Welcome to our Saturday Spotlight, here on Alternative-Read.com – Today we are really pleased to welcome USA bestselling author, Amanda Flower!
Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flower, is the first in a new series for the New Year. This spin-off from the wildly popular “Amish candy-Shop Mysteries” has some of the beloved characters including Deputy Sheriff Aiden Brody, and introduces some interesting others, some eccentric and some very appealing.
The plot has matchmaker Millie Fisher just returning to Harvest, Ohio after spending 10 years taking care of her ailing sister. Millie is a widow who lives on her own with an assortment of animals, including two goats with big personalities. She is one of those who believes that a marriage should be for love, not financial gain or security. Having an uncanny ability to tell when two people are right for each other, she is deeply concerned that her beloved niece Edith Hochstetler, a widow, is about to marry Zeke Miller, who’s emphatically not right for her. Yet, the pleasure she received from hearing that Edith called off her wedding to Zeke Miller was short lived after Edith found Zeke’s dead body in the greenhouse she manages. Millie is afraid her niece will be blamed for the murder. Enlisting the help of her childhood, non-Amish friend, Lois Henry, to find the real killer, they become amateur sleuths to solve Zeke’s murder and clear Edith’s name.
Millie’s friendship with Lois makes this book even better than it would be without their teamwork. Lois is loyal and soft-hearted, underneath a brash, bold exterior. Millie knows Lois well since they grew up on neighboring farms. Lois will remind fans of Cass from the other series. Both Lois and Cass are fun-loving Englishers who appear outrageous in their actions and dress, and are an odd couple compared to the Amish.
The other interesting character types are Millie’s two goats, Phillip and Peter. They should remind readers of Jethro the pig from the other series. It seems unconventional pets fit into the stories perfectly. These two are mischievous Boer goats, who do a bang-up job of keeping the property weed-free and chasing unwanted Amish around like the Bishop’s wife, Ruth.
As the plot thickens, the mystery gets more suspenseful with many twists and turns. The reader is also entertained by Lois and the two goat’s antics.
Now, people can look forward to not one series, but two that involve the Amish community.
Elise Cooper: Why a new series?
Amanda Flower: I wanted to write a book from an Amish character’s perspective. This is something I have not done in the past. I also wanted the main character to be older, a 67-year-old woman who has more experience and insight. BTW: The other series is doing well, and I have no intention of ending it. This is not replacing the “Amish candy-Shop Mysteries.”
EC: Will there be a cross-over of characters?
AF: Someone who reads both series will recognize the timeline and some of the characters. They will not help each other solve the crimes but will be mentioned in a fun way. The only one who will play a large role in both books is Aiden Brody, the police officer of the town. He might get a bit tired, because he is solving so many murders. (LOL)
EC: Is it challenging to weave in a murder into this matchmaking series?
AF: Yes. I will have to associate any killing with a couple. Either it will be centered around a break-up or a strong relationship. A common misconception is that the Amish have planned marriages. They actually want their children to marry for love.
EC: There are unconventional animals?
AF: The first series has a pet pig and this series has pet goats. Because the setting takes place in rural Ohio, I was able to write in these types of animals. My fiancé owns a farm so we will have goats. I think I am living vicariously through Millie until I get my own goats. I have done a lot of research on goats for my personal life. They can help clear the land by eating the weeds and grass.
EC: Do the Amish consider their animals as pets?
AF: You are referring to this book quote, “I had to defend my boys. For that was how I thought of Peter and Phillip. I knew it went against my upbringing to regard animals as pets, but my boys were gut company for me, despite their tendency to get into trouble. I’m quite fond of those goats.” In general, the Amish do not consider the animals as pets. By and large the animals are for work. A dog is for hunting or herding, cats are to capture mice, and goats are to help clear the land. I think because she is widowed and lives alone the goats are Millie’s companions, who she cuddles.
EC: How would you describe Millie?
AF: Thoughtful, a rule follower to a degree. Since she came back to Ohio, she is more open and accepting of people. She accepts that her best friend Lois is not at all like her, but the direct opposite.
EC: The Bishop’s wife, Ruth, plays a larger role in this book?
AF: She will be in this series more. She is a strict rule follower and can be grumpy. But she also has a tender side. I think she behaves differently, depending on who she is with. She can be compassionate and has a dry sense of humor that readers in the other series have not seen. I think she likes to be in charge.
EC: How would you describe the person of interest, Millie’s niece, Edith?
AF: She is a single mother raising three children who is running her own business, a greenhouse. In the beginning, she appears to be timid and tentative because the Amish community thinks she needs to marry to give her children a father. But by the end of the story she becomes strong. I also think she is sensitive, sweet, kind, and spirited.
EC: In the books there is a bit of Amish culture. This one has the rule that if there are any sons, they inherit the property instead of the daughters?
AF: The oldest male inherits the property. The other children have to find a livelihood so they tend to go to places like Wyoming or Montana to get land. The whole point of the Amish faith is to have the community geographically close to each other. Yet, this system has caused them to move away from each other.
EC: Why blueberry?
AF: It is Millie’s favorite flavor. My favorite is strawberry.
EC: Your next book(s)?
AF: The next “Matchmaker book,” Courting Can Be A Killer, has a fire at a local flea market. A young man dies, and the main suspect is the father who did not want his daughter to marry him.
The “Candy-shop series” will have a few novellas, one of which is titled Botched Butterscotch. The main character, Bailey King have her parents visiting Harvest, Ohio. Bailey’s father has rarely returned since leaving the Amish faith over thirty years ago, so to ease tensions Bailey is making a Mother’s Day Tea at the local church. All’s going well, until a sticky-fingered thief makes off with the money raised for a local women’s support group.
The book in the “Candy-shop series,” Marshmallow Malice, has Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot. One guest calls the Reverend a traitor, and then is found dead on the Church’s steps.
Matchmaking can be murder . . .
When widowed Millie Fisher moves back to her childhood home of Harvest, Ohio, she notices one thing right away—the young Amish are bungling their courtships and marrying the wrong people! A quiltmaker by trade, Millie has nevertheless stitched together a few lives in her time, with truly romantic results. Her first mission? Her own niece, widowed gardener Edith Hochstetler, recently engaged to rude, greedy Zeke Miller. Anyone can see he’s not right for such a gentle young woman—except Edith herself.
Pleased when she convinces the bride-to-be to leave her betrothed before the wedding, Millie is later panicked to find Zeke in Edith’s greenhouse—as dead as a tulip in the middle of winter. To keep her niece out of prison—and to protect her own reputation—Millie will have to piece together a patchwork of clues to find a killer, before she becomes the next name on his list . . .
Praise for Amanda Flower and her Amish cozies
“As it turns out, Amanda Flower may have just written the first Amish rom com.”
“Flower has hit it out of the ballpark . . . and continues to amaze with her knowledge of the Amish way of life.”
—RT Book Reviews
“At turns playful and engaging . . . a satisfyingly complex cozy.”
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