Lemon Drop Dead (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Kensington (April 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B08F2YHTTB
Murder always leaves a sour taste . . .
Although baby showers aren’t an Amish tradition, Bailey King wants to celebrate Emily Keim’s forthcoming bundle of joy. It’s the least she can do for her hardworking assistant at Swissmen Sweets, especially with Emily being estranged from her siblings. Everyone in Harvest, Ohio has gathered at the town gazebo—decked out in lemon-themed décor to add some of Emily’s favorite flavor to the festivities—including Juliet Brook, Jethro the Pig, and in a last-minute invite, Emily’s sister Esther Esh.
But Esther isn’t the only surprise guest. A mysterious Amish woman confronts Emily claiming to know about her secret shame—the child she had as a teenager who was given up for adoption. The stranger vanishes before Bailey could find out who she was and if she knew what happened to Emily’s first baby. Later that evening, the woman reappears—dead in Esh Family Pretzels, with a threatening letter written by Esther found on her body.
Emily knows her sister is not a murderer and convinces Bailey to help clear Esther’s name and put the squeeze on the real killer . . .
Margot Rawlings organizes most of the events that take place in Harvest, Ohio. Now she and the pastor’s new wife team up to throw Emily Keim a baby shower in an effort to bring the Amish and Englisher communities closer. They try to recruit Bailey King to plan the event but her cousin Charlotte steps up to take over the planning and does an excellent job. Emily agrees to the non-traditional Amish party but she has one request. She asks Bailey to personally invite her estranged sister Esther. While Esther doesn’t attend the party another Amish woman does. She is unknown to everyone but she does try to have a moment with Emily and makes a comment about a secret from Emily’s past.
Later Esther Esh shows up and begs Bailey for help. Esther takes Bailey back to the Esh family pretzel shop where she sees Esther’s problem. The mysterious woman from the shower is dead on the floor of the shop and she has a threatening letter from Esther. Bailey has to force Esther to call Aiden knowing he is going to see her a the main suspect. Emily begs Bailey to prove her sister’s innocence even though Aiden wishes she would just let him do his job.
There is so much to love about this story.
First, Emily’s baby is due soon but first, we learn about something from her past only a few people know, and that was only slightly mentioned in a previous story. Next, Charlotte really shines again in this story as her confidence grows and she makes a huge decision. Also, Aiden and Bailey’s life together may hit a roadblock when he receives an offer he may not be able to refuse.
The author has created several strong characters that continue to evolve more in each story but this book really focuses on Emily and we meet a new young character that not only shakes up Emily’s life but the lives of many people in Harvest. I love the people of Harvest and the way most of them rally to help when someone is in need. I hesitate to say too much because this is a powerful emotional story if readers are allowed to read the story without any pretense. The murder sets off a string of events and Bailey tries so hard to not only find the killer but take care of her friend and help her through what it means for her future. Surprisingly there were several suspects and twists before the story wraps up in a truly unexpected way.
I do enjoy the way the animals were involved in this book. Jethro the pig always seems to play a big part but it was nice to see Puff the rabbit and Nutmeg the kitten be featured as well.
Lemon Drop Dead was expertly crafted and written. Some loose ends are tied up and it sets up some changes coming in the future. One excites me and one concerns me but I trust this author. She has kept me successfully entertained for six full-length mysteries and three novellas so I expect she has a great plan for moving the wonderful characters in this series forward.
Everything I have read by this author is exceptional. She is a fantastic storyteller. I become invested in all her character lives and look forward to each and every story. I can’t wait to see where she takes the residents of Harvest next.
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About This Author
Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”