I think Murder Freshly Baked is
the best book in both of the series. I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
I have taken a liking to Chapman’s style of writing since the first book of hers that I read. She seems to have a knack for getting the reader involved in the lives of her characters. Also, the way she describes the scenes and surrounding area is done well. All three of the covers in the Amish Village Mystery Series are appealing to me. They are very simple and depict each book’s title appropriately.
The two main characters in Murder Simply Baked have grown in their relationship with God and others as the series has progressed. There are a good amount of characters that keep the plot interesting. I think there is a good balance between scene descriptions and character dialogue. One character’s storyline in particular was what made this book even better for me. There is a lot of conflict and tension in this book as the characters set out to solve the third murder in Middlebury in a few short months. A lot of inner conflict occurs with someone dealing with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This book starts out at a good pace and stays steady throughout. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series you will not have any problem catching up with the characters and where they are in Murder Simply Baked. Since I have read all three books in this series I feel somewhat connected to the Middlebury area. Chapman did her research by speaking with Amish and English from Middlebury to get her facts right and it shows. Also, the way PTSD is depicted seems accurately written for this genre.
I like how Chapman started the book in the present and then went back in time before the murder occurred. I got to see the events that lead to the death and I still was not sure who committed the crime. It was an interesting way to tell the story. Since the series comes to an end with this book I was happy to see the characters get their Happily Ever After.
Chapman really shows the effects of PTSD on a person and how it can make everyday life difficult. The affected character used an interesting way to help deal with the disorder and I think readers will enjoy learning about it. Not everyone gives thought to those with PTSD unless a friend or family member suffers from it. It seems one reason Chapman wrote this book was to bring this debilitating disorder to light. Another reason would be to show the reader that if we listen for God we will hear Him and He can direct us.
Not a lot of Amish Romance/Fiction stories are also cozy mysteries. I have read only one other series of Amish cozy mysteries; the Appleseed Creek Mystery Series, written by Amanda Flower. Her books are also good reads. Being a cozy mystery is one way Murder Simply Baked is unique to its genre. Also, Chapman has the Amish and English interacting without issues. Many stories in the Amish Fiction genre have it not being acceptable for the Amish to have English friends.
I would recommend Murder Simply Baked to fans of cozy mysteries. Those who like Amish Fiction/Romance probably would also like it. There is a murder and many death threats but they are done in a way that is not gruesome. There are no graphic descriptions since this is a cozy mystery. Also, there is no strong language. The characters have a sweet and endearing romance. I think it would be appealing to those who like Inspirational Fiction because the characters show how they have grown in their faith. I never want a series that I have enjoyed to come to an end. Sadly, this one has done just that. Hopefully Chapman has another cozy mystery trilogy in the works.
Amish Village Mystery Series
Murder Simply Brewed-read excerpt here, read review here
Murder Tightly Knit-read excerpt here, read review here
Murder Freshly Baked-read review here
Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series
Falling to Pieces-read review here
A Perfect Square-read review here
Material Witness-review to be posted