Title: What the Bishop Saw (The Amish Bishop Mysteries #1)
Author: Vannetta Chapman
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Henry Lapp is a widower in his mid-sixties who is the Bishop of a small Amish community in Colorado. When he was a boy of 12, he was hit in the head with a baseball. After being in a coma for a while, he had the ability to draw from memory a picture-perfect drawing of a scene he had encountered. He used this talent once as a boy with harsh results. He hasn’t used the talent for a long time, but soon he will be left with no choice but to put his God-given gift to work. Henry is unsure if it is a gift or a curse. An unlikeable, older, Amish man is killed in a house fire that is discovered to have been deliberately set. An arson investigator is called in to solve the case, but dealing with Amish people who like to keep to themselves proves to be a challenge for her.
As the case comes to a standstill, Henry’s drawing talent is put to use. His picture provides a lead, but that turns out to be a dead end. Henry and the arson investigator continue to ask questions, but can’t seem to discover who the arsonist is. Another building is set on fire, then another with no suspect in custody. Some Amish families begin to think about moving to other communities as they no longer feel safe. Henry confides in Emma, his close friend since childhood and she helps him work through things. Emma is a widow and lives with her son and his family. Henry is very close to this family as his wife died twenty years ago and they had no children. As the danger mounts, Henry feels the tension in his families that he shepherds. He also begins to realize he feels more for Emma than friendship, but is unsure if she feels the same spark.
Now that is how a community should live together! They came together when someone needed help with shelter, food, emotional or spiritual support and much more. This small, tightknit, Amish community was deeply spiritual in their lifestyle, showing Christ in their actions. However, their Bishop was also the first to point out that they were human as well and not above sinful actions, addictions, reactions, negative emotions, etc. Henry Lapp was a humble, but admirable leader of his small band of fellow Amish. I don’t believe in or agree with everything their Ordnung says, but in this story the actions of some these Amish people were fine examples of Christian living. I think this is a good start to what I hope will be a fine series of Amish mysteries!