Sunday, March 8, 2015


Laura Bradford’s Suspendered Sentence is a gently-told, intriguing story.

When the Stoltzfus barn burns, the Amish community gathers to rebuild it. During the rebuilding, two children helping to shovel find the bones of a missing Amish teenager.

She disappeared years ago.

Now-shunned detective Jakob Fisher investigates. The Amish community shunned Fisher because he was baptized and then left the community to become a policeman in the “English” world.

Suspendered Sentence centers on Claire Weatherly, an English shopkeeper who ends up as Fisher’s girlfriend.

Claire sells Amish-made crafts in her small shop. She has come to Heavenly, Pennsylvania, to escape a bad marriage and ugly divorce. She builds a strong friendship with the struggling Amish teenager who works in her store.

Claire and Jakob uncover the backstory for the buried teenager. Then they solve the murder in the story, a different murder than they thought at first.

But all this makes the story seem too dry. Suspendered Sentence is intriguingly plotted. Bradford fills the book with life, gentle love, and real evil.

If you can get past the silly title (which to me seemed irrelevant), I think you will like Suspendered Sentence.

(P.S., During my afternoon treadmill walk, it occurred to me. The title Suspendered Sentence refers to Jakob's being shunned and maybe to the actions of another person in the story.  Still, I think the title trivializes what is a much better book than the title makes it seem to be. Suspendered Sentence is better than your routine cozy.

No comments: