Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Clouds without Rain by P.L. Gaus
P.L. Gaus' understanding of the Amish culture brings his mysteries to life. The third novel in his series, Clouds without Rain digs deep into a contemporary problem, the loss of farmland and the displacement of Amish families.
The story opens with Professor Michael Branden working undercover as an Amish man, trying to flush out the teens who were robbing the Amish as they drove their buggies. His unproductive day ends with a radio broadcast from Sheriff Bruce Robertson at the site of a violent accident involving a jackknifed truck, an Amish buggy, a couple cars, including a deputy's, and a fire. In trying to rescue the deputy, Robertson is critically injured by the fire, leaving Branden, newly deputized, to work with the rest of the department in the investigation. It isn't long before Branden learns the dead Amish man was a wheeler-dealer, a man who owned land in three counties, including land he had just taken away from eight Amish families. The land transactions brings Pastor Cal Troyer into the situation, the third man in the friendship with Branden and Robertson. Troyer, one of the few English trusted by the Amish, works closely with a local bishop, Andy Weaver, brother of that Amish land owner.
While the police look one direction in their investigation, Branden searches for answers to the questions about the land deals. And, when a local banker disappears, the professor knows he's on the right track. Is it possible that accident wasn't really an accident?
Gaus' mysteries of the Ohio Amish-Country are always fascinating, with the glimpses of that unusual culture. In this one, he deals with issues of the loss of land, the loss of the Old Order as many Amish turn to modern ways, and the trouble teens get into. Gaus manages to skillfully incorporate all of these elements into a mystery and the investigation by three men linked by their childhood friendship.
Clouds without Rain is another strong entry in this intriguing series. Anyone with an interest in Amish Country can learn a great deal from this author and series.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
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