Fifth in a series called Stone
Mill Amish Mystery follows Rachel
Mast who, having left the Plain community to work and gain
an MBA, has returned for a simpler world than the whirl of
city life. In PLAIN CONFESSION we see that she has opened a
B&B in Stone Mill, Pennsylvania. Her mother's been
undergoing chemotherapy, and Rachel wants to be near.
Rachel goes to help when a man called Daniel Fisher is shot
in a hunting accident. Many hands are needed for the
funeral and meal. But her fiancé, the local police officer,
arrives with some serious news. Daniel appears to have been
murdered. Evan Parks has to make a full investigation now
that the medical examiner has carried out his work. The
November winds suddenly feel quite a bit colder.
The Amish often prefer to deal with one of their own than
with outside law. Thus Rachel, in an intermediary position,
translates both language and culture for the officers -- and
of course for the reader. While she dresses in any way she
pleases normally, for dealing with the bereaved family she
dons skirts and simple garb; they will feel better about
talking with her. A young teen cousin of Rachel's family,
Mary Aaron, is experimenting with life -- and some feel
Rachel may be a bad influence.
Every community has some folks who are a little odd, but
are accepted. This Amish district has a young man who is
probably on the Asperger spectrum, Moses Studer. He's the
first man the police suspect. Rachel can't see Moses ever
harming anyone, and what reason could there be? In her
inquiries she meets some rather more complex characters,
including a man with electric gates and twenty pit bulls. I
enjoyed all the small touches of real life in this book.
The way people smell, mushroom picking, who goes to the
supermarket (for pickling spices, canning jars and baking
goods, since you ask), and fittings for a bridal dress. A
smokehouse with smoked, salted, and sugar-cured hams. I
almost felt I was on the spot.
Having finished PLAIN CONFESSION by Emma Miller I sat for a
while asking myself what this reminded me of; the answer
that came was Jo Nesbo. Different country, not a police
procedural, but Nesbo's books have similar qualities of
realism, grit, and beauty despite tensions and violence.
Emma Miller is very impressive. She deserves a wide
readership equally as much as any major crime author.
When Rachel Mast returned to Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, she
unwittingly became a bridge between the closed Amish
community and the Englisher police. Now, as she prepares for
her wedding, she’s drawn into an investigation that could
end in a different ceremony—her funeral . . .
Rachel didn’t know Daniel Fisher well, but it still comes as
a shock when her fiancé, a state trooper, tells her that the
young Amish man’s death may not have been a hunting
accident. The police believe he was murdered and they need
Rachel’s help telling the family. But when she does, they
don’t seem upset or even surprised. Even more unsettling,
Daniel’s brother-in-law confesses—while his mother begs
Rachel to prove his innocence. But why would he give a false
confession? Who is he trying to protect?
As Rachel’s search for answers overshadows her wedding
plans, rumors swirl that she might not show up at the
altar—and that Daniel wasn’t as upstanding as he seemed.
While the list of people who wanted him dead grows, Rachel
is caught in the killer’s crosshairs, and if she’s not
careful, it may be more than her feet that turn cold . . .