Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: The Witch of Agnesi by Robert Spiller

The Witch of Agnesi (Bonnie Pinkwater series)The Witch of Agnesi by Robert Spiller

The particulars: Mystery, Medallion Press, available as e-book and in print.
 Grade: B


Bonnie Pinkwater is a teacher, a good one. She cares about her students. So when Peyton Newlin, a thirteen-year-old math genius, disappears, Bonnie starts nosing around.One by one, students who were competing with the young genius start turning up dead and Bonnie suspects Peyton may be narrowing the field. Then Peyton himself turns up murdered. Bonnie's investigation ratchets up.What she discovers is a coven of witches, a teenage comic book magnate, a skinhead Neanderthal with violent propensities, an abusive father, an amorous science teacher, and a mistranslated medieval mathematics manuscript. Somehow, all the pieces have intersected at the tragically brief life of her math protégé.As the body count mounts, Bonnie realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Because whoever is eliminating her beloved students, has now decided East Plains, Colorado would be better off without one aging math teacher.

The Review:
I downloaded this when it was offered for free at BN a couple of weeks ago. The title intrigued me, and at first I believed it had a paranormal element. Someone claimed it was YA. I don’t quite agree with that. Yes, it felt like a YA mystery but the narrator was Bonnie Pinkwater, a 53 year old math teacher.

Missus P as her students call her  were a hoot. I loved her for her snarky thoughts, both when it came to students and police officers. But the main reason I loved her was the fact that she felt like a teacher that genuinely cared about her students.

The book starts with a murder, and soon Bonnie Pinkwater is hip deep trying to solve it. ( I felt for the cop, who happened to be one of her old students.) As she tries to solve murder mysteries, and dealing with upset parents, and equally upset students, she is also moving on after her husband’s death. I must admit that I felt lukewarm towards Armen. Oh, he was a nice character, but it took a long time before I realized that he was 50, I thought he was 40ish.

Still, this was a quaint mystery with a touch of romance. I liked the plot, it wasn’t fast moving but the twists took me by surprise.

Will I pick up the next one? Maybe. It depends on the price.

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