PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 04, 2012
nce again the small town of Shipshe is turned upside down when Callie finds a woman dead in front of her quilt store. As the details come in, detective Shane Black realizes that the killer actually meant to go after Callie. Now, they must find out who this “creeper” guy is and get what he is asking for or someone in Callie’s circle of friends may be the next victim.
I have read the first two in the series and must honestly say, this one is by far the BEST one! From the very beginning, I was drawn in. Not only was there a “who dunnit” type mystery, but there were also kids involved, a beloved dog, and romance. With that combination, what’s not to love about the book?
I loved that Vannetta also included emotions from all the characters into the story. From the beginning, Deborah was worried about allowing her children to go out by themselves at the Festival. That allowed me to connect with her as I would have felt the same way. It seems as though no matter how old your children get, it’s never easy to let them “grow up.” I also enjoyed having the kids sneakiness mixed throughout the book. What a bunch of brave, determined children. Most times children are just glossed over and only referred to as “present” in a certain scene. However, Vannetta does a beautiful job of not just including them in the story, but also allowing their “issues” to be integral to the story.
One of my other favorite aspects of this series is the relationship between the Englisch and the Amish communities. The two communities of Shipshe always seem to pull together, without issue, in a time of crisis. What I like is that when they do pull together, they still remain true to their beliefs, and respect the others beliefs. When Shane was questioning some in the Amish community, he gathered more from their facial reactions and body language than he did their actual word answers. He knew the Amish wouldn’t turn against their own or allow any police authority. However, he didn’t belittle or disrespect them; he just went with his gut instinct and found another way to go about getting his answers.
As with any mystery, the best part should be the mystery and suspense part of the storyline. Vannetta sure didn’t disappoint in this one. Like I said earlier, I was drawn in right from the beginning with the murder of the woman on the sidewalk. But, that wasn’t all there was to this story. Along with the murder, there was the mystery of the quilt and if they did in fact have a hidden message or not. I really liked the fact that once the “creeper’s” identity was revealed, there was still mystery as to if they would discover the hidden money in time, or if there even was any hidden money. To continue the intrigue in the story, then they still had to figure out the message in the quilts and if it was relevant to the “creeper.”
I like that when I pick up one of Vannetta’s mysteries, I get a good, clean mystery. I don’t need all the gruesomeness of some mysteries out there. Just give me the knowledge someone was murdered, mix that with a good story line to keep up the suspense, and then throw in a little reality and romance. That’s what I have come to love with this series because that’s exactly what this series delivers. Thank you Vannetta!
aterial Witnessby Vannetta Chapman is the third in the Amish Mystery series taking place in Shipshewana, Indiana.
Tragedy strikes once again in the small Amish community of Shipshewana, Indiana, and this time it occurs during the annual Fall Crafters Fair. Callie, who is English, and her Amish friends (Deborah, Esther, and Melinda) find themselves in the middle of another mystery when local detective Shane Black thinks that Callie might have actually been the intended target of the murder that has occurred. To make matters even worse, Melinda’s son Aaron is the material witness in the case.
When the killer contacts Callie and demands money from a source that she knows nothing about, the case starts spinning out of control. During the largest event their town sees all year, Callie and her friends must race against the clock to save themselves and their families from a madman.
I enjoyed the first two books in this Shipshewana Amish series – Falling to Pieces and A Perfect Square – so I was looking forward to returning to the characters and the setting of Material Witness.
And it did not disappoint.
While I still think my favorite over all was A Perfect Square, since we got to see both sides of the story, this one was still really good. The characters were interesting, the writing was excellent, and the mystery was intricate enough to keep my attention through the whole novel. I especially enjoyed the action sequences at the end of this book when everything is coming to a head. It was exciting, and I didn’t want to put the book down!
This book was especially fun for me because of the involvement of the children. I enjoyed seeing things from Aaron’s point of view and his interaction with the other kids. I liked that plot point in this novel, but, as a mom, it also made me so nervous thinking about those kids going out and trying to catch the killer! Another fun thing about this book was how Shane came up with all of the different ways to keep the killer from finding out that they were protecting Callie. I will try not to ruin the surprise, but the costumes and the subtle messages were just great.
I usually enjoy series books, most often because once you get to the third book, you already know the characters really well, and you can just jump into the story. I felt that Material Witness was able to do that well. You could probably read this one if you haven’t read the others – there is some background information given – but there are a lot of characters to keep straight, so I would recommend reading the first two in the series first.
One of the things I have enjoyed in this series is the interaction between the Amish people and the English people. Callie’s best friends are three Amish women, but they don’t let that be a barrier. They love each other and have a great friendship while still respecting the others’ lifestyles. There is a great sense of community, even among those who are not Amish. The Amish women have a deep faith – so much so that I even wish that this faith had been a bit more evident in Callie and Shane. They seem to grow in their faith, especially at the end of this book, but for me it was still a bit vague.
I have said in my other reviews of this series that these books are light murder mysteries. It always seems funny to me to call a murder mystery “light,” but that is just what this is. But this is something that I really like. I like having a mystery to figure out, even a murder, which is exciting and interesting but not gruesome or over-the-top. The Shipshewana Amish mysteries fit this exactly, and that is why I have really enjoyed them.