Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review of 'The Question of the Missing Head'

by E.J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen

Samuel Hoenig is an unusual mystery protagonist. Not only does he have Asperger’s Syndrome, which gives him a unique perspective on people’s attitudes and mannerisms, but he’s neither a professional detective nor amateur sleuth. As the owner and operator of Questions Answered, it’s his job to do just that — answer questions, that is.

In the story, Sam is assisted by a certain Ms. Washburn, who had a question of her own, but got enlisted to help Sam with another question dealing with baseball and Yankee Stadium. But that’s not what the story’s about. It’s about how Sam and Ms. Washburn team up to answer 1) where the head of a dead woman (preserved by cryonics) has disappeared and 2) who killed one of the scientists at the cryonics lab.

Sam is a most likeable and funny character, as is his Mother — a formidable, but kind person. Sam’s observations bring to mind the kind of perceptions and deductions Sherlock Holmes would make — only funnier.

Maybe what I loved most about Sam was that he thought it important to know what someone’s favorite Beatles song was. Should I be worried that we both love “Strawberry Fields Forever”?

Copperman and Cohen build the suspense deftly with each chapter. And I laughed — always a plus. Further, the book ends with a twist I never saw coming. In retrospect, it seems like I should have, which is a testament to the writers’ ability to hide the ball in plain sight.

I highly recommend this novel, if you enjoy funny mysteries.

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