April 11, 2012
A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman
Ok, first off I have to say that this is not the first book in this series. I wasn't aware of that, and there isn't any indication on the cover or back cover description that would alert to that. It's not that you can't read this book without reading the others per say, but it would help the reader to understand a lot of what happened that is alluded to in this book.
Callie has settled in in Shipshe, selling quilts in the shop she inherited and solving crimes. This time, it's a local Amish man who has been convicted of murdering a young girl. He won't say a word in his defense, and Callie, her friends Deborah and some other Amish women know that he isn't capable of murder. But since he won't help them figure out what really happens they have to attempt to discover it on their own. Add to that an older Amish man who suffers from dementia and is claiming that Callie can help him find his missing daughter, and Callie's got a lot on her plate. She's also confused by three men who seem to pop in and out of her life, and her feelings towards each of them.
I like Callie. She's a pretty rounded character, doesn't know everything, and can take instruction with Grace. Sure she gets herself into trouble sometimes, but its a murder mystery, the main characters do usually get themselves into trouble investigating. Her Amish friends are nice too although they seem very outspoken and from the limited contact I've had with Amish women, it just doesn't seem natural to me. But I could be very wrong about that. The policeman, Shane, was a little harsh, and I didn't understand his character at all, but I suppose that could be because I hadn't read the other book(s) in the series and may have missed some background there.
I thought the premise behind this book was very confusing. I couldn't understand why the Amish man Rueben wouldn't help himself. The characters seemed to understand why he did what he did, but it wasn't clear to me at all. And the plot started off almost too slow, and then rushed by haphazardly at the end. I suspect that that contributed to my confusion as well. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't well paced by any means. I did like the way the scenes unfolded and the setup for the investigation. That part of the book seemed very plausible. And since this is an Amish romance it can be considered Christian fiction, but it wasn't too preachy. There were some mentions here and there of following the will of a higher being, but it didn't go on and on about it.
An ok Amish fiction mystery. I wish I would have read the first book first, but I'm sure I'll get around to it at some point.