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Posted March 20, 2006
An Amish Quilt w/Norman Rockwell Brilliance & a Spice Slash of Stephen King¿s Dark Jewel Tones.
The murder in this novel comes up in the first scene, with a simple realism which is sometimes lacking in cozy mysteries due to their style of underplayed viscera, a simple realism which is sometimes strangely unsuccessful in true crime novels due to overdone, exaggerated gore. Working from the murder scene, the book moves forward through a natural intimacy among characters, allowing a warmth to develop without discounting the chilling essence of death by malice and violence. The style of Workinger¿s storytelling maintains a shifting balance between the boundaries of cozy Vs crime novels, a balance which gives a more engrossing reading experience that either style could accomplish within its separate, defined bailiwick. Natural, real, warm, and engrossing are the best words I can use to describe the reading experience of Barbara Workinger¿s IN DUTCH AGAIN. It was easy for me to live in this story. Each time I picked up the book to begin reading, the settings came to mind easily, effortlessly, and stayed as a backdrop for character movement. Nettie's new/old farmhouse and 2 acre grounds is particularly well set, probably because of the way Workinger plotted Hanny going there and opening the bloody murder scene (with the lovely white-on-white quilt described so gorgeously in contrast), all of which was very well done. Actually it was excellently executed, with just the right amount and type of detail. The description and use in setting (and upsetting) of the deep, wrap-around-front-porch symbolism was particularly effective. And Hannah's dealing with, reacting to and taking action relative to that front porch scene, her studying and getting around the alarm system, provided great character development and a perfect means of sliding the reader('s own bloody footprints) into the story. One of the most successful ¿reader-live-in¿ techniques in this novel is the contrast in lifestyle of the Amish (wedding celebrations) Vs the English (murder & mayhem), as it plays around two intriguingly intertwined murders and their resolution. Half way through the read, I had a culprit and conclusion in mind. Mine was way darker than the one Workinger brought through the portal of plot perfection, and mine would have required a mindset closer to that of Stephen King. Workinger¿s wrap was just right for her voice, talent, background, characters, setup, and setting. This author is a master of maneuvering the convolutions of mystery to her own ends as a writer. Look for more from Barbara Workinger. There¿s a reading richness here that¿s not to be denied, not found elsewhere, and which will flourish in its own course.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2003
Original and charming mystery
Heard a lady on the plane from Vegas to SF raving over how good the book was. She said it not only suspenseful but had charm and humor, so I bought it, too. She was right! It is so original with an Amish detective like no other. Great plot,wonderful characters and lots of good plot twists.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2002
An original, fresh cozy mystery
I really loved the evocative, autumn setting in the Amish area of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.The author must know the area and the Amish well, for she writes with a sure sense of place. The mystery immediately draws you in and is sustained throughout the book. The characters are original and absolutely enchanting. There hasn't been such a dectective as "Granny" Hannah Miller since Miss Marple herself. Intellegent and perceptive, Hannah never wavers in her determination to solve the murder of her neighbor.The surprising and satisfying conclusion is perfect. I understand a sequel will be out next year. I'm looking forward to it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.