Paul Gaus, a retired chemistry professor, has been writing Amish murder mysteries since 1997, set in the Amish country of Holmes County, Ohio, where he lives. Originally published by Ohio University Press, Gaus's books are now being republished by Penguin as “The Amish Mystery Series.” The first title in the series, Blood of the Prodigal, which addresses shunning – the Amish practice of exiling disobedient church members into the mainstream society – was released last month.
From his Q & A with the Christian Science Monitor:
How did you start writing Amish mystery novels?--Marshal Zeringue
How do you go about choosing your stories?
"Blood of the Prodigal," like all of my stories, it is written to illuminate Scripture. In particular, its written to illuminate one of the Biblical Scriptures on which Amish people base their lifestyle. A key Scripture for "Blood of the Prodigal" is the 139th Psalm. Many of the interactions in "Blood of the Prodigal" are based on transactions of repentance and forgiveness. There’s comfort in the 139th Psalm for people who face repentance. That’s what an [Amish] bishop tries to do with shunning – restore a person to a community of faith.
So is there a spiritual component for you in writing these books?
There is. I...[read on]