Amish fiction isn’t usually wrapped up in suspense and
mystery, but that’s the way Amanda Flower prefers it.

In the second book in her Appleseed Creek Mystery
series, A Plain Scandal (B&H Fiction), a
series of disgraceful and anonymous haircutting
attacks terrorize the Appleseed Creek community.
Chloe Humphries makes it her mission to
defend the community and restore peace.

“She has an innate desire to protect those who
can’t—or, in the case of the Amish, won’t—protect
themselves,” Amanda says, “because she
knows what is like to be defenseless.”

The plot is pulled from news headlines: “In late
2011 in Holmes County, Ohio, there were violent
haircutting attacks against several Amish families
by a rival Amish group. That event inspired
me to write A Plain Scandal, but events like that
are very rare.”

For outsiders of the Amish community, getting a
haircut seems like no big deal, but Amanda points
out the significance of this crime. “Knowing how
important hair is to the Amish, I recognized what
an insult it was to have an Amish man’s beard cut
or an Amish woman’s hair cut. I’ve lived in Ohio
my entire life and there had never been a real
story like this before. I knew
that it would make a good basis
for a mystery.”

Chloe Humphries holds an
unusual occupation for a character
in an Amish novel: She
is an Information Technology
Specialist. “I wish I could say
‘because it is the antithesis of
Amishness and juxtaposes to
the plain world,’” Amanda says.
“This is true, but it’s not why I
gave Chloe this profession. The
truth is, it’s very close to what I
do every day. I’m a college librarian,
but my main responsibility
is keeping the library’s network,
management system, server and
computers up and running.”

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!

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About The Author

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.