Killer Carol by
Laura Bradford expertly combines a good mystery within the
Amish community. In this novel, she is able to highlight the
suspense with a secondary story about Christmas preparations
Bradford decided to write the series because she wanted to
“have an interesting backdrop for a mystery. They live
in the 1800s with no cell phones in their houses, do not keep
large amounts of money in their house, will not take photographs,
will not have Christmas trees, and are wary of the police.
In some ways, it is like writing an older time mystery surrounded
by the modern world. For this particular novel, I enjoyed
involving the whole town in the crime.”
The heroine, Claire Weatherly, lives in Heavenly PA, where
her preparation is shattered after an elderly Amish couple
is found murdered in their own home. Claire's boyfriend, Jakob,
who left the Amish to become a policeman, is charged with
figuring out who did it. It appears all of Claire’s
Amish friends are being considered suspects and people of
interest. She wants to believe that those close to her are
innocent, but lies and betrayals shatter that trust.
The author noted, “Because Jakob left the community
after he was baptized, he was excommunicated. Now, no one
can speak to him, including his family. In the books, Jakob’s
niece and nephew will visit with him on the QT. They are taking
a risk because if they are caught, they also can be excommunicated.
Because of this, Jakob allows Claire to be the go between
himself and the community.”
Readers will enjoy how Bradford skillfully captures the holiday
atmosphere, independent of the mystery. There are gentle contrasts
between Claire’s approach to Christmas and the simpler
Amish traditions. The author meshes the two worlds perfectly.
Readers can shut their eyes and feel transported to Heavenly
with snow outside, festive decorations all around, display
lights, and Christmas music often playing.
“I wrote Christmas as a subplot with the festival. It
was fun balancing the Christmas and the crime itself that
does not have anything to do with the holiday I think people
need to remember evil does not take a holiday.”
Another piece of the plot is the turn the relationship has
taken between Claire and Jakob. She feels Jakob is being secretive,
and she is not sure if their relationship can survive. Because
he seems to be hiding something, Claire feels betrayed. She
starts to have her doubts and begins to wonder if she can
trust Jakob anymore.
“I wanted to write Jakob and Claire as a couple that
respects each other. Claire has learned patience and forgiveness
from Jakob. He has learned from her what to do when they care
for someone. They have a true and steadfast love that faces
some bumps in this story.”
The plot has likeable, complex characters. By presenting many
different suspects, the author allows readers to take the
clues given and play detective. Anyone who has read this series
will look forward to the next book in the series.