For February’s Mystery Book Club, we’re reading The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi. Mystery Book Club meets on February 17 at 7pm both at Haggard Library and virtually through Zoom. To join us virtually, register here.
From the author’s website:
All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules. There must be two or more suspects. One or more victims. Eventually, one of the suspects must be revealed as the killer…
In the 1930s, Grant McAllister, a mathematics professor turned author, worked out these rules, illustrating his ideas with a collection of crime stories.
Then Grant disappeared.
Julia Hart has finally tracked him down. An editor for a prestigious London publisher, she has some questions about his work. And she wants to know why he stopped writing.
But she’ll soon find out that some stories are best left untold.
From Publisher’s Weekly:
Pavesi’s cerebral debut blends a mystery with an academic discussion of the mystery genre. Book editor Julia Hart has come to a small Mediterranean island, the home of reclusive author Grant McAllister, to help him prepare his 25-year-old story collection, The White Murders, for reissue. Privately printed in the early 1940s, the collection was based on a 1937 paper by Grant, whose intent was “to give a mathematical definition of a murder mystery.” As the editor and author go through each of the seven stories, they discuss Grant’s mathematical rules for his fiction. Julia spots inconsistencies in each, and remarks on the fact that the collection’s title echoes an unsolved crime from the time of the book’s origin.
Pavesi clearly knows his classic murder mysteries, as shown by a story that evokes Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and all his plot tricks will please readers with a similar passion. Some may be put off by the lack of emotional depth and an overly long denouement that serves chiefly to illustrate the author’s cleverness. Whatever one’s take on this ingenious if schematic novel, Pavesi is a writer to watch.
Alex Pavesi lives in London, where he writes full time. He previously worked as a software engineer and before that obtained a Ph.D. in Mathematics. He enjoys puzzles, long walks and recreational lock picking. The Eighth Detective is his first book.
The Sherlockian by Graham Moore