Read Cast a Blue Shadow Online

Authors: P. L. Gaus

Cast a Blue Shadow

Table of Contents



Title Page


Copyright Page




Chapter 1 - Saturday, November 2 Dawn, Holmes County, Ohio

Chapter 2 - The Night Before—Friday, November 1 6:00 P.M.

Chapter 3 - Friday, November 1 8:10 P.M.

Chapter 4 - Friday, November 1 8:30 P.M.

Chapter 5 - Friday, November 1 8:45 P.M.

Chapter 6 - Friday, November 1 8:50 P.M.

Chapter 7 - Friday, November 1 9:00 P.M.

Chapter 8 - Friday, November 1 9:20 P.M.

Chapter 9 - Saturday, November 2 7:30 A.M.

Chapter 10 - Saturday, November 2 8:00 A.M.

Chapter 11 - Saturday, November 2 8:35 A.M.

Chapter 12 - Saturday, November 2 8:50 A.M.

Chapter 13 - Saturday, November 2 8:55 A.M.

Chapter 14 - Saturday, November 2 8:58 A.M.

Chapter 15 - Saturday, November 2 9:15 A.M.

Chapter 16 - Saturday, November 2 9:35 A.M.

Chapter 17 - Saturday, November 2 9:45 A.M.

Chapter 18 - Saturday, November 2 9:45 A.M.

Chapter 19 - Saturday, November 2 10:20 A.M.

Chapter 20 - Saturday, November 2 10:30 A.M.

Chapter 21 - Saturday, November 2 10:35 A.M.

Chapter 22 - Saturday, November 2 10:50 A.M.

Chapter 23 - Saturday, November 2 11:00 A.M.

Chapter 24 - Saturday, November 2 11:20 A.M.

Chapter 25 - Saturday, November 2 11:45 A.M.

Chapter 26 - Saturday, November 2 11:50 A.M.

Chapter 27 - Saturday, November 2 Noon

Chapter 28 - Saturday, November 2 12:30 P.M.

Chapter 29 - Saturday, November 2 1:45 P.M.

Chapter 30 - Saturday, November 2 6:20 P.M.

Chapter 31 - Saturday, November 2 7:40 P.M.

Chapter 32 - Saturday, November 2 8:30 P.M.

Chapter 33 - Sunday, November 3 Noon

Chapter 34 - Sunday, November 3 1:00 P.M.

Chapter 35 - Sunday, November 3 1:20 P.M.

Chapter 36 - Sunday, November 3 2:30 P.M.

Chapter 37 - Sunday, November 3 4:45 P.M.

Chapter 38 - Sunday, November 3 5:00 P.M.

Chapter 39 - Sunday, November 3 5:15 P.M.

Chapter 40 - Sunday, November 3 5:25 P.M.

Chapter 41 - Sunday, November 3 7:15 P.M.

Chapter 42 - Sunday, November 3 9:30 P.M.

Chapter 43 - Sunday, November 3 11:20 P.M.

Chapter 44 - Monday, November 4 8:10 A.M.

Chapter 45 - Monday, November 4 10:15 A.M.

Chapter 46 - Monday, November 4 7:30 P.M.

Chapter 47 - Thursday, November 7 7:30 P.M.


Teaser chapter



PAUL LOUIS GAUS lives with his wife, Madonna, in Wooster, Ohio, just a few miles north of Holmes County, where the world’s largest and most varied settlement of Amish and Mennonite people is found. His knowledge of the culture of the “Plain People” stems from more than thirty years of extensive exploration of the narrow blacktop roads and lesser gravel lanes of this pastoral community, which includes several dozen sects of Anabaptists living closely among the so-called English or Yankee non-Amish people of the county. Paul lectures widely about the Amish people he has met and about the lifestyles, culture, and religion of this remarkable community of Christian pacifists. He can be found online at:
. He also maintains a Web presence with Mystery Writers of America:

For Laura and Amy, and dedicated to my father, Robert L. Gaus, 1924-2002, one of the quiet heroes of the twentieth century.


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.● Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) ● Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R oRL, England ● Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) ● Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) ● Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India ● Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) ● Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R oRL, England

Published by Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Plume Printing, January 2011

Copyright © P. L. Gaus, 2003

Excerpt from
A Prayer for the Night
, copyright © P. L. Gaus, 2006

All rights reserved



The Library of Congress has catalogued the Ohio University Press edition as follows:

Gaus, Paul L.

Cast a blue shadow : an Ohio Amish mystery / P. L. Gaus.

p. cm.

eISBN: 9781101482247

1. Amish Country (Ohio)—Fiction. 2. College teachers—Fiction. 3. Amish—Fiction. 4. Ohio—Fiction. I. Title

PS3557.A9517 C37 2003

813’.54—dc22 2003058094

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.



All of the characters in this novel are purely fictional, and any apparent resemblance to people living or dead is coincidental. The Holmes County setting for this story is authentic, but Millersburg College is fictional.

The recent sensational trial of an Amish midwife in Holmes County was not used as a model for anything in the present story, and no similarities with, or conclusions about, this trial or the people involved are intended.

The author especially wishes to thank Pastor Dean Troyer, Heyl Road Church of Christ, Wooster, Ohio.

I Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money, have wandered from
the faith and pierced their hearts with many griefs.
I am always humbled by the infinite ingenuity of the
Lord, who can make a red barn cast a blue shadow.

—E. B. White


Saturday, November 2 Dawn, Holmes County, Ohio

CURLED up in her black down parka, Martha Lehman lay on her side, back pressed firmly against the polished wood door, knees drawn tightly to her chest. The white block lettering on the door read Dr. Evelyn White Carson, Psychiatrist. Martha was aware only of the rough, cold carpet pressing into her cheek and of long, ragged breaths that repeatedly dragged her out of a trance. Thus, for an hour, before sunrise bled pink hues through the window at the end of the second-floor hall, she lay in a stupor, hounded again by a dreadful loneliness.

In wakeful moments, with a fervor born of an all-too-familiar pain, she renewed a childhood vow. Silence, she thought, had never betrayed her, and it was Silence she’d cling to now. Silence had brought her to Dr. Carson as a child, and Silence she would trust again. Then, it had been Carson who had understood the wordlessness. The sorrow and isolation of a mute child. It will be Carson, now, she prayed, who will remember.

Thoughts formed only intermittently, in a cold, tortured nightmare of helplessness.

Silence again, she vowed—now, more than ever before.
The snap and pop of blue cotton shirts and black denim vests in a stiff winter breeze, clutching at her from a clothesline.

Alone again, and safe that way.
Menacing, cracked lips that sternly mouthed, “Save your little sisters.” A childhood nightmare, empowered, somehow, to hurt her again.

How had She known?
A man’s blue shirt tore loose from the clothesline, enveloped her face, and smothered her, its weight unbearable, its odor a familiar horror. On weak child’s legs, she struggled to carry the burden of an adult, and managed to breathe only in gasps.

Too soon for Her to have known it. And yet She had.
The wind began to whisper judgment from the clothesline. Shirt sleeves snapping near her eyes. Wagging fingers, all of them.

Fallen like Babylon, Martha Lehman.
“So, choose, young Martha,” an urgent voice pleaded. “Choose the better way.”

Sonny, what have you done?
The frowning congregation walked out of the barn, all their faces down, all their backs turned. No one dared to believe it possible. To accept the hell it signified.

What plans now? He’s lost to you. No place for plain girls in his murderous world. Nor any place in the old. No haven for outcast girls.

The cold tracks of tears on her cheeks slowly awakened her. She unclasped her knees and felt a binding stickiness between her fingers. Unzipping her parka, she instinctively pressed her palms to her belly and felt the stickiness there, too. Sitting up, she brushed hair from her eyes, smearing her forehead. She looked down in confusion and saw her white lace apron stained dark red. Gasping, she fell back on her side, knotting her fingers into the bloody fabric.

Vaguely, now, she recalled brief snatches of last night’s disastrous conversation with Sonny’s mother. She dimly remembered driving away in the snow. A sleepless night of confusion and frustration. Her decision to go back. The blood. Running. Fleeing in the storm.

But these were indistinct memories. Perhaps more dreams, she thought, as she lay motionless. Mere impressions. As if her mind had conjured events that her heart could not allow.

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