Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

About the Book

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.

My Thoughts

This is a book that I have been much anticipating and I’m so pleased to say that it absolutely lived up to my expectations!

Eight Detectives is different to anything I’ve read before. It follows Julia Hart, an editor for an independent publisher, who is staying with author Grant McAllister, a maths professor who many years ago wrote a short story collection to show how all murder mysteries are based on mathematic equations.

The novel was discombobulating in the beginning as you find yourself reading the first story in Grant’s collection. I was expecting to meet Julia first but I was delighted to be wrong-footed. The first story is engaging and intriguing, and a bit creepy – which sets the reader up for a brilliant novel. After each short story Julia and Grant discuss them and what she has noticed about them.

The short stories are very Agatha Christie-esque and all are set in the 1930s so if you like those then I think you’ll love this novel. The whole novel is a mystery and it all interconnects; it really is very clever and engaging. Julia Hart is a brilliant character, I loved following her in this book!

There is so much in this novel that I can’t write about as it’s definitely a book that works best by throwing yourself into it knowing very little. It really is such a clever, intriguing and ultimately very satisfying read. I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Eight Detectives is out now and available here.


28 thoughts on “Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

  1. Oh, this does sound fantastic, Hayley! Not only does the plot itself sound good, but I really do like those Golden Age mysteries; I’m sure I would very much enjoy this one. This is going on the wish list.

  2. This definitely does sound like a different read though a bit complex too. Glad it worked out well for you though. Great review!

  3. I’ll have to be the contrary voice here. While I certainly found it interesting – there’s a review on my blog – I found too many shortcomings. Some of the stories seemed forced – something towards the end improves them, but as they are presented, some of them, bar the first one, seemed lacking. They also mostly seemed much bleaker than anything from the Golden Age. The motivations of one character in the central narrative don’t make much sense at all, and, speaking as a mathematician, the mathematics is underwhelming.

    It’s an interesting experiment, and worth looking at, but the more I think about it, the more I see problems with it.

    • It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it. I know what you mean about the maths being underwhelming but I was so swept up in the story and where it was going with Julia that it didn’t bother me. It was good escapism. I hope your next read is a much better one for you.

  4. This sounds amazing. Anything that’s a bit Agatha Christie-esque is definitely for me. Thanks for the review

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