Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Harmless as Doves by P.L. Gaus - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

As he goes about his morning chores on a cold October morning, Bishop Leon Shetler dreams of escaping a bleak Ohio winter and taking a bus to the Pinecraft Amish community in Sarasota, Florida, for a vacation in the sun. But his reveries are interrupted when young Crist Burkholder enters the barn with his head down and his hat in hand, to make a confession. "I just killed Glenn Spiegle."

"An Amish murderer?" Sheriff Robertson asks, after Burkholder has been taken into custody. "Who will believe that?" But Burkholder is adamant, and fueled by the passion of his love for Vesta Miller, the young woman both he and Spiegle so desperately wanted to marry, he confesses time and again to the murder.

No sooner has the sheriff started his investigation than he learns of two more murders in Sarasota/Bradenton, and a startling connection is made in the case. There is no way around it - Professor Michael Branden will have to pull himself out of the library at Duke Univeristy, where he has been on sabbatical, and along with Ricky Niell, travel south to investigate. There on the waters of Sarasota Bay they discover the disturbing truth about Glenn Spiegle's conversion to the Amish faith and the reason for the long-smoldering hatred that has reached into the secluded pastoral valleys of Holmes County.

In Harmless as Doves, P. L. Gaus takes the action to Florida in one of the most exciting mysteries in this series. This is Gaus at his best.

My Thoughts:
My local librarian introduced me to Gaus' work several years ago, and I was very excited to see a new title out with his name on the cover! I was even more excited to see that the back cover boasted stellar reviews by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal! Gaus' creates a genuine look into the Amish society, and he presents an honest and heartfelt look into the human condition. Gaus' work weaves a mystery into every fiber of the Amish community and then builds the suspense until the reader is completely satisfied by the time the last page is read.

I love the way Gaus includes an "Englisher" in the plot without presenting the ever-present struggle to decide whether or not to become Amish or remain Amish. The roles remain separate in many ways, but blend in the most crucial elements of the story line. My favorite passage is found on pages 172-173 when two of the main characters discuss the scripture passage from which the title is derived. Oh that we would all grasp the truth of that message!

If you like a good cozy mystery that takes place within the Amish community, please, check out P.L. Gaus' Amish County Mystery series! You will love every single one! I know I do! Go to his website and learn more about this incredible author and his books!

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