Wisconsin has been in winter's deep freeze for the past few days, making it time to work on a quilt project. And to keep me company while I cut, pin, and sew, a cozy mystery. My choice was the third book in Isabella Alan's AMISH QUILT SHOP MYSTERY SERIES last summer and enjoyed main character Angela Braddock, her quick wit, and especially her pet Frenchie Bulldog and kitten, that I decided to finish the series. MURDER, SIMPLY STITCHED actually precedes MURDER, SIMPLY SERVED, the book I listened to last summer. As with many series, there are those continuing details (such as Angela's budding romance with the sheriff) that make more sense if you read (listen) in order, but I still enjoyed the audio of this book. Angela has inherited her aunt's quilt shop in Holmes County, Ohio, an aunt who had married an Amish and become Amish years before. Now, having a non-Amish own a "genuine Amish" quilt shop is a problem for some in the tiny community where buggies outnumber the cars except when tourists arrive. Fearing that business in the upcoming winter may be slim, Angela has decided to sell some of her aunt's quilts at the Rolling Brook Auction. What promises to be a successful business decision is quickly overshadowed when Angela finds one of Rolling Brook's town council members dead near the jelly house at the auction grounds. When Angela's Amish friend and her husband appear to the only suspects, Angela can't focus on the quilt shop until she finds the real killer. Of course, her snooping puts her at odds with the cute sheriff.
Like all cozy mystery series, you need to put all sense of reality aside to enjoy Alan's work. But when you do, she has all the details necessary for a successful series. First is Angela's quick wit, shown mostly in comments to herself. Then there is her Frenchie bulldog who accompanies her almost everywhere. He provides humor, makes friends with the unfriendly, and you can always count on him for a good chase scene. Plus he is the guardian extraordinaire for Angela's little mischievous kitten. If you like cozy mysteries, give Isabella Alan a chance. There are five books in the series.