An Amish bishop with an unusual talent helps solve a crime.
Bishop Henry Lapp of Monte Vista, Colorado, has been either blessed or cursed with savant syndrome. Ever since being hit in the head as a young man, he’s had exceptional abilities to remember and draw in detail things he’s seen, a talent that’s helped him solve two murders (When The Bishop Needs An Alibi, 2017, etc.). Because he’s buying snacks for himself and his soon-to-be wife, Emma Fisher, he’s outside the arena when 19-year-old Amish bulldogger Jeremiah Schwartz is shot dead at the annual Ski Hi Stampede, Colorado's oldest professional rodeo. Henry plans to use all his knowledge of the tightknit Amish community to help his friend Sheriff Grayson find the killer. Before joining the community and accepting its strict rules, Jeremiah was using his Rumspringa, a period of probationary freedom, to date Englischer girls and pursue his rodeo career—but what among his activities could have been bad enough to cause his murder? Naomi Miller and her best friend, Katie Ann, two of the more independent Amish youngies, prove good sources of information for Henry, who eventually learns that Jeremiah had been planning to go to California to audition for a reality TV show, a prospect that stoked his peers’ envy. And he kept a notebook indicating that he was running a gambling operation in which both Amish and Englisch participated. A warning chalked on Henry’s carriage and an Amish couple run off the road indicate someone’s displeasure with Henry’s sleuthing. When Henry is driven to drawing things he’s seen, what’s absent from his pictures holds the clue to solving a crime that hits too close to home.
The latest of Chapman’s series is a clever mystery focused on the way the Amish community’s faith in God overcomes the many problems posed by their interactions with the modern world.