vannetta Chapman and her publishers.

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