I just love cold cases. And, I love it when an author links a cold case and a contemporary one. Ada Madison tells an absorbing story in her latest Professor Sophie Knowles mystery, The Quotient of Murder.
Sophie Knowles is a math professor at Henley College in Henley, Massachusetts, where the carillon facility has been renovated, and will soon reopen after twenty-five years. Although Sophie grew up in Henley, she never knew the story of the French major, a sophomore girl, who jumped from the carillon tower twenty-five years earlier. And, she's a little peeved that no one ever told her the story. She did ask herself why she cared, why she was curious enough to dig around in that old story. She tells herself it's because of the natural curiosity of a mathematician and puzzle maker. But, when one of Sophie's students, Jenn Marshall, is found on campus, badly beaten, Sophie becomes suspicious. Jenn was a carillon player, and Sophie's convinced the two stories are somehow linked. It doesn't appear that way to the police, but Henley Police Detective Virgil Mitchell allows Sophie to play detective.
I'll admit that Ada Madison and I have had friendly discussions about Sophie's tendency to keep secrets from the police. However, The Quotient of Murder works beautifully because of the cold case scenario. The police are only politely interested in Sophie's ideas because they don't believe there is a link. But, she's willing to cooperate and hand over any actual clues.
For those of us who find cold cases appealing, The Quotient of Murder presents some unusual angles. It's an enjoyable puzzle, and Sophie Knowles is an appealing amateur sleuth with a mind for mystery.
Ada Madison (Camille Minichino) has a website at www.minichino.com
The Quotient of Murder by Ada Madison. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425262702 (paperback), 291p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.