Cast a Blue Shadow

After the first blizzard of an early winter, a Mennonite college girl with a troubled past appears curled up and bloodied outside the office of her childhood psychiatrist. Mute for many years as a child, Martha Lehman is again not talking.

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After the first blizzard of an early winter, a Mennonite college girl with a troubled past appears curled up and bloodied outside the office of her childhood psychiatrist. Mute for many years as a child, Martha Lehman is again not talking.

That same morning, the wealthy mother of Martha’s boyfriend is found murdered in her mansion in the Amish country west of Millersburg, Ohio. Professor Michael Branden and Sheriff Bruce Robertson begin an investigation that, in the space of a single weekend, implicates Martha, threatens to tear apart the fabric of Millersburg College, pits one professor against another, and brings Branden’s wife Caroline near to a breaking point over the girl she once tried so fervently to help and who now seems determined to let no one help her at all.

As Martha struggles to understand her enigmatic past, and as Professor Branden wrestles with the murder of the college’s leading benefactor, the real story of Martha Lehman emerges – born Amish, converted to Mennonite, and drawn to the English world for the worst of reasons.

In Cast a Blue Shadow, his fourth Ohio Amish Mystery, P. L. Gaus continues to explore the thresholds of culture and faith among the Amish sects and their English neighbors of northern Ohio. Through interwoven plots, Gaus portrays these ways of life at odds with one another despite their seeming harmony. Coupling these clashes with the petty and desperate scufflings of academic politics, Gaus spins a suspenseful tale of power, pride, and tested faith.

With Cast a Blue Shadow, Professors Branden and Gaus have done it again.

Excerpts from Reviews of Cast a Blue Shadow

Wooster (Ohio) Daily Record
“A colorful storyteller, Gaus relates much of the mystery of the Amish sect as he gives the reader insight into life in a small town in Holmes County, Ohio.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Gaus’s eye for detail gives depth and power to a simple tale about complicated people.”

Publishers Weekly
“The author portrays the conflicts among the various Amish sects, whose varying degrees of strictness in some instances cause them to shun each other. Eschewing any academic pedantry, Gaus manages to expertly enlighten as well as entertain.”

Booklist
“A fascinating look into the unique and complex worlds of the Amish and academia.”

Ohioana Quarterly
“ . . . weaves a suspenseful tale around the clashes between the Amish sects of Northern Ohio and their ‘English’ neighbors.”

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about the author

P.L. Gaus

Paul has lived in Wooster, Ohio, for the past 36 years with his wife Madonna. His extensive knowledge of the culture and lifestyle of the Ohio Amish comes from over thirty-five years of travel throughout Holmes and surrounding counties in Ohio, where the world's largest Amish and Mennonite population sprawls out over the countryside near Millersburg, Wooster, and Sugarcreek.

Paul's novels have been reviewed in prominent journals and newspapers, for instance, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Ohioana Quarterly, and the New York Times Book Review.