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Marlys D. (Grand Rapids, MI)
A Simple Murder
I liked this book well enough, but did not think it was exceptional. I questioned whether the action & dialogue were appropriate to the time period. Also, the ending felt a bit too much like Nero Wolfe transported back in time. That said, it was an easy, enjoyable read.
Carol P. (Mendham, NJ)
I was interested to read a Simple Murder due to the time period it took place -1796. I did find the mystery of the murder, the main character's sleuthing skills and the characters in the story interesting however I did not feel immersed in the time period. I was also disappointed in the ending which was very abrupt. I did not experience the resolution I expected to tie up all the characters in the story. I would recommend this book to young adults. The author did write a clever mystery. I would have loved to have the author bring more of this extraordinary time period after the Revolution into the story.
Marie D. (Waretown, NJ)
Good, but left me wanting to know more
I was intrigued with the opportunity to learn more about the Shakers and more about life in 1796 America. While "A Simple Murder" did provide me a some insight into both, I found the pace a bit too slow moving. All the ingredients are there for a good read, but the character of Will Rees was off-putting. Lydia, on the other hand, was fascinating, a strong woman torn between two worlds and showing the capability of creating a life for herself in either. There are other characters in the book who are better delineated and more interesting than Mr. Rees.
Judith P. (rosebud, missouri)
Mystery in a different time.
I loved this book as the mystery which drives the story is good but it is the Shaker backdrop and the time 1796 which make the character all the more interesting. One has to step out of our time and back into history ofpost revolution Maine. These characters could easily carry a series of books.
Suzanne R. (Nashville, TN)
Murder among the Shakers
A Simple Murder is set in year 1796 in a Shaker settlement in Maine. The story begins with William Rees, an itinerant weaver who is frantically trying to find his teenage son who has run away to live among the Shakers. He has barely arrived when he finds himself first accused of murder and then working for the Shakers to solve the murder of one of their own. Ably assisted by Lydia Jane Ferrell and his son David, Rees uncovers many secrets and several more murders before resolving the case in true detective fashion. It is an engaging read.
Chris W. (Temple City, CA)
Shaker murder mystery
An easy to read murder mystery set in a community of Shakers in the late 1700s. A traveling weaver arrives at this community looking for his son and is later asked to help solve a murder. I learned a lot about the Shaker lifestyle and was actually surprised by some of that information. The characters were interesting and well developed. The author did a good job of making the story believable and connecting the various story lines. I think this would be a good book for a book club partially because of the different lifestyles and historical information. This is a fun and fast read. I look forward to the next installment.
Mary S. (Bow, NH)
A Shaker murder mystery
As someone who has lived near a Shaker community for many years of my life, I was very interested to read A Simple Murder. I found the book to be historically accurate as well giving a good portrayal of Shaker life. Overall I thought the book was well written, moved at a good pace, and had enough twists so that I stayed interested and couldn't solve the mystery right away.
Jennifer F. (Saratoga, CA)
Intriguing mystery with unsatisfying ending
The only part that I found tedious was the constant "washing up," and description of same, of the main character. While I appreciate good hygiene, I don't need to read about it 3 and 4 times in a chapter.
A Simple Murder was a unique book in that it was set within a Shaker community in the early 1800s. The characters were believable and interesting and the plot was compelling, but I felt the author lost ground with an ending that didn't live up to the rest of the book.