Saturday, June 16, 2012

HEARSE AND BUGGY by Laura Bradford

Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford is a gentle cozy.

To get away from a failed marriage, Claire Weatherly moved to Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She opened a curio shop, Heavenly Treasures, which succeeds, in part because it sells Amish-made goods.

Someone murders the former owner of Claire’s shop and leaves him in the alley behind Heavenly Treasures. At the same time, someone is vandalizing the Amish bakery next door to Claire’s shop.

Many of the main suspects are Amish men, one in particular. And just to complicate matters, the local constable is Jakob Fisher, a former member of the Amish colony whom the group now shuns.

Also, as you might guess, the story involves several love interests. Esther, Claire’s young Amish clerk, loves the prime suspect, a young hot-headed Amish man. And Claire runs into two interesting men. One of them is Amish. That makes any love relationship with the "English" Claire impossible. 

“English” is the term Amish people use for the non-Amish. This story tells a lot about Amish practices, at least for this particular group.

If the story seems contrived, that’s because it is.

But still, this is a gentle story, well told. There may be many things which strain belief, but the characters and narrative kept me reading.

The one inexplicable thing about the book is its title. Nowhere does a hearse make any major difference in the story.

If there is a second book in this series, I will read it.

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