Separate from the World
An Ohio Amish Mystery
By P. L. Gaus
(Ohio University Press, Hardcover, 9780821418147, 184pp.)
Publication Date: July 2008
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As another college year draws to an end, Professor Michael Branden is weary after nearly thirty years of teaching. Sitting in his office on a warm spring day, he receives an unexpected visit from an Amish man who claims his brother, a dwarf like himself, has been murdered. Their discussion of the odd details of the case is interrupted by a commotion on campus, which turns out to be the apparent suicide of a young woman, who, it seems, has leapt to her death from the college bell tower.
The investigations of these two deaths become intertwined as Professor Branden again teams up with his colleagues Pastor Cal Troyer and Sheriff Bruce Robertson to seek explanations for these bizarre events.
Separate from the World is a story of a rift between two Amish factions, one that favors the use of medicine and that participates in a college study of genetic traits particular to the Amish community, and the other that rejects any outside influence.
Once more, P. L. Gaus takes us inside a separate culture and, in a manner both gentle and grim, highlights the complex relationship of the Amish and the “English” as they live inside or outside each other’s orbits.
P. L. Gaus is the author of the Ohio Amish Mysteries including, most recently, A Prayer for the Night, Clouds without Rain, and Cast a Blue Shadow. He teaches chemistry and alternative cultures at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.
“Gaus is a sensitive storyteller who matches his cadences to the measured pace of Amish life, catching the tensions among the village’s religious factions.”
The New York Times