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Assaulted Pretzel
Amish Mystery #2
Laura Bradford

Berkley Prime Crime
March 2013 / ISBN 978-0-425-25200-0
Mystery / Cozy /Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Not all is heavenly in Heavenly, Pennsylvania. This is Amish country, and the people are peaceable and loving. Times have been difficult as the population of the area grows and there is not enough farmland to support everyone, so when an outsider, an English toy manufacturer comes to town offering employment, the Amish are happy.

Yet this venture to have the Amish build the type of basic and old-fashioned toys, such as they already make, but on a much bigger scale, is too good to be true. It seems that Rob Karble, the toy magnate, plans to pull the proverbial rug out from under the Amish and have their custom designed toys mass manufactured in factories without any Amish employment or compensation.

When Karble is found murdered during the annual Amish Food Festival things turn even bleaker. Is it possible that one of the Amish did the unthinkable and took a human life? It’s up to the Heavenly Police Department, with Detective Jakob Fisher, to shake out the truth. Detective Fisher is a shunned Amish, who came back to Heavenly to see his family, even if they cannot speak to him. Will he now have to question them or consider them as suspects?

Despite all the information I’ve given you, I have yet to introduce you to Claire Weatherly, the protagonist of the series. Claire is a relative newcomer to town, having moved in with her aunt Diane, following a painful divorce. Claire owns her own gift shop, Heavenly Treasures, loves her aunt, her home, her shop, and has feelings for a special man in town. Or, perhaps two special men in town.

Claire is one of the main reasons I love this book and series so much. She’s full of love and empathy, and always wants what is best for others. “Assaulted Pretzel” is a novel with great depth of dimension of characters and settings, providing a model of culture-blending not often found in a cozy mystery. True to life, and examining how people must face up to difficult circumstances, this is a wonderful book for a youth book group, or a mystery book group, or simply to enjoy as a comfortable read that also makes you think. Kudos to Laura Bradford for another well-written novel!

Reviews of other titles in this series

Hearse and Buggy #1
Assaulted Pretzel #2
Shunned and Dangerous #3
Suspendered Sentence #4
A Churn for the Worse #5
Just Plain Murder #6

Reviewed 2013