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The Oxford Murders

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3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,350 ratings  ·  298 reviews
Gödel's Theorem of Incompleteness is familiar territory to the young South American mathematician who arrives in Oxford. Murder, however, is not. Yet barely has he greeted his elderly landlady - and her rather luscious granddaughter - when he is bidding her a posthumous farewell. Mrs Eagleton is murdered in her wheelchair. The only clue to the crime is a cryptic symbol and ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published 2005 by Abacus (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Marvin
This novel has more red herrings than a communist fish market.

But that's OK because I like novels that throws you off and keeps you guessing. Even if some of the herrings are obvious, there are always a few that swim by when you are not expecting them. The Oxford Murders is a nifty mystery about two Oxford academics that are trying to solve a murder and if it seems a little...well...academic. it's because it is. Martinez mixes a nice share of mathematics, Wittgensteinian philosophy and even some
...more
Paul Secor
Not much of a "mystery" - I had it pegged maybe 1/3 of the way through - except for the spin at the end. That would be ok if there were some positives offsetting it. Unfortunately, except for a few graceful passages of writing about Oxford (I've never been there, but what Mr. Martinez wrote felt real to me), there's not much I can say that's positive. The conversations about mathematics were boring and mostly beyond my understanding - not to mention false sounding (real mathematicians wouldn't h ...more
Roisin
Feb 24, 2008 Roisin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime enthusiast commuters
I have had to give this book three stars because, essentially, it was a really enjoyable read [as most crime novels of this kind are]. However, although its a classic example of a who-dunnit I felt hampered by the fact that it seemed so incredibly badly written and equally poorly edited. I am aware that it is a translation and perhaps this goes some way to excusing it. The fact that the writer is himself a mathmetician and not some kind of writer can barely be seen as an excuse, plently of good ...more
LJ
First Sentence: Now that the years have passed and everything’s been forgotten, and now that I’ve received a terse e-mail from Scotland with the sad news of Seldom’s death, I feel I can break my silence (which he never asked for anyway) and tell the truth about events that reached the British papers in the summer of ’93 with macabre and sensationalist headlines, but to which Seldom and I always referred – perhaps due to the mathematical connotation – simply as the series, or the Oxford Series.

An
...more
Valerie
Dec 02, 2010 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kathleen
Recommended to Valerie by: Book Club
Rant, possibly with spoilers,

As a young girl, I read with my grandma all the Agatha Christie books, and I really enjoyed the ABC Murders, the idea of a logical series being used as a smokescreen was very alluring to me. I am irritated that this book, which takes nearly the same idea, with the same twist, does not in any way allude to or acknowledge, the brilliant Agatha Christie.

I am now going to reread the ABC Murders, perhaps the author paid such delicate homage to her, that I've somehow misse
...more
Gavin
Murder by numbers, quite literally. Two mathematicians, one an ageing professor, the other an eager young student, set out to unravel a series of murders in and around the ancient University city of Oxford.

There are puzzles within puzzles throughout this book, which should keep most people guessing until the denouement, even those eminent mathematicians out there. I recently watched the film adaptation starring John Hurt and Frodo. A good job was done on said adaptation. Both book and film are w
...more
Sarah
Very enjoyable. I especially liked the Argentine view of England. It would have been even better if the translator had written it with an accent. Perhaps the best would be an audio reading with an Argentinian accent. I tried to do it in my head but kept slipping back into rather banal english.
Andrew Paxman
This is a short, compelling thriller about a series of murders, or what appears to be a series and what appear to be murders, in early 1990s Oxford. What makes it unique is its narration by an Argentine graduate student – modelled on the author, a Buenos Aires mathematics professor – and its interweaving of meditations on mathematical principles, notably those concerning the variety of possible explanations for observed phenomena. This is much less pretentious than it sounds. Though a bit of a s ...more
Chris
I like watching Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis. (Okay, for Inspector Lewis it's because I like Hathaway, but still). I liked Numbers for a bit.

I didn't like this book.

Sometimes I don't mind when you can figure out the solution by page 30. The Blood Doctor is somewhat like that but it is still a good read because of the characters.

Not interesting characters here.

And boy, did I mind.

And the book is like Numbers but after the first season and a half, you know when it got stupid (Honestly, Char
...more
Andres
I would not recommend this book to anyone seeking a traditional murder story. In my opinion, any given murder story should be similar to others like it, so readers know what to expect. Also, it should give the reader a chance to be ahead of the detective in solving the mystery, or at least be caught up with him. In this novel, the extensive mathematical logic and long paragraphs the author give us, makes it unable for anyone, except for logicians to follow. Even then, if one were to follow what ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
I would have never wondered that a movie from Hollywood could have been better than a novel by a writer from Argentina. Which is like saying that I prefer a McDonald's plastic-like burger to a succulent meaty asado. But, well, there's always a first time.

For the big screen version of "The Oxford Murders" is far from being brilliant, but still better than the original version of the story on print. I think this should tell you a lot regarding this novel. And when you do prefer the big-eyed Elijah
...more
Deb
On a summer's day in Oxford, a young Argentine mathematics student finds his landlady - an elderly woman who helped decipher the Enigma Code during World War II - murdered. Meanwhile, leading Oxford logician Arthur Seldom receives an anonymous note bearing a circle and the words, 'the first of the series. Murders begin to pile up - an old man on life-support is found dead with needle punctures in his throat, a percussionist at Blenheim Palace dies before the audience's very eyes - seemingly unco ...more
Esther
Excellent one of the best murder mysteries I've read.
Again I owe a sincere thank you to the person who recommended it though I can't remember who it was or whether the recommendation was due to the maths or the Oxford location.

It is always difficult to good the writing style in translation but it was clear and perfectly pitched to the style of the book. At times it seemed to touch on magical realism.
The math was an important element of the story but it didn't take over and the explanations were
...more
Dan Jacobson
I'm always wary about murder mysteries, particularly those written by non-authors. However Martinez, a mathematician, has been able to create a story relatable to those interested in maths, puzzles and logic, but also to those interested in a mystery or a thriller. Unlike the majority of academics who attempt to write novels, Martinez does not immerse himself too much within his field, maintaining a balance between the mystery and the maths, allowing just enough for it to play a relevant part in ...more
Graham Crawford
This book annoyed me but it has many fans (at least in its original language) so maybe there was a problem with the translation. The English prose is flat to the point of banal and the characters are ciphers.

It annoyed me even more because it pretends to be a book about mathematics but it's really a book about (magical) misdirection. I was expecting the plot to mirror a mathematical theory. What I got was a few random, lazy, and poorly explained analogies very loosely based on the uncertainty p
...more
Judy
Jun 10, 2013 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery readers not scared of a little math
Recommended to Judy by: Naomi Jensen
Shelves: my-2013-books
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery that has two mathematicians as the main characters. As a mathematician, it just tickled that part of me, because I don't find a lot of math in novels. As another reader noted, it loses some of its credibility when one mathematician explains to the other something they both already should know, but in reality it is being elucidated for the reader. This usually works better when written in the third person for that reason. On the other hand, I know when this is ha ...more
Luke Padgett
A light quick read about mathematics and murder. Martinez, an Argentinian, is evidentally well known throughout his country as a top mystery writer and I have to admit he does tell a good story. He follows the model of mystery stories set up by the greats such as Christie and P.D. James. Let the reader follow the logic of the mystery to its conclusion and throw a wrinkle in at the end. Maybe its just translated writing, but I always prefer the sparseness of language. Whomever translated this boo ...more
Mare
This is fantastic book for someone who likes mathematics. Readers looking for mystery or crim story will be dissappointed.
Alejandro Ramirez
Premio Planeta Argentina 2003. No he visto, pero hay una pelicula sobre éste libro con actores de Hollywood, dirigida por Alex de la Iglesia. Muy buena novela de misterio. Una construcción simple, sin elementos innecesarios, muy limpia. Bastante recomendable. Excelente lectura.

Una serie de pistas matemáticas para una serie de asesinatos. Trucos narrativos como cuando el personaje relata un cuento que toma lugar en ése hospital, y los gritos de un agonizante que vienen de abajo. Cierra magistralm
...more
Farhan
A welcome fresh take on the done-to-death sub-genre of serial killers. Martinez's novel is a no-nonsense account of a serial killer who is killing people who seem to be living on borrowed time and are ill enough to be expected to die at any point of time. Arthur Seldom, a great mathematician, whose book containing a chapter on serial killers, seem to be the killer's object of admiration and the killings his dubious and morbid way of earning the mathematician's respect, or so it seems.

The story
...more
Kate
"A visiting Argentine graduate student finds his landlady -- an elderly woman who helped decipher the Enigma Code during World War II -- murdered in the parlor of her quiet Oxford home.  Meanwhile, his mentor, the renowned Oxford logician Arthur Seldom receives an anonymous note bearing a circle and the words 'the first of a series.'  As the murdersd and the list ofr suspects begin to pile up and more symbols are revealed, the pair is drawn further into a calculated and deadly game.  It would appea
...more
Lauren
A grad student from Argentina goes to Oxford to carry on his mathematics education. He stays with an elderly lady and her granddaughter in their basement. Shortly after arriving, he finds his landlady dead and famous mathematician Arthur Seldom arriving with a note that tells of her death. This note has a mathematical symbol on it and states the time and place of the death. More murders are expected, with more notes to follow, and the series to be continued.

Given that the premise of this book i
...more
Came
Well, this book was not one of my chosen to read, but my literature teacher gave it to us to read it.
The book has a good plot and really catches you, because as a crime thriller, you want to advance to know what happened.
The only downside of this book is that sometimes is too focused on mathematics, in things that do not really change the book at all. Let's see if I can explain, there is a character who is a mathematician, so their knowledge on the subject is much more advanced (in most of cases
...more
Tiffany
God, what a terrible book. Well, no, I've read worse. But it's supposed to be a murder mystery, yet there is absolutely no suspense or tension whatsoever. The climax/final murder happens and you're like, "This is it?" Plus the narrator is so bland and blase about everything. Actually, you all the characters are totally underdeveloped and unlikable. I wanted to like the book -- the premise was interesting, but the whole math/serial murder connection was just not woven in well with the story. Bleh ...more
Jim
THE OXFORD MURDERS is an unusual book that tests the problem solving abilities of the reader. The major characters of this book are two mathematicians at Oxford—one a new graduate student from Argentina and the other a respected professor. There are clues that seem to require the investigators to solve a sequential series logic problem such as what number follows in the following series: 2, 4, 8__? Unfortunately the first symbol (related to the murder of an elderly woman) is a circle and there i ...more
Jose Gaona
Con este libro me ocurrió lo que ya empieza a ser la tónica en las adaptaciones cinematográficas de novelas que recurren a cierto acerbo intelectual: la simplificación y caricatura del original. La novela, claro. Siempre. Y es que las llamadas novelas de ideas, englobando dentro del saco a la ciencia ficción y a la ficción especulativa, que toman motivos argumentales de la filosofía, la matemática o la ciencia, generalmente suelen ser masacradas en sus adaptaciones cinematográficas por una cuest ...more
Will Fleming
It kept me interested enough that I didn't mind my flight being delayed more than an hour. It's stayed in my mind since I finished it, and the more I think about it the more fond I am of how its central twist somewhat belies its categorization as a murder mystery.
Zuberino
The year is 1993, and a young Argentine mathematician arrives in Oxford to continue his graduate studies. The Oxford Murders begins with so much promise - and yes, so much familiarity! The plane flies across the Atlantic and descends through cloud cover to emerge over the rolling green fields of England. 10 years after the narrator, I took that same plane, took the SAME BUS in fact from Heathrow Airport to the eternal city - the City of Dreaming Spires.

Martinez's descriptions of Oxford will rin
...more
Eaguerrant
Not the worst book out there, but the story is predictable and the two main characters spend way too much time talking about mathematical axioms and logic - slows the story down and gets boring after awhile.
Pavel
Okey, I prefer to make short reviews for the Yes/No readers who most certainly need a short Yes/No suggestion.

Yes - (read it)... if you're in the mood for exploring few philosophical concepts in the area of logic and mathematics followed by a thin plot line that goes deep only in these few segments. It will take you 2 days of relaxed reading cause the writing just doesn't allow you to go deep underneath the storyline.

No - ( do not read it :-) )... if you seek for big twists or unexpected epilo
...more
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Guillermo Martínez is an Argentine novelist and short story writer. He gained a PhD in mathematical logic at the University of Buenos Aires.

After his degree in Argentina, he worked for two years in a postdoctoral position at the Mathematical Institute, Oxford.

His most successful novel has been The Oxford Murders, written in 2003. In the same year, he was awarded the Planeta Prize for this novel,
...more
More about Guillermo Martínez...
The Book of Murder Acerca de Roderer Borges y la matemática Infierno grande Yo también tuve una novia bisexual

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