As I mentioned in my blog several weeks ago, I’m including an Amish family in the book I’ve just started. They say write what you know, and although I don’t have any close friends who are Amish, I’ve lived not too far from Middlefield in Geauga county and Mesopotamia in the northern part of Trumbull County where I live so I’ve been very aware of the Amish community, and bought horse supplies from Eli Miller who lived in Mesopotamia.
The Amish have been moving to my township and also to the one I used to belong to because the price of land is cheaper here. The blacksmith I get to trim the hooves of my ponies and my son’s donkeys lives about a mile away so I go to his house to pick him up, and sometimes I go into his home to wait for him to get in from mowing his back lot. When I told his wife that I wrote mysteries, she was excited about that because she loves to read, so I gave her my first book. I also have hired an Amish crew to put a new roof on my sunroom when it started to leak.
But most of my knowledge comes from the Amish mysteries I’ve read by authors who are familiar with the Amish culture. The first Amish mysteries I started to read were by Karen Harper, a woman who lived in Columbus at the time not too far from Holmes County which has a large population of Amish. I met her at The Buckeye Book Sale held annually in Wooster, Ohio where Ohio authors attend. I got hooked on her books and have five of them so far. She writes other books, too. From reading them, I realize she did her research well to learn about the Amish and their ways.
Then I went to a Hudson Library’s author signing because the librarian, Amanda Flower, a member of my NEOSinc chapter wanted a lot of people to attend The author was Linda Castillo, who also was from Columbus originally, and writes great books with the main character Kate Burkholder, the police chief of Painters Mill in Holmes County. A fictional town, but so much like those I’ve visited with my sisters and friends over the years. Kate Burkholder grew up Amish and during Rumspringa left the Amish religion. Castillo’s books aren’t cozies by any means, but they keep me awake nights because I don’t want to stop reading. So far, I have nine of her books and I’m in the process of rereading them because they’re so good, and although I remember earlier parts of the book, I’m never sure who the murderer is except in the current book I’m reading, but I still want to finish it.
The other mystery series about the Amish that I’m reading is Amanda Flower’s Appleseed Creek Mysteries. Amanda worked for a college in Holmes County after she graduated from college, and she writes an Amish series that is true to the Amish. I only have two in the series, but I plan on getting more because I like them, and feel she understands the Amish.
I just started a new Amish book I’m not sure where I picked it up. I think maybe at a book sale in California when I was there. It’s The Buggy Before the Horse by Tricia Goyer. I’m not very far into it, but I don’t get the feeling she knows much about the Ami
Some time back I bought a book at Malice by a Guppy author, who lived in California and wrote an Amish book that won an Agatha. I won’t mention the name because I was very disappointed with it. In the first place although it took place in Holmes County where the Amish are plentiful, the main character was helping her grandparents run their business, and hired a young Amish girl on Rumspringa, who loved watching TV, and a teenage boy who wasn’t Amish. And when an elderly man with a white beard brought his buggy into town and asked for his daughter, the teenage boy ran into the store saying loudly “There’s an old man with a beard who wants to talk to (whatever the girl’s name was) which was so stupid because everyone in Holmes County and many of the counties in Ohio knows who the Amish are and especially since this man came in a horse and buggy. Needless to say, I never bought another one of hers.
Even though I don’t have any Amish friends, I do feel I know enough about them from being in contact with them for many years in stores, shops and towns where they live, and from good Amish books I’ve read to make my Amish family seem real.
Note: The Amish don't want their pictures taken so I downloaded these from the images when I Googled Amish in Ohio The family walking down the road reminded me of a family in
Mesopotamia I saw coming home from church one Sunday afternoon.
Have you read any Amish mysteries?
Have you been around any Amish people?
Have you ever read a book about anything that you felt the author was clueless about?