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Harmless as Doves: An Amish-Country Mystery
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Harmless as Doves: An Amish-Country Mystery (Amish-Country Mysteries #7)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  270 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews

As he goes about his milking chores on a cold October morning, Bishop Leon Shetler daydreams of escaping the Ohio winter and taking a bus to the Pinecraft Amish community in Florida for a vacation. His reverie is suddenly interrupted when young Crist Burkholder enters the barn, head down, hat in hand, to make a confession. “I just killed Glenn Spiegle.” 

 “An Amish murderer

Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Plume (first published June 15th 2011)
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Mary Kate (M.K. Aneal)
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"In being harmless as doves, we may find more benefit than we ever imagined. Not just for others, but for the good of our own soul."

The title of this book is also the grand subject of the book, so gracefully explained in enjoyable fashion! Truthfully, I'm glad this book wasn't longer, because if it was, I would've had to get a cave to hide in so as to finish this book (I was awfully glued to this book, so much so I didn't want to do much other else). My interest in this book was actually unhealt
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, amish, christian
If you are looking for an Amish tale filled with flowery language, sappy romance, and angst, keeps looking, because this novel by P. L. Gaus is none of those things. However, if you want a tightly written, engaging mystery with believable characters who draw you into the story, look no further than this Amish-Country mystery series. In this novel, the seventh in the series, the unthinkable has happened: a young Amish man has confessed to killing another Amish man with his bare hands. But there i ...more
Karen Blinn
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
P.L. Gaus has added another entry to his Amish mystery series. This one is lots of fun because it takes place in both Holmes County, OH. and Manatee/Sarasota Counties, FL. I had no idea that the Amish were such a force in that area of Florida, but an independent source has confirmed that it is indeed true and that the descriptions in the book were accurate. The books starts out with an Amish man confessing to his bishop that he just killed another Amish man. The rest of the book is spent unrave ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2013-read
This series started out pretty good but faltered in the middle. The last couple of books, I have been hesitant to pick up due to the dud. However, this one reminded me of some the better writing done by Gaus. I enjoyed the story of Amish who vacation in Florida. That amuses me for some reason. It's not totally set in Florida, it's set in Ohio. There's a trip but most of the action takes place in Holmes County.

Another solid entry into this series.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
The story of this book was pretty good. I must say though that I have now read several of P.L. Gus's books and sometimes the writing seems to me at least like a jumble. It's easy to get confused as to what exactly is going on in the story. Over all though, a pretty good book.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Weak plot, not enjoyable
Spiritual Advice & a Mystery

This mystery is a refreshing change from the traditional Amish stories which tend to focus on Amish female characters. Harmless to Doves main characters are male and secondary characters include non-Amish as well as Amish characters. My favorite part of this book are the sections that focus on the spiritual advice given by Pastor Cal and reflections of the Bishop.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing involved mystery. It keeps you guessing right up to the end!
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying this series of Amish mysteries. Especially the insights into a different culture.
Bea  Charmed
"An Amish murderer?" I admit, I had a similar thought. I know that the Amish are just people, human like the rest of us, but I still had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of an Amish person committing murder. Gaus handles this sensitively, and without putting the Amish up on a pedestal while treating them respectfully. Although, it seemed to me at times as if the bishop, Leon Shetler, seemed was a bit too proud of himself and his treatment of his wife. The repetition of what a goo ...more
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author: P. L. Gaus
Title: Harmless as Doves
Description: An Amish convert turns up dead, and a young Amish man hurries to confess the murder to his Bishop. Questions remain, however: how did one punch (from a pacifist) kill an adult man? What happened between the time the confessed killer fled the scene and law enforcement’s arrival? And where is the dead man’s best friend?
Review source: netgalley
Plot: The plot grabbed me right away. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of those Amish romances that
Cathy Cole
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Line: Well before dawn, Bishop Leon D. Shetler was coaxed from sleep by the whispers of his morning chores, and he rose up and sat on the edge of his bed, honoring his custom of thanking God for the peace that rested over his household.

Bishop Shetler begins his morning chores with a small daydream of taking his beloved wife down to the Pinecraft Amish community in Florida for a vacation to escape the Ohio winter. Buses run down there every week. But that daydream is interrupted when young
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at my blog, here.

I haven’t read P.L.Gaus before and the last time I read a book about the Amish community it was Jodi Picault’s “Plain Truth”. Gaus’s writing style is slow and meticulous; he describes people, their surroundings and their thoughts in great detail, which helps one steep in the atmosphere. I do appreciate this kind of languorous writing because it gets me, as a reader, firmly ensconced in the story and the lives of the characters, and once you are in and hooked, y
Anna Berendzen
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I thought that the plot of this book was interesting: trying to defend an Amish youth who thinks that he killed someone and doesn't know anything about the legal system.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Some parts I was gripping the next page trying to unravel the mystery and learn what was going to happen next next, but at other times I was lost in (what seemed like) superfluous characters and life details. Don't get me wrong, I love a descriptive book so I can fully immerse myself in it b
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bishop Leon Shetler is shocked when Crist Burkholder, a member of his community, enters the barn to make a confession that he had murdered Glenn Spiegel, another member of the community. Crist loves 17-year old Vesta Miller but her father, Jacob Miller has arranged her marriage with Spiegle, a wealthy Amish convert 20 years Vesta's senior. Spiegel offers Crist money to forget about Vesta but he refused, they fought and Crist killed Spiegel in the fight. Sheriff Bruce Robertson and the rest of th ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I spent a year living and working in rural central Ohio and read some of Gaus's Amish mysteries in preparation for my stay and then again toward the end of my time there. As someone who got to know some Amish people fairly well and as an anthropologist who has spent a lot of time thinking and writing about how members of other cultures or subcultures are presented on the written page, I have always been impressed by the thoughtful observations and reflections on Amish culture that Gaus weaves in ...more
Lynn Lerch
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the seventh book in the Amish Country Murder Series and very good. P L Gaus makes one feel that one is living in an Anish community in Ohio. One cold morning Bishop Leon Shetler gets up to milk his cow and Chris Burkholder comes running up his drive yelling he killed Glenn Spiegle. The story takes place in Ohio and at the end Florida. I didn't know that Amish people went to Florida near Sarasota for vacations. I learn something new in each book Gaus writes. A very enjoyable mystery. My f ...more
Sharon Huether
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Harmless as Doves : An Amish Country Mystery By P. L. Gaus Thankyou Goodread for sending me such a good book. This author packed a big story in a small book. A murder in Amish Country; not committed by the accused, for he had only knocked him cold, but he still felt guilty. The victim was not who he pretended to be; but a felon who was trying to hide from a vengeful father. Acquital was in store for the real Amish young man. The murderer did not get away.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read! The simplicity of the story, due to the Amish influence, combined with the complexity the mystery made for a great book. It felt more like a real life story than a mystery novel. Having heard Amish stories all my life, I felt a connection to that part of it.
The progression of the story was both laid back and rushed, as seen from each perspective...Amish or English. It was filled a message that has made me think about things in my own life. That is a good book that can do that
Jul 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

This was an okay book for me. I think it would have been better if I had read the books that came before this one in the series. There were a lot of characters to keep up with and I am assuming that I would have been familiar with some of them if I started the series from the beginning. The book was well-written and I did enjoy the story.
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think about it.... trying to defend a murder suspect who is completely ignorant of legal philosophy and procedure but believes himself morally guilty. Can the real culprit be indentified?

Another interesting mystery set in Holmes County OH's Amish Country. One of the most authentic Amish series that I have found.

An interesting tidbit was learning about the Amish winter colony of Pinecraft FL. Yes, it is real.
Andy Plonka
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big fan of amateur detectives, cozies and the like but this one has enough meat to it to improve it. It is set in an Amish community in rural Ohio, though parts of the action take place in Florida. (The Amish do take winter vacations, though it is not disclosed whether or not they visit Disneyland)
Apr 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I not a huge fan of this book. I picked it up because an Amish mystery sounded interesting, and I did like that part. This is the seventh book of a series, and that may have contributed to the problem. Largely, though, there were too many characters to keep up with, too many side plots taking up too much space, and not enough actual meat to the mystery.
Diane  Sugars
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a very good short mystery from an author I had never read before. I really liked the storyline and felt that the author did a very good job of keeping the story moving and also kept the reader guessing as to who the murderer was. I will be looking for some more of this authors books to read in the future!
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
I picked this book up as a part of a book club. The writing is well done, but not having read the previous books, I found it difficult to follow characters and some of the back story. I'm sure if I went back and read the previous books, I'd like it more, but this book didn't appeal to me enough to go back and read the series.
V E R Y slow starting - I fell asleep twice in the first 10 pages. I didn't realize that there was an Amish guilt complex so close to the Catholic one. I didn't understand the ending - if anyone has read it, feel free to comment.
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great mystery involving an Amish community in Ohio. Mystery, suspense, with a little action and humor too. I kinda got lost amongst all the names & descriptions though. Fascinating to learn quite a bit about the Amish. Good Christian perspective too.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Got this for free on First Reads. Read this in just a few hours, and could not put it down.
Tory Hunz
Aug 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was about as exciting as you would expect an Amish murder mystery to be.
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Paul L. Gaus writes The Amish-Country Mysteries, set authentically in the Amish settlements of Holmes County, Ohio. Three life-long friends - Professor Michael Branden, Sheriff Bruce Robertson, and Pastor Caleb Troyer - work sometimes together and other times at crossed purposes to solve mysteries involving the often inscrutable Amish sects of the region. The rich cast of English characters includ ...more
More about P.L. Gaus...

Other Books in the Series

Amish-Country Mysteries (9 books)
  • Blood of the Prodigal (Ohio Amish Mystery, #1)
  • Broken English (Ohio Amish Mystery, #2)
  • Clouds Without Rain (Ohio Amish Mystery, #3)
  • Cast A Blue Shadow (Ohio Amish Mystery, #4)
  • A Prayer for the Night (Ohio Amish Mystery, #5)
  • Separate from the World (Ohio Amish Mystery, #6)
  • The Names of Our Tears (Amish-Country Mystery, #8)
  • Whiskers of the Lion: An Amish-Country Mystery