Material Witness by Vannetta Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Zondervan
Series: Shipshewana Amish Mystery #3
Once 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!
Pros: Great suspenseful story line.
Cons: I would have liked a clearer finality to the quilt map.
I was graciously provided a free copy of this book from Zondervan in partnership with The Christian Manifesto to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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