Courting Can Be Killer
An Amish Matchmaker Mystery #2
By Amanda Flower
Author’s website: amandaflower.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
In the second Amish Matchmaker Mystery by USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower, Millie Fisher has plenty to keep her busy through her golden years, whether it’s minding a pair of rambunctious goats, meetings with her quilting circle, and matchmaking. But the witty widow always makes time to solve the odd murder…
Some Amish men don’t know what’s good for them. That’s what Millie Fisher told herself when young Ben Baughman set his heart on marrying Tess Lieb. With Tess’s father refusing to give his blessing and Tess’s ex-boyfriend being a wet blanket, the hapless couple was bound to butt heads more than Millie’s Boer goats. But when Ben tragically dies in a mysterious fire, Millie wonders if someone in her hometown of Harvest, Ohio, wanted Ben out of the wedding picture altogether…
With the help of her quilting buddies, and her outspoken Englischer friend Lois, Millie is determined to patch together all the clues without even dropping a stitch. She only hopes it won’t be the death of her…
This delightful new novel in the series that shares characters with the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series is thoroughly fun when one isn’t trying to find who the killer is. I was genuinely saddened by who the murder victim was. The mystery is complex; there was no easy solution to it. The characters are brought to life through excellent descriptions, and the Midwest setting reminds me of being back home.
Millie, an Amish woman widowed for more than twenty years, has the talent of helping men and women find their perfect match. She is the only person who can stop her goats in their tracks when they misbehave, and they understand every word she says. Millie’s best friend, Lois, isn’t Amish and dresses in bright, interesting attire. Millie moved back to Holmes County about a year ago after the death of her sister, for whom she had been caring in Michigan for a decade. She reconnected with Lois, who had also returned to Holmes County. They have been best friends since childhood, and both are thankful to be back together again, despite what some of the more proper Amish women in her district feel.
Ben is a young Amish man who lived next door to Millie and her late sister in Michigan. When he left there, he came to Holmes County because Mille, who is like a beloved aunt to him, had moved back was here. She had told him what a great place it was, with a large Amish district that provides a variety of work and friendships. Ben is currently working four jobs as he is love with a young Amish woman, Tess, and wants to prove to her father that he could care for a wife and children. Tess’s father, however, would not let him court Tess. Ben had hoped Millie could talk with her father to convince him that Ben is a good guy. There are things that Ben hasn’t shared with Millie, however, that have a bearing on why Josiah denied his request for Ben to court his daughter. Likewise, there are things that Tess didn’t tell Ben. Sooner or later, those secrets will come out. No matter how Millie feels about Ben, even as the matchmaker, she can’t make Tess’s father allow them to court.
One of Ben’s jobs is as night guard for the flea market. Thefts have occurred, as vendors can leave their wares overnight, including those of the quilting group that Millie belongs to. Early one morning, the flea market and its contents was destroyed by a mysterious fire. One life was lost, that of the night guard, Ben. Horrified and grief-stricken, Millie learns that Ben was suspected of setting the fire and going to sleep with drugs in his system. They claim the motive was that he wasn’t allowed to court the girl he wanted to marry and it was his way of committing suicide. She knows Ben wouldn’t do so, but since he was a newcomer to the community, nobody except Millie and Lois will stand up for him. They believe it was murder and are determined to find who did the deed. Millie believes if she had tried harder to find out what was bothering the Ben the day before his death, he would still be alive.
Most of the characters are endearing. I enjoyed seeing Bailey, Deputy Aiden, his mother Juliet, and her pet pig, Jethro from the Amish Candy Shop series. I adored Peter and Phillip, who behave like mischievous boys. I particularly enjoyed Millie and Lois, two mature sleuths who couldn’t be more opposite of each other yet work well as a team. The author is remarkably versatile to step into the shoes of the older women to portray them so well.
This cozy mystery invited me in from the beginning and held my attention throughout. There is laugh out loud humor amidst the gravity of the plot thanks to Lois, Jethro, and Millie’s goats. I was surprised at Deputy Aiden’s grudging acceptance of the two ladies trying to find the killer despite his warnings. Plot twists reveal possible suspects and motives, as well as the secrets of both Ben and Tess. I was very surprised at the full resolution of the mystery; there was much more to it that I had imagined. There were no loose ends remaining, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of this series as well as catching up on the Amish Candy Shop series. I highly recommend this!