Review

PUBLICATION DATE: MARCH 31, 2012

A

Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman is the second book in the Shipshewana Amish Mystery series.

In the small Amish community of Shipshewana, Indiana, life moves at a peaceful pace. So when a young girl is found dead in a local pond and a local Amish man is accused of the crime, it creates quite a stir, to say the least.

Deborah Yoder is convinced there is no way her friend Reuben could have committed this heinous crime. She and her English friend Callie Harper, owner of a local quilt shop, set out to prove his innocence. But there is more to this transgression than what they think.

An elderly man who has been searching for his missing daughter for years also asks Callie for help. As Callie and Deborah piece together the events that have shaken this quiet town, they discover more about themselves – and about God’s grace – than they ever expected.

After reading and enjoying the first book in this series, Falling to Pieces, I was looking forward to returning to Shipshewana for another Amish mystery. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. I actually think I liked this one and its conclusion better than the first one. The pieces of the puzzle were put together throughout the novel rather than dumped on the reader all at the end. This made the pacing of the story much better, in my opinion.

The author jumps right into the mystery in this story, which I really like. While it wouldn’t be absolutely necessary to read these books in order, I think you would be able to follow the characters better if you did. The characters are established in the first book and only revisited a little bit here and there in this one before it focuses completely on the story.

It feels wrong somehow to say a murder mystery is light, but that’s what this book is – a light murder mystery. I guess this is just in comparison to the gruesome stories that are out there that go into the actual aspects of the murder and the crazy serial killers. I loved that in this novel it was brought up by one of the characters that she couldn’t believe how often there were mysteries to solve in the last year in this small Amish town. I liked the nod to the fact that this would probably never happen – two murders in less than a year in Shipshewana, Indiana!

Another thing I really liked about this novel was how the reader was also able to follow along with the ‘other side of the mystery’ – the victim kind of had a voice. While we got to be with the characters who were currently trying to solve the mystery, we were also allowed to go back in time and get a glimpse of the events leading up to what happened to the victim. I thought that was a really neat aspect to this story.

The only issue I had with this novel was that it was sometimes hard to follow who was speaking. This might be because I had an unbound advanced copy for review, but in my copy, the speaker was not always clearly identified.

In A Perfect Square, I loved the setting, I liked the Amish-mystery aspect, and I absolutely adored the relationships among the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this second offering in the Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and I can’t wait for the next one.