The Exhausted Amanuensis: Richard Behrens

‘A Lizzie Borden Girl Detective Mini Mystery #6’

Installment #6 of our series has Lizzie joining forces with her older sister, Emma. Lizzie is visited by the wife of famed mathematician, Professor Welles. According to his missus, begun exhibiting signs of dementia. In fact, he spouts erratically about mathematical theorems & time travel. Most recently, he’s begun insisting that he has traveled through time personally & is about to commit murder. Unfortunately, the victim of said murder is himself.
Unsure exactly how she can help, Lizzie agrees to try anyway. She & Emma go undercover as an amanuensis & a maid, respectively. While poor Emma is worked half to death, Lizzie listens intently to the babbling Professor. It isn’t long before she is sure that something sinister is going on.

As much as I love this series, I disliked this book. I fully supported ‘era-appropriate’ wording & dialogue. However, when it is utilized to the point where the reader has difficulty following along, one must rethink its usage. Almost the entire interaction between Lizzie & the Professor is filled with scientific and/or mathematical dialogue. Theorems, word problems, etc. were enough to make one’s head spin.

Being that this series is noted to be a ‘mini’, there is limited time in which to start & end with a good mystery in the middle. Muddling the plot with dialogue fit for a Johns-Hopkins’ Lab is a bit over the top. I am still a huge fan of the series. I simply didn’t care for this one. As a side note, even if this book is skipped, readers won’t miss any pertinent info about Lizzie’s life. It hurts to give it 3 stars, but I have to do so.

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