Two wildly different Amish women bond over a murder.
Lonely oddball Kathryn "Kappy" King, who busies herself making the traditional kapps for her community, has a marriage proposal from handsome Hiram Lapp, the widower of one of her few friends. Fearing that he’ll never love her as much as his first wife, though, she’s refused him. When her neighbor Jimmy Peachy, a sweet boy with Down syndrome, paints her door blue to indicate that she’s available, she goes to complain to his mother, Ruth, but finds Jimmy by the barn, crying over Ruth's body while the dogs she raised bark and howl. The bishop asks Kappy to watch over Jimmy until some arrangements can be made. Unfortunately, his sister Edie is under a Bann for leaving behind her Amish life to live as an Englischer. Once Edie arrives, no one will talk to her except for Kappy and the police, who arrest Jimmy for killing his mamm, something both women are sure he would never do. Since deputy Jones refuses their pleas to investigate further, Kappy reluctantly agrees to help Edie take care of her mother’s prize beagles and ask questions among the Amish who won’t talk to Edie. Their troubles only increase when someone complains to the state board about the kennel and the farm is picketed by an animal rights group that thinks it’s a puppy mill. Although the inspection shows nothing wrong, someone spray-paints threats, lets the dogs loose, and dumps their feed outside. Kappy and Edie uncover a few possible motives but still can’t imagine who was desperate enough to kill Ruth.
Lillard (Pattern of Betrayal, 2015, etc.) kicks off a new series that seems aimed less at mystery buffs than armchair tourists seeking a rather sentimental look at the Amish lifestyle.