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Perhaps I would have preferred "Missing" and "Search" to have been one book, as there is no way I can stop now, and each book (3) is really not, in my mind, independent, but there is something refreshing about shorter tastes, and, if the first one displeases, one can stop there.In "Search" the contrast and comparison of Englishers and Amish life styles is even more highlighted. What I love about Gray's exposition is the underlying faith in the humanity of people - their values and needs - that supersedes mere outward "obedience" to a particular religion. (This has long been a viewpoint of my own - that if we could have a World Council of every religion to agree on their top 10 VALUES, not precepts or definitions (e.g. seeing each other as human first, then citizens of a particular location; a caring economy; personal responsibility; practicing peaceful, compassionate negotiation first; seeing conflict as opportunity for understanding, rather than call to violence) then we would see how we are all connected and interdependent, rather than alienated from one another, and know how much we all want the same thing.)
This second book has the two detectives, Luke from up north, and his local friend Mose,uncovering more secrets. It is interesting that the Amish characters are more open tothe sunny, healing qualities of simple love, loyalty, help and caring, but all who have secrets have them for very human reasons, not Godly ones; even while knowing lying isnot positive, they withhold out of fear of hurting others. The Englishers seem more willing to live with social lies out of convenience,and put up with the alienating consequences, but when they interact with the Amish, some chemistry happens. A deeper need is met; they are awakened, and touched.
A little more is learned about the murdered son, Perry Borntrager (Ger. water carrier), and how he hurt his friends and family by his sudden choices to get involved with drugs anddrug dealers. He was stealing money regularly from his employer, Mr. Shrager (sp), for example, in order to satisfy the dealers increasing demands, which he was apparently unable to otherwise meet.
Lydia, his former girlfriend, has trusted her heart and chosen an Englisher, Walker, tocourt; they are slowly working out how to balance their love with the challenges of religious practice and livelihood. Frannie, who owns The Yellow Bird B & B, who seemed in the last book rather cool and rather nosy, has come up against herself and her heart's real desires,and separates from her childhood expectations of marrying someone who is a good man,but who is just not tender, sparking, or deeply appreciative.......like Luke, the Englisher detective, who helps her when she has a frightening accident.
We also get to meet her delightful girlfriend, Beth, who, is so honest, caring, and down to earth, I wanted her asa girlfriend myself! Beth cannot cook or clean very well, and doesn't know accounts or how to deal with guests especially well when Frannie has to be hospitalized, but, she eventually figures things out, and actually does pretty well! She is so transparent and loving, I think I loved her!
So, this "ending" has the web pulled slightly tighter on finding Perry's mysterious murderer, who bonked him on the beanie, and put him down a well, eliminating the idea of death bydrug overdose. Luke, the "borrowed" detective, returns renewed, and discovers throughcareful perusal, the hint that makes the murderer clear.
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