The Square Root of Murder by Ada Madison is the first book in the new “Professor Sophie Knowles” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), July 2011

Dr. Sophie Knowles teaches math at Henley College in Massachusetts. Her students adore her because she always finds a way to make the most intimidating math seem fun. But lately, everyone’s biggest problem isn’t math—it’s murder.

Between teaching, publishing puzzles and brainteasers, and beading at the local bead shop, A Hill of Beads, Sophie has a full schedule. Finding a chance to unwind isn’t always in the equation. She still manages to make time to celebrate famous scholars of the past with her students. But their latest party makes one of their own a thing of the past.

Dr. Keith Appleton was the most disliked professor on campus, but it was Sophie’s assistant, Rachel, who had a real problem with him—he refused to recommend her to medical school. Sophie is confident that there’s a calculating murderer among them, and equally confident it’s not Rachel. The only possible answer is for Sophie to eliminate the lowest common denominator from campus herself.

We are introduced to Dr. Sophie Knowles, a mathematics professor at a local college and some of her associates including Dr. Keith, a despised professor and Sophie’s assistant, Rachel Wheeler. The relationship between Keith and Rachel was not a good one and when Keith’s body is discovered, Rachel becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Believing that Rachel is innocent, Sophie systematically gathers clues that will reveal the killer’s identity. This is a good debut series. This was a good mystery with a well-thought out plot that was hard to put down from the first paragraph to the conclusion. I like the steady and comfortable tone of the story and the interesting conversations that gave me more insights into this wonderful cast of characters that inhabit Sophie’s circle of friends. Also included are bonus brain teasers that were fun to do. This enjoyable series is a welcome addition to the cozy mystery genre.

Ada Madison is the pseudonym for Camille Minichino

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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