Separate from the World

When Professor Michael Branden is approached by Enos Erb, an Amish dwarf, who thinks his brother Benny was murdered, the investigation becomes interrupted when a young student apparently leaps to her death from the college bell tower.

Buy the Books


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 college 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 Pastor Cal Troyer and Sheriff Bruce Robertson to seek explanations for these bizarre events.

Set against the rift between two Amish factions, one participating in a college study of genetic traits particular to their community and the other rejecting any outside influence, Separate from the World takes us inside the culture and, in a manner both gentle and grim, highlights the complex relationship of the Amish and the “English” as their separate worlds intersect.

Excerpts from Reviews of Separate from the World

Kirkus Reviews
“A perceptive look at problems that have no easy solutions.”

Publishers Weekly
“. . . a convincing plot and credible, sympathetic characters make another winner in this fine regional series”

NY Times Book Review
“With each new mystery, P. L. Gaus treats us to yet another view of life among the Old Order Amish . . .” Gaus writes with quiet gravity about aspects of their lives rarely shown to strangers.”

Portsmouth Herald (New Hampshire)
“Gaus takes the reader deep into the community, informing his prose with the Amish philosophy and the rites, relationships and problems of this isolated people. His measured approach transports the reader into the Amish world, ever beleaguered by the temptations of the outside, battered by the sudden violence, but serene in its choices.”

Ohioana Quarterly
“Gaus creates believable characters, both in the college and the local Amish community, and lets them act out their stories. His writing is crisp and fast-paced, and his depiction of the Amish sympathetic yet realistic.”

Magill Book Reviews
” . . P. L. Gaus has again created a suspenseful mystery that is remarkable for its insights into two very different cultures.”


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Separate from the World”

about the author

P.L. Gaus

Paul has lived in Wooster, Ohio, with his wife Madonna since 1977. His extensive knowledge of the culture and lifestyle of the Ohio Amish comes from over forty 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.