Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

3.5 Stars from me

This is a supercute throwback style book which is actually a set of short stories all linked within one overarching thread.

The stories themselves have a warm fuzzy feeling similar to watching an old Miss Marple or Poirot on a Sunday afternoon. They are all quirky and a little bit convoluted but clever none the less.

Each one is based – in accordance with the overarching theory – on a set of mathematical rules for murder mysteries.

The story that ties them all together is yet another mystery and one that unfolds in tiny pieces. Overall I found this to be a bit of a slow burn, albeit a very enjoyable wander through some murder mysteries with clever little twists.

Blurb: A thrilling, wildly inventive nesting doll of a mystery, in which a young editor travels to a remote village in the Mediterranean in the hopes of convincing a reclusive writer to republish his collection of detective stories, only to realize that there are greater mysteries beyond the pages of books.

There are rules for murder mysteries. There must be a victim. A suspect. A detective. The rest is just shuffling the sequence. Expanding the permutations. Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out – calculating the different orders and possibilities of a mystery into seven perfect detective stories he quietly published. But that was thirty years ago. Now Grant lives in seclusion on a remote Mediterranean island, counting the rest of his days.

Until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor knocks on his door. Julia wishes to republish his book, and together they must revisit those old stories: an author hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.

But there are things in the stories that don’t add up. Inconsistencies left by Grant that a sharp-eyed editor begins to suspect are more than mistakes. They may be clues, and Julia finds herself with a mystery of her own to solve.

Alex Pavesi’s The Eighth Detective is a cerebral, inventive novel with a modern twist, where nothing is what it seems, and proof that the best mysteries break all the rules. 

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