A Frame-Up Most Foul…


Enjoy this excerpt from the newest book in

The Amish Bishop Mysteries by Vanetta Chapman:

When the Bishop Needs an Alibi.


Bishop Henry Lapp crouched in a sea of bulrushes and cattails.

A light breeze tickled the hair at the nape of his neck as the distinctive rolling cry of cranes filled the morning. He recognized the call of a marsh wren, a night heron, and an ibis.

As he waited, dawn’s light splashed over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east, crossed the San Luis Valley, and settled against the base of the San Juan Mountains in the west. Sunrise turned the marshland into a sea of gold and warmed the brisk fall air. Henry moved behind a clump of bulrushes, the ripened seeds temporarily filling the lens of his Nikon binoculars.

Henry again heard the flat, rattle call of a sandhill crane, a gar-oo-oo that never failed to quicken his pulse. He brought his binoculars around to the sound and adjusted his focus. Nearly four feet tall, with a wingspan of at least six feet, the male crane was a beauty to behold. Its gray color provided a perfect camouflage against the fall stalks, rendering the splash of red against its forehead all the more surprising.

The crane took several steps east, and Henry did the same, barely noticing the way his boots sank in the mud.

With his left hand, he calmed his dog, Lexi. With his right, he steadied the binoculars. Many people had abandoned binoculars altogether when bird-watching, opting for cameras instead. But Henry had no intention of taking photographs. Being Amish, he didn’t own a camera. No, for him the joy was in seeing the majestic creatures, observing them and appreciating the wonder of God’s hand in all things.

The male croaked, spread its wings, and jumped, neck stretched long—all for the benefit of its mate. Although he couldn’t see her, Henry knew the female was close. She must be among the cattails, searching for breakfast.

He crouched lower, continued to follow the male’s direction, and forgot about the arthritis in his knees or how he wished he’d eaten a bigger breakfast.

And then she was there, filling up his lens, slightly smaller and staying close to the juvenile.

“A family unit,” he muttered. He could have raised his gaze and seen hundreds, possibly thousands of the birds, but this chance to observe a family rewarded him more than watching an entire flock of birds ever could.

Henry crept forward, completely focused on the birds, and his foot struck against something. He lost his balance and began to fall. Lexi jumped out of his way, and Henry tried to focus on saving the binoculars, on not dropping them in the mud.

He was thinking of that, of how precious the binoculars were to him, when he landed on his backside, scaring away the family of three and causing an entire flock of cranes to take flight. He shook his head at his clumsiness and called Lexi closer, but the beagle was now emitting a low, menacing growl.

“Lexi, shush.”

The dog paid him no mind. Her growl turned to high-pitched barks, and more cranes rose into the morning sky.

Henry lurched for the dog’s collar, and he twisted, turning back in the direction he’d come. That was the moment he saw what made him trip, what Lexi was now backing away from, still alternately growling and yipping.

Hidden among the bulrushes and the cattails lay a woman’s body, facedown in the brush.

Stumbling forward, he knelt beside her, swept aside her hair, and placed two fingers to her neck. He couldn’t detect a pulse, and she certainly wasn’t moving. But then again, his own heartbeat was thundering in his ears, and his hands were shaking. He should get help, run to the visitor center, but first he had to be sure. Gently he rolled the body over, his heart sinking in recognition.

She wouldn’t be needing help. That much was for certain. Henry uttered a prayer for her soul even as his gaze froze on the bruise marks around her neck. His tears didn’t begin to fall until he looked at her face—unmarred and unlined in death, as if the worries of her life had slipped away and sailed across the vast Colorado sky.


Little did he know, Henry had just stumbled right into the middle of murder and cover-up. Will he be able to use his special skills to solve the mystery and save the people he loves?

When the Bishop Needs an Alibi is available for 50% off right now on the Harvest House website!


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