"Material Witness" is the third novel of the Shipshewana Amish Mystery series. It carries on with the characters we have all grown to love; Callie, Deborah, Esther, Melinda, Shane and Gavin, and continues to wind their lives together in a beautiful story of life and love.
For me, this novel is about puzzles. Big ones, like why do children fall ill with serious illnesses, why does evil exist in the world. Middle-sized puzzles, like how can Englischers and Plain people become real friends, the kind that are almost family....how does a new marriage become so quickly "normal" that it settles long-lived-with fears with just a glance or a touch at the right time. And the small puzzle in this book that's also the biggest puzzle of all begins with a last will and testament and a set of unusual quilts.
I will never hesitate to recomment a book by Vanetta Chapman, whether I have read it or not. I have found her stories to be compelling, riveting, and personal. These characters have been brought to life with her words, and I grow to care for each of them as if they have become a part of my family too. How does she do that? There we go again, another puzzle!
Callie Harper and her Amish friends encounter another murder mystery in Shipshewana, Illinois. Only this time Melinda's wheel-chair-bound son, Aaron, witnessed the crime. How can they keep him and Callie safe while helping to catch the culprit. Set against the lively backdrop of the Fall Crafters Fair, the tension ramps up as the crazed killer makes demands they struggle to meet. The author pieces together a patchwork of a story filled with suspense, adventure, drama, memories, romance, troubles, hopes, and fears, which eventually fall into place like the hidden message of the antique quilts Callie inherited.
Material Witness is the third book in Vannetta Chapman's endearing series of cozy mysteries, the second of which won a Carol Award for best mystery of the year. I asked her if there would be another, and she said yes, next March. I'm glad because I want to join these quilting friends on another case. I recommend reading them in order, but each could stand alone. I think they're the best Amish mysteries I've read.
From the first page, this book had me smiling. ïŠAnother murder has taken place in Shipshewana during The Fall Festival and this time the murderer knows all about Callie and their little town. The murderer claims that Callie has access to a load of money that she knows nothing about and this person is threatening her loved ones. It's up to Callie, Deborah, Melinda, Esther, their families, and the police department to find out how to stop this murderer without anyone else getting hurt.
It's difficult to have sympathy for a man who murders an old woman then attempts to hurt a dog, children, and a police officer. This person is either desperate or extremely dangerous or both!
The reader does not get to witness Callie dumping iced tea on anyone in this book (read the book Falling to Pieces for that wonderful scene), but in Material Witness we get to read about her falling in love which is also unchartered territory for Callie. However, her feisty behavior is enjoyed throughout the book.
Even though there is sweet romance in this story, the most enjoyable part was watching the Amish community, Callie's friends and their families, band together in unexpected ways to find this killer while keeping Callie and Max safe. This community watches out for their own and even though they are a peaceful bunch, they still take risks in doing the right thing. I was eager to see who Callie falls in love with. Even though it wasn't the man I had initially hoped it would be, I was very pleased with Callie's choice and Chapman does an excellent job making this man a perfect match for Callie. One of the characters in the story watched a John Wayne movie so there are several references to that.
This book isn't a typical page-turner, but it's a wonderful conclusion to the series and it's a treat to see how everything gets resolved. I highly recommend it. This book can be considered a stand alone, but my suggestion is to read the other two books before it so the reader will fully understand each relationship and why Callie feels hesitancy about certain things. Chapman does an amazing job describing the friendship Callie experiences with Deborah, Melinda, and Esther but that friendship slowly blossoms from the first book.
Having never visited Shipshewana, IN, I have fallen in love with the wonderful group of people portrayed in Vannetta Chapmans, "Material Witness" book. When reading this book, one is taken to the place and really becomes one of the townspeople who could very well live there.
The circle of friends found, in Callie, Deborah, Esther, & Melinda and their families along with Gavin, Shane Black, and the officials of the town, makes one realize the importance of friends, family, & a loving community. Add to this cirlce of ladies an heirloom quilt given to each that adds a bit of a puzzle to the mystery in town, makes one take to the action really quick. The faith and trust from the youngest (and a Swap) to the oldest is seen when reading this style of Amish Fiction Full of Grace writing by Vannetta.
The reader is drawn into all the action from the beginning to the end when the romance becomes fully known in this mystery story.
I have now read all of Vannetta Chapman's books with the exception of her newest, A Home for Lydia, which will be started as soon as this review is finished.
These books are well-written with all the inspiration of the Amish with a bit of the unknown mystery thrown in that makes it feel really true to life. After learning about the Amish, you do learn that they do have problems just as their Englisch friends do, but it is the forgiving nature and love of the Amish that inspires one to wish that all people could be as forgiving.
I loved this book, and can't wait to start the newest read! I loved reading the Amish Proverbs throughout the book. Love, love, loved it! And, all of this from a person who doesn't (used to never) read mysteries. These books I love!