Title: Murder in Plain Sight
Author: Marta Perry
Release Date: December 1, 2010
Publisher: HQN Books
Rating: 4 out of 5
Jessica Langdon is a Philadelphia lawyer working at a big shot law firm from which she is convinced she is about to be fired. She can’t say that eventuality really disturbs her, though, because she doesn’t really fit in at the firm. When she’s called into her boss’s office, Jessica is sure that the axe is about to fall, but to her surprise, they give her a case: an Amish boy has been arrested for the murder of a non-Amish young woman. Someone has hired their firm to represent the boy, and Jessica heads out to Amish country to learn as much as she can about the case, the Amish, and how best to defend her client.
I really enjoyed the Kate Burkholder series, in which a female Chief of Police bridges the gap between the Amish and non-Amish in her jurisdiction, so when I heard about Murder in Plain Sight, I was very curious. While I’m not necessarily fascinated by the Amish (though I do find them interesting), I find the way they deal with the outside world when it comes to crime very intriguing. Therefore, I was excited to pick up Murder in Plain Sight to see what it was all about.
Jessica was an appealing main character who had a lot to learn when the book began. She knew very little about the Amish and their customs, and as a result, she didn’t understand their reactions to the arrest. Additionally, because she is an outsider and not part of the community, she isn’t trusted by the local Amish. She has a huge learning curve, and she’s slow to begin gathering information, which is frustrating. However, once she realizes how much she doesn’t know, she begins to embrace help. It is touching how invested she becomes in this case and how much she is willing to risk to ensure the Amish receive justice.
I have to admit the romance in the book didn’t really interest me, hence why I didn’t even mention it in my summary. There was nothing wrong or off-putting about it, and if you enjoy a good, non-steamy romance (the best kind in my opinion) with your mysteries, you’ll probably really like this aspect. I was much more invested in the murder mystery than the romance, though, as it’s well-written and gripping. While I saw the ending coming, it was only a few pages before the characters realized it as well, and I enjoyed the way it unfolded.
Murder in Plain Sight is a quick, enjoyable read that I recommend for mystery fans, especially those who are interested in the new wave of books about the Amish religion and culture. It’s not something you have to invest a lot of time in, so it makes great airplane or beach reading. Murder in Plain Sight is the first in a series, and I’m eager to revisit the characters in the next installment.