Vannetta Chapman

When Zondervan asked me to write another cozy mystery series, I was pretty excited. Our series in Shipshewana was so much fun that I couldn’t wait to dive in. But that series took place in a quilt shop. I wasn’t sure how to top that location. After all, quilting and the Amish seem to go hand in hand.

Then I visited the Essenhaus in Middlebury. What a wonderful place! Friendly people, excellent food, and several shops situated on the far side of a sweet little pond you could walk around. I was in love!

And that’s where the idea for Murder Simply Brewed was born. I love coffee. I love the Amish, and I loved mysteries. How hard could it be?

But writing a book that centered around a coffee shop required me to step out of  my comfort zone. Afterall, I enjoy quilting (which made the Shipshewana books easier), but I’ve never been a barista. Yes, I like visiting a Starbucks when I “go to town.” I’ll admit that I never paid much attention before though. I order and they deliver what I want! It’s pretty simple. For Murder Simply Brewed, I needed to put myself in the shoes of a barista. Happy customers, grumpy customers, and grateful customers. I began watching people whenever I was in a restaurant or coffee shop, watching how they interact with the employees and each other. It was a hoot designing a murder mystery around this group of folks. Who was the guilty party? And why?

I also enjoyed researching coffee recipes. I’ve always been a COFFEE drinker—give it to me plain and strong. Suddenly I was neck deep in espresso, mocha, cappuccino, and macchiatos. Oh my!

But the heart of this story is the strong sense of community and faith shared between the Amish, the Englisch, and the folks who visit their town. What better place to find that than a coffee shop, located within a string of businesses, set inside an Amish village? Murder Simply Brewed releases in March, and I hope you’ll give it a try. It will be available at all bookstores, and you can also find details on my webpage at


Murder Simply Brewed

Ps – I’d love to give away a copy of Murder Simply Brewed (ebook or print). It won’t be available until March, but if you win, we’ll keep your name and add you to the mailing list. Simply comment below with your favorite drink on a nice March day.