Book Review: Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewana Amish Mystery

Author: Vanetta Chapman

Publisher: Zondervan, October 1, 2011

Genre: Amish, Mystery

My Rating: B+

I like to read an occasional Amish novel, although lately I’m on an Amish roll. They are usually a good clean, non-complicated story with a background of faith.

Falling to Pieces is all of that and then some. There are some differences in this novel that I really like. For one thing, this story is shared by an Amish woman and an “Englischer”. It’s aim is not to show one culture as being better or worse than the other.

It’s set in a place I’ve visited several times, Shipshewana in northern Indiana. The story begins when Callie, a widow, comes to town from Houston. She has just inherited a quilt shop. She has a business background but knows nothing about quilting.

Deborah is a wife, and mother of five children. She and her family are Amish, living a couple of miles outside of town. Deborah and two of her friends are expert quilters. All three women depend on money from the sale of their quilts to help with important expenses. In the past the quilts were sold at the quilt shop but the shop has been closed since the death of the owner.

When Deborah learns the new owner is in town she packs up four of their best quilts in her buggy and heads into town. Deborah persuades Callie to open the quilt shop by convincing her that a thriving shop will sell better than an abandoned business. In addition, Deborah wants Callie to sell their quilts on “ippy”. What she means is eBay. It’s a risk, but Callie is willing to give it a try.

Gradually, Deborah and Callie form a good partnership/friendship. And then the editor of the local newspaper is murdered. He had written a scathing editorial charging Callie with selling out the Amish quilters on the internet. Callie, with Deborah’s help, discovers proof that will exonerate her. When she gets to the newspaper office she discovers the editor is dead. The chief suspect is Callie.

There’s a lot of depth to this story. I liked the combination of a murder mystery within an Amish novel. There are a host of well-developed characters, plus a very sweet dog. Although this book came from a Christian publisher, there is no preaching in the book. It’s a very subtle message.

I did have one minor complaint with the story. I thought it took too long to establish the story at the beginning. I was a third of the way through the book before the murder victim and the police detective were introduced. That may be me and my impatience. Once it got going, the story really took off.

This is book number one in Vannetta Chapman’s Shipshewana Amish Mystery series. Her second book, A Perfect Square, will be out next March. It’s another mystery featuring Callie and Deborah. I’m looking forward to it. For more about Vannetta Chapman visit her website here: Vannetta Chapman

Check your local library or your local bookstore for copies of this book. Falling to Piecesis also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

This entry was posted in B Plus Book, Mysteries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Book Review: Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewana Amish Mystery

  1. Cath says:

    I love the sound of this! I’ve added it to my list for my American states challenge for ‘Indiana’ as I don’t think I have anything for that state. Plus the premise sounds wonderful.

  2. I reviewed a Zondervan book today too. Definitely books you can pass on to younger readers!

  3. Staci says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed this one. I have it on my Kindle. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to read it is because I’m familiar with Shipshewana!!

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Margot. Shipshewana is a fun place to set a murder mystery. I was back in town this last week, and they didn’t mind one bit that I’m killing off residents. : ) book 2 is out in March and book 3 (Material Witness) in September. Thanks again! ~V

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    Hmm. I’m looking for a book set in Indiana so I’ll make a note of this one.

  6. kaye says:

    Ay yi yi yet another author to add to my list. Glad to read your take on this one. Since I just recently got on this Amish kick, thanks to Staci, yes, you Toots, I’m looking for more authors.

  7. TheBookGirl says:

    I like “soft” mysteries, rather than the hard-boiled variety, but I don’t want them to be so light that there is little substance to the story or characters. Sounds like this one doesn’t suffer from that problem, and I have never read an Amish mystery, so I’m off to see if I can find this one at our library.
    Thanks for spotlighting this one, as I probably never would have known about the series.

  8. kaye says:

    I remembered this review and just bought (and already read) this book. You’re right, it is a wonderful story and I loved the mystery aspect of it. Also just finished The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher and liked that one. Thanks for the reco!!

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