Saturday, March 26, 2011

Separate From the World by P.L.Gaus

My understanding of Old Order Amish, gleaned from books and a short visit to Pennsylvania Amish country, doesn't prepare me to comprehend what it means to accept the mantle of its rules for living.

Not only is Separate From the World an interesting mystery, but it also explores the complex relationship between the " English" and the "Amish" as well as the difficulties of living under the yoke of being Amish.

Professor Michael Branden is approached by an Amish man who contends that his brother's death was not an accident. The fact that both brothers are dwarfs plays into a developing fraction within the Amish community.

While he us telling his story to the professor they are interrupted by a commotion outside. A young woman has fallen off a bell tower. It appears to be suicide.

Professor Branden and Pastor Cal as well as the Sheriff, Bruce Robertson, are all involved in the investigation of both deaths.It  soon becomes apparent that there is a link between these deaths.

At the same time there is a backdrop to this investigation. Some in the community have been involved in generic research conducted by university students. The Amish, because of intermarriage within the sect, are prone to several medical anomalies. The incidence of dwarfism is more pronounced in the Amish community.

One group of Amish wish to follow a leader who desires to have the community avail themselves of modern medicine. The presiding Bishop warns against those who depart from traditional Amish ways.

Gaus's knowledge of the Amish allows him to present the case for "English" medicine and the temptation that poses in  juxtaposition with the choices that the Amish make and their acceptances of those choices.

Mystery and Suspense Challenge

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