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on September 7, 2012
After reading this book, I am hooked on Sophie Knowles. She has a deep love for things that make sense... math and puzzles. When a fellow professor is murdered in his office, Sophie needs to find the killer to prevent her student assistant from taking the fall. Just like the word puzzles that Sophie loves to write, the clues fall into place.
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on July 7, 2011
Ada Madison is Camille Minichino's third swing at an author title -- and the result is a hit! The Square Root of Murder is her best book yet, no matter how the author bills herself.

Perhaps its her familiarity with the world of academia and the suburban Boston setting or her experience developing cozy mysteries that intrigue, amuse and delight, but "Square Root" provides a great way to begin sampling this author or renewing a previous acquaintance.

The plot is well-covered in previous reviews. The characters are well-developed and interesting, covering the gamut of personality types to be expected at a small New England college facing change. To me, the college itself is the most intriguing character in the book and I look forward to renewing my acquaintance in what I hope will be a soon-to-follow second installment in this series.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 27, 2014
Have you ever gone through the books on your kindle and found some that you had no memory of buying? This was one for me. Amazon shows that I purchased it three years ago and I'm guessing that it was either free or on sale at the time. The title was interesting so I started reading it with no idea what it was.

I can understand why I would have picked this book. It has elements that I enjoy enormously- a cozy mystery, intelligent, mature protagonist, New England college setting. Plus the heroine is a math and puzzle freak like me. I should have loved it but... not so much.

There were a number of things throughout the book that I found very irritating. All of the characters seemed flat, almost caricatures. The prose was frequently awkward and situations unrealistic (You drop by a friend's store and then, without explanation, suddenly start cleaning it like Merry Maids?) Some short passages that are good examples of prose/dialogue problems:

I called my boyfriend and invited him on a date. "Unless you're completely exhausted," I added. He flexed his muscles. "Not me," he said. "And anyway, I'm moving in until this situation is resolved, remember?" I took that as a date. (He flexed his muscles on the phone?)
And
"I hoped you'd see it that way."
"That doesn't mean I don't agree with her."
Two negative words, like multiplying two negative numbers, gave a positive. Too bad. I'd counted on Bruce's support as I continued to work out the scenario for xxxx's murder. (OK, we get it. You're a math geek)

And
"I mentally rolled up the imaginary sleeves of my sleeveless knit top. Not a problem; I'd taught a whole course in imaginary numbers last year." (imaginary sleeves/imaginary numbers. Uh huh)

Worst of all, there were major logic fails that are unforgivable in a mystery. It's difficult to talk about them without including spoilers. A minor non-spoiler example: I don't think every character needs to behave in a perfectly logical way- people don't. But if you were very worried about something that could be resolved by spending a couple of dollars on reverse look up, wouldn't you do it? (Not to mention possibly solving a murder while you're at it)

This wasn't the worst mystery I've ever read by any means and I don't want to go so far as to say I didn't like it at all. I did finish it and the author included a few very simple puzzles at the end. Basically, just another book in crying need of a strong editor.

Normally I'm obsessive about reading every book in a series. If it were a freebie, I might pick up a later book to see if they get any better, but other than that I have no interest in pursuing.
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on November 5, 2011
It's a cozy mystery and this means atmosphere, cleverness, and no more than a modicum of violence. It was a pleasure to read the incidental mentions of things mathematical. There was no meaningless and artificial juxtaposition of terminology. Where mathematics is mentioned, the lingo is accurate. Told in the first person, the narrator is self-effacing, leaving it to us to judge whether she is clever or not. She seems to think that she muddles through to the solution, but then, even Sherlock Holmes used to get upset with himself having missed what he thought should have been obvious. (I read the book on Amazon Kindle.)
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on September 2, 2011
The lead character is a woman with a doctorate in mathematics, creating a setting that is unusual for academic mysteries, which tend to be about English departments (as that usually is the author's field). There is a wonderfully drawn pain-in-the-ear administrator that anyone with academic experience will recognize. Readers also will learn some things about medevac helicopters; I always appreciate mysteries that teach while they entertain. I want to meet the lead character again and so have ordered the next book (not yet out). I will willingly overlook the unlikelihood that a small college such as the one at which Prof. Knowles teaches is the site of multiple murders, a necessary device to continue the series.
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on July 16, 2013
It was quite enjoyable having a "nerd"-such as a math professor- for a main character, who is not your usual conundrum amateur sleuth- police aren't knocking on her door begging for help as in other stories- just casually leave things about or hint at them. She also just stumbles along as any curious person would when a crime involves a friend or colleague. The Square Root of Murder is very well written and keeps you guessing til the very end. The analogies used are a refreshing change from the norm. The story is enthralling and keeps you on your toes. Kudos to Ada Madison! I read this book through in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it!
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on October 3, 2011
This is the first in a new series, but the author (Ada Madison) has written a number of previous books as Camille Minichino. She is probably my favorite mystery author, but since her mysteries under her own name are rather hard to get hold of, this new cozy moved easily to the top of my must-read list. I was not disappointed; it is excellent, every bit as good as her previous series. One gets a good feel for life in a New England town, campus life, and the challenges of balancing work with off-campus friends and family. As others have said, the setting is an academic one, but Professor Sophie Knowles has other dimensions to her life too, and she is capable of much warmth and human understanding. She also knows herself very well. She can admit her little shortcomings, such as not always being perfectly organized or doing everything in its proper order (as one might expect a mathematician to do). There are many humorous moments, and the story moves along quickly. I also appreciated the quick resolution near the end; this author doesn't add useless information; the book resolves well and leaves us wanting more. Well-done and beautifully written! I can't wait for the next one.
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on December 7, 2011
Good debut novel in a new cozy mystery series: Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery. The characters are well defined and fun. Obviously there are several mentions of math and statistics within the story. A chemistry professor is murdered in his office and Sophie is trying to discover the killer. Fun Read!!
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on December 27, 2011
This book was a cut above regarding the quality of the writing. The plot moved along, the characters were definitely interesting and developed, and the killer was well hidden until the end. I am looking forward to the next book in this series---which for me, will be a must read!
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on September 9, 2012
As an old Math major I appreciate the heroine being a math teacher. I think all math teachers are heroes. The plot was great and held my attention to the end. I'd give this book 100%
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