Monday, November 18, 2013

Intellectual Intrigue and Mathematics Make a Deep Mystery

If you like intellectual intrigue then Paul Robertson’s An Elegant Solution is the book for you. Young Leonhard is a math student of Master Johann, the stern Chair of Mathematics at the university in Basel, Switzerland in the eighteenth century. 

By morning Leonhard works for Mistress Dorothea, wife of Master Johann, to pay for his afternoon mathematics lessons. By routine and by accident Leonhard finds himself at the heart of Master Johann’s family intrigue when the local coach driver disappears. 

As devoted as Leonhard is to mathematics and elegant formulas, he is likewise devoted to Nicolaus and Daniel, the highly competitive sons of Master Johann, who have unexpectedly returned to Basel leaving behind prestigious university chairs in foreign countries. Leonhard finds himself inextricably drawn into a mystery of spirals, deaths, and unanswered questions as he seeks to understand what is happening to the quiet town of Basel he knows so well. 

Paul Robertson is methodical as he sets the scene and provides the history surrounding the mystery behind university chairs at Basel. He spends a lot of time describing what young Leonhard’s world in Basel was like, and he is effective in transporting his readers to that same world. On the downside, Robertson takes his time creating Leonhard’s world, and I found myself at 100 pages into his novel still waiting for that pull that would take me completely into the book.

Yet, I found Robertson’s writing, descriptions, and meticulous research compelling because he introduced me to a new world of intellectual intrigue and jealously. And I even found myself not minding the mathematical discussion that gave credibility to his plot. Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson to review.

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