Samuel Hoenig, the protagonist and first-person narrator in the second book in the series (following the wonderful The Question of the Missing Head last year) by E.J. Copperman, is 30 years old and still living with his mother. His business, Questions Answered, was opened six months ago in Piscataway, New Jersey, and as the tale begins a woman about 27 years old who introduces herself as Mrs. Sheila McInerney hires him to answer a rather startling question: “Who is the man in my bed who calls himself my husband?” She relates a scenario wherein she met this man at a party, shared a few glasses of red wine with him, and has no memory of the next three days, at which point he told her that they were so taken with each other that they married on the second of those days.
Samuel was diagnosed at the age of 16 with Asperger’s Syndrome, has an IQ that he describes as “barely in the genius range,” and depends to a large extent on his mother to interpret social cues for him. He modestly says “I have a talent for observation and research. Most people have some talent. That happens to be mine.” To assist him in answering the question with regard to which he has been hired, he persuades a former client, Janet Washburn, to work for him. She proves herself an invaluable assistant as he works to untangle the question posed, not an easy job by any means. When first one, then another dead body is found, things get much more complex.
The author’s trademark humor is on display in nearly every sentence of this delightful book, with suspense ratcheting up till nearly its conclusion. I must admit to some moments of confusion with the large cast of characters, at times difficult to differentiate among. As I said about the first book in the series, perhaps one of the most intriguing things about this series has to do with the character of Samuel, whose Asperger’s he believes is not a disorder, but merely a “facet of his personality.” He tends to be obsessive about some things, e.g., the Beatles and the New York Yankees (which this Mets fan skimmed hurriedly). Although perhaps not suspenseful in the usual way one might expect, I devoured this book in little more than twenty-four hours. I probably don’t have to add that I loved it, and it is highly recommended.