Select one of the keywords
The Eighth Detective    by Alex Pavesi order for
Eighth Detective
by Alex Pavesi
Order:  USA  Can
Henry Holt, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Alex Pavesi's innovative The Eighth Detective explores 'the mathematical structure of murder mysteries' through a series of interconnected short stories, written by mystery author and professor of mathematics, Grant McAllister.

Thirty years before, in the early 1940s, McAllister wrote seven detective stories (in a collection entitled The White Murders) to demonstrate the rules by which all murder mysteries must abide. Now he lives a reclusive life on a small Mediterranean island - why?

Editor Julia Hart of Blood Type Books has come to the island to talk to McAllister about publishing his book to a wider audience. Together, they review each of the seven stories, and for each of them, Julia points out minor inconsistencies that she's discovered and thinks were deliberate.

They also review how each story fits the mathematical structure, which has four ingredients (suspects, victim(s), detective(s), killer(s)) with conditions applying to each one. Julia seems to be probing the author with intrusive questions, including about a cold case murder - is she the eighth detective?

Not being a huge fan of short stories, I kept reading mainly from intellectual curiosity. It's very clever and with a remarkable ending that makes the reader want to go back and start from the beginning again, making this a recursive mystery. It's one that I highly recommend to anyone fascinated by the variations of the genre itself.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews