The eighth detective A novel

Alex Pavesi

Book - 2020

"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. 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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1st Floor MYSTERY/Pavesi Alex Due Jun 10, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
Published
New York : Henry Holt and Company 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
289 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250755933
125075593X
Main Author
Alex Pavesi (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* This inventive debut sees editor Julia Hart visit a reclusive author, mathematician Grant McAllister, whose self-published work, The White Murders, she hopes to release. Grant is also the author of a mathematical paper in which he explains the "rules" of whodunits—there must be a victim or victims, one or more suspects, one or more detectives, etc. The seven stories in the book illustrate permutations made possible by changing the mix of these character types. There's a problem, however: the stories include inconsistencies, and Hart begins to notice that they also feature allusions to an infamous real-life case called the White Murder. As the tales within a tale unfold, readers are treated to wonderful mini-mysteries that are interspersed with the author and editor's conversations and followed by Hart's ingenious sleuthing into Grant's background and the truth behind The White Murders. Pavesi's language immerses readers in mid-twentieth-century England and in the struggles, cruelties, and oddities of his multitude of carefully portrayed characters. Give this atmospheric puzzle to fans of short stories and of the American Mystery Classics series. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In a debut from mathematics PhD Pavesi, editor Julia Hart hopes to convince Professor Grant McAllister to republish a series of detective stories mathematically calculated to represent seven perfect permutations of the genre, but she's starting to notice inconsistencies that could be clues to something more. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. Agent: James Willis, Watson, Little (U.K.). (Aug.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"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, asharp, 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. THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE is a cerebral, inventive novel with a modern twist, wherenothing is what it seems, and proof that the best mysteries break all the rules"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A young editor travels to a remote Mediterranean village to convince a reclusive writer to republish his classic detective stories, before discovering that the books hide even greater mysteries. A first novel. 125,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A New York Times Top Ten Thriller of 2020

"Dizzying, dazzling… When did you last read a genuinely original thriller? The wait is over."
—A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

"One of the most innovative mysteries in recent memory." - The Wall Street Journal

There are rules for murder mysteries. There must be a victim. A suspect. A detective.

Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked all the rules out – and wrote seven perfect detective stories to demonstrate. 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 brilliant, 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 love letter to classic detective stories with a modern twist, where nothing is as it seems, and proof that the best mysteries break all the rules.