Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Plain Dead by Emma Miller - #review

When a newspaperman is murdered in the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, Rachel Mast digs up the dirt to find out who wanted to bury the lead…
,br/> Although she left her Old Order Amish ways in her youth, Rachel discovered corporate life in the English world to be complicated and unfulfilling. Having returned to Stone Mill, she’s happy to be running her own B&B. But she’s also learning—in more ways than one—that the past is not always so easily left behind.

After local newspaperman Bill Billingsly is found gagged and tied to his front porch, left to freeze overnight in a snowstorm, Detective Evan Parks—Rachel’s beau—uncovers a file of scandalous information Billingsly intended to publish, including a record of Rachel pleading no contest to charges of corporate misconduct. Though Evan is certain of her innocence, it’s up to Rachel to find the real killer. A closer examination of the victim’s unpublished report leads Rachel to believe the Amish community is far from sinless. But if she’s not careful her obituary might be the next to appear in print…



One reason I love reading 'Amish fiction' is because I was born in Pennsylvania and there were lots of Amish families/communities around.  Another reason is because where I love currently (Lincoln County, Kentucky), it is not unusual to come across a buggy or two.  So reading stories set in similar communities feels like 'coming home'.

I thoroughly enjoyed Miller's Plain Dead.  I felt the warmness of the family and church communities and the difficulties that sometimes arise when the Amish and 'English' communities interact.  It was especially interesting to see how Rachel came back to her hometown, although not to her church.  Some of the most poignant moments in this book came from Rachel's interaction with her family - and the mother who has refused to speak directly to her or to hear her words until repeated by someone else since Rachel left.

And yes, Rachel carried a 'deep dark' secret for many years.  But she's not the only one in the community to do so and on more than one occasion these secrets (hers and those of others in town) bring her close to the danger brewing after Billingsly's death.

There might not be some of the issues that are faced by larger cities or countries or regions of the world, but life happens all over this small Pennsylvania town.  The warmth of the Stone Mill community will melt all but the coldest of hearts and I hope to hear more about these characters in the future.



Emma Miller is the author of Redeeming Grace and Anna’s Gift.  She lives with her family in Kent County, Delaware.



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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and  This post contains associate links.)


This book helps me fulfill the following 2016 reading challenges:

NetGalley Reading Challenge


  1. Sounds like a great read! Definitely on my TBR list. Enjoy reading Amish fiction.

  2. This looks like an amazing read. I enjoy reading Amish fiction.

  3. It is the secrets that drive our behavior in ways we don't anticipate - it sounds like the benefit of letting loose of those secrets will be part of this book, which makes it even more appealing. I really enjoy what I learn in Amish fiction, and love mysteries, so this is a great combination! jeaniedannheim *at* ymail (dot) com

  4. Can't wait to read. Enjoy Amish fiction.

  5. This book sounds very interesting and it's interesting to learn more about Amish life