Friday, July 8, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Square Root of Murder

The Square Root of Murder (Sophie Knowles - Book 1) by Ava Madison

Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9780425242193

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Ava Madison (Camille Minichino) on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Sophie's Puzzle Blog

Excerpt from
The Square Root of Murder


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 a 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.


A new cozy mystery series has arrived! Author Ada Madison aka. Camille Minichino's new series about math professor Sophie Knowles will have cozy fans trying to puzzle out the clues and brainteasers that lead to a killer. Madison uses her experience as a physicist and teacher to bring readers a smart, intelligent whodunit.
The Square Root of Murder is first book in the Sophie Knowles mystery series and sets the stage at Henley College in Massachusetts. A great read for a lazy afternoon.

Dr. Sophie Knowles is math professor, dreams up puzzles and brainteasers, and is fond of beading at a local shop. But she still finds time for her students. Sophie has a knack for making even the hardest math problems fun to solve. Students love her and she even makes time to celebrate famous scholars with them. It's a tradition at Benjamin Franklin Hall, but when the most hated teacher on campus ends up dead in his office, the party is over. Keith Appleton certainly didn't make any friends when he refuses to give a medical school recommendation to Sophie's assistant Rachel. Rachel is the prime suspect in the case since she was overhead saying some pretty damaging things about the Professor but she's not the only one with a motive and Sophie is on the case.

Ada Madison sets the foundation for a great new cozy series with
The Square Root of Murder. This is a mystery for the math lovers out there. Since the author has a PhD in psychics the story comes across as authentic and credible. The puzzles and brainteasers at the end of the book are also a nice touch. I thought Madison chose an interesting setting for her book as well. A small-town college campus in New England is just the right place to introduce readers to Dr. Sophie Knowles. Madison does a wonderful job of making the campus come to life and letting the readers start to learn about the place and the people. One thing that can make or break a good cozy is interesting and exciting characters and I think Madison is right on track with this one.

Sophie is a fortyish math professor. She is extremely well liked by her students and she has a very creative turn of mind. She is very bookish, yet she doesn't come across as stuffy or uptight. The author does a good job of showing a lighter side to Sophie as well as a professional side. I liked Sophie a lot. She has spunk and as mathematician she is a very analytical thinker. What better kind of person to be thinking about clues and figuring out a murder? Some who sits around and thinks about how to solve puzzles and brainteasers, makes a great amateur sleuth. I think readers will like Sophie and identify with her.

Usually in the first book in the series the author spends a lot of the time just setting the reader up for what's to come next. I think Madison gave enough details to get readers interested, but she didn't go overboard on the backstory of the characters or the school. It's a good balance. It leaves a lot of information to be discovered in further additions to the series. The mystery aspect of the story is well thought out and has quite a few twists and turns. The suspect list boils down a select few who were leaving out some details about the crime scene, including Sophie's assistant Rachel. I think Madison gave the reader a lot to think about in this one. Is not getting a recommendation a real motive for murder? I think readers will agree that there are some people out there that have killed for less. The plot is plausible, it seems like it could really happen in real life and I think readers will like that.

I recommend this one to all of my cozy readers out there. It's a fast paced read that readers can finish in a couple of sittings. Math puzzle and brainteaser fans will like this one as well. The plot is engaging and full of surprises and I loved the college setting. That was a refreshing change. The characters are interesting and I think there is a lot of potential for the series.

The Square Root of Murder is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Ada Madison aka. Camille Minichino received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and on the staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Camille is on the boards of the California Writers Club and NorCal Sisters in Crime. She's a member of NorCal Mystery Writers of America and SF Romance Writers of America.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Square Root of Murder for one lucky winner here at Debbie's Book Bag!

~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US addresses only (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST July 22nd.

1. Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great new series!

holdenj said...

It looks like a great book. I like crosswords better than math, so glad to hear there's more brainteaser talk than algebra!

Hull.Margaret said...

I just love good mystery's...looks lke this one will be a winner. Can't wait to read it. Thanks

Myra C said...

Sounds like a great new cozy series! Thanks for the giveaway.

Estella said...

I love cozy mysteries! This sounds like the start of a great series.

Anonymous said...

I love mysteries!

cyn209 said...

i can't wait to read this, especially a new cozy mystery!!! congrats & good luck, Ada!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!!


Karen B said...

Math was always my favorite subject and I love math and logic problems so this series sounds very intriguing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I love a good mystery.

ann said...

sounds like a interesting book , would love to win


Carol N Wong said...

I hated math when I was in school but I loved, loved, loved geometry. Don't know why but it was so much fun thinking of different ways to solve. Thank you for this great cozy give away.


Gloria Walshver said...

I loved English but hated math in school.

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a great cozy mystery. I have never been any good at math, but I'd love to read this book.


Theresa N. said...

The college setting for this mystery adds to my interest.
Theresa N

ChristyJan said...

This sounds like a great cozy mystery

karenk said...

sounds like a great read...i like the cover, too :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Mystica said...

Don't count me in for the giveaway - sounds such a good book.

lag123 said...

A new series! I love it!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

In Julie's Opinion said...

I love cozy mysteries and this one sounds like a really good one! Thanks for the chance to win a copy:)
jwitt33 at live dot com

mamabunny13 said...

Sounds like a good one! I'm looking forward to reading it!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carol M said...

I enjoy puzzles and brain teasers. I know I would enjoy this book, too!
mittens0831 at aol dot com