Nancy E. (Sturgeon Bay, wi)
A Simple Murder
Eleanor Kuhns has introduced a great hero in an unusual time and equally unusual community. As a retired librarian, I have read more than my share of mysteries and after a while all the plots tend in the same direction. Not A Simple Murder. Will Rees, an itinerant weaver searching for his son who has left the family farm, finds him in a Shaker community where a suspicious death has taken place. Will is asked to stay and find out what happened. Like petals on a spring flower, clues spring up and deepen the mystery. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to both book clubs and fellow mystery readers. I am looking forward to the next installment of this series.
Leslie D. (Le Roy, NY)
Simple language needed
An interesting premise and unusual setting are marred by cliched language and repetitive phrasing. Better editing could have made this a stronger entry in new mysteries, especially considering that the subject--the simple Shaker life--would work much better with straightforward telling. Readers who like Amish mysteries would be drawn to this for its similarities, so this is an author to watch.
Lisa E. (Cincinnati, OH)
A Good First Effort
This murder mystery takes place in a Shaker settlement during the late 18th century. The setting makes the story interesting and out-of-the-ordinary, and the solution is both surprising and believable. The writing is slightly awkward, but this is a first novel, and the author will undoubtedly improve as she brings her engaging detective, weaver Will Rees, back for more mystery-solving.
Mary G. (Purcellville, VA)
Hard to believe this is a debut novel. The storytelling is very assured with a terrific blend of historical fiction woven into the mystery. The characters are developed and interesting. The familial relationship between some key characters did become somewhat confusing, but the author recognized that fact and smartly summed up the family tree before the conclusion so that the reader had a realistic chance of "solving" the mystery.
I will look forward to other books featuring these characters.
Judith M. (San Diego, CA)
Simplistic Summer Read
Although the writing and story were somewhat simplistic, I still enjoyed reading this first novel. The characters are now introduced (the ending was a little trite) and are poised to begin what will likely be a series. I'm not sure of the historical integrity, perhaps the author should dig a little deeper into the historical aspect to give it more a feel of authenticity. Overall, it was a quick read and entertaining. I would definitely encourage the author to try a sequel.
Cheryl K. (East Aurora, NY)
I have so much admiration for a first-time novelist, particularly a mystery writer. Unfortunately, I found the story very difficult to follow. The characters could have been more fully-developed, and seemed to use the same phrases repeatedly. The ending was abrupt and almost contrived. I would not recommend this book to book club friends.
Valerie C. (Chico, CA)
A good historical fiction/mystery
The setting is the Northeastern US in the late 1700's, the plot involves a series of murders all somehow connected to a Shaker community, and a traveling weaver becomes involved in it all. An easy, pleasurable read with enough complexity and character development to hold interest. I have already passed my copy on to a friend to read - definitely recommended for those with an interest in historical fiction and/or mysteries.