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The Oxford Murders

(Los crímenes de Oxford #1)

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3.33  ·  Rating details ·  5,472 ratings  ·  639 reviews
Two mathematicians must join forces to stop a serial killer in this spellbinding international bestseller

A paperback sensation in Argentina, Spain, and the United Kingdom, The Oxford Murders has been hailed as "a remarkable feat" (Time Out London) and its author as "one of Argentina's most distinctive voices" (The Times Literary Supplement). It begins on a summer day in
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Paperback, 197 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
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Hannah I believe they're 1 2 3 mirrored. So imagine a backwards 4 next to a front facing 4.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  5,472 ratings  ·  639 reviews


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Orient
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like math and mystery
This book combines logic, philosophy and criminal law. It is quite an interesting mystery with a twisty end. The author provided some clues, but even then I was shocked to read the solution. Also I liked the mathematical stuff, like Godel's Theorem, the Pythagorean sect and other. Though as a not so-much-experienced-in-math, I would have wanted some explanations at the end of the book, maybe some notes, made by the author. But I confess, it was interesting to search more info in the Net for furt ...more
Marvin
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
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Matt

I watched about one third of the film (starring Frodo Baggins and Winston Smith) and I found the story quite good and interesting enough to switch over to the book before being spoiled by moving pictures.

A series of murders in Oxford, seemingly based on a logical sequence of symbols with some Wittgenstein philosopy, Gödel incompleteness and Heisenberg uncertainty added to the mix.

What’s not to like when mathematics meets murder and logical reasoning solves mysteries? Well, finding the one sing
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Patricia
I bought this book a few years ago and never picked it up. When I reorganised one of my bookshelves, I came across it and decided to finally read it. I quite enjoyed it because I’m interested in philosophy but most parts about logic and mathematics went straight over my head. The plot is interesting enough, but it is a very short book in which you don’t really get to know the characters.
Overall an enjoyable quick read.
Paul Secor
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Anni
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
SLEUTHING BY NUMBERS

This is a deceptively easy page-turner and more challenging than it first seems. The intriguing links between mathematics, magic and crime-solving make for a tongue-in-cheek take on the traditional cosy English murder mystery. What's more, the reader can enjoy the added bonus of painlessly absorbing some interesting philosophical concepts along the way.

Extract:-
'The mechanism for corroborating the truth that goes all the way back to Aristotle and Euclid, the proud machinery t
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Christine
Jul 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
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Gary Guinn
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
My actual rating for The Oxford Murders is probably about 3.5 stars because Guillermo Martinez is a good writer. But I would describe this book as a novel written by a mathematician for mathematicians. Almost all the characters, except for the detective, are either professional or amateur mathematicians--including the first victim. And a significant percentage of the 197 pages of the novel consist not of story, but of one mathematician talking to another mathematician about some other mathematic ...more
LJ
Jun 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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Sarah
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, take-a-chance
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.
Gavin
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
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
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Angelina
2.5 stars
I stumbled on this book when looking for other books by the author and since I love good mysteries and the concept sounded intriguing, I decided to give it a go.
As a mystery, it was nothing special - although the idea was interesting, the way it was done left a lot to be desired. It was unexciting and not very convincing. At least there some interesting bits about maths and a story abouy Buzzati that kept me going.
Andres
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Valerie
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Tiffany
May 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
This was an ok read but I don't think I'd pick up another Guillermo Martinez in the future. The plot was interesting enough but the characters were quite flat. One word of advice for those who haven't seen the film adaptation: don't watch it, it's one of the worst book adaptation I've watched!
G. Lawrence
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Loved it. It had the old-fashioned air of an Agatha Christie novel combined with the mystery of maths and murder. Half-guessed the twist at the end, but that didn't spoil it for me a jot. Marvellous book. Highly recommended
Cherie
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I did't understand the math stuff but I did know most of the names. The story was arresting and the ending a surprise.
Natalie (CuriousReader)
I liked the idea of a mystery set in Oxford, with mathematics as a central theme running through it. The story follows a young maths PhD student whose path crosses with a string of murders which he is trying to figure out, alongside his new English friend Seldom - another maths professional, and the police force in Oxford. The deaths almost appear not to be crimes (or have a criminal behind them) but with each dead body there is an encrypted message to go with it, to suggest a serial killer is o ...more
James
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this short mystery fascinating due to its cerebral nature. Joining serious mathematics with murder made this novel unique in my experience.

When an Argentine math student at Oxford (presumedly based on the author's own experience) discovers the smothered body of his landlady, conventional wisdom points to a family member with the most prosaic of motives. However a famous logician, Arthur Seldom, and author of a book on the mathematics of serial killers, shares the appearance of a strange
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Sophia
Jul 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
Nope. this book was so badly written. it was like a bad fan fic with no emotion behind the voices. not for me thanks!
Connie
Jan 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF. Stupid. Two brilliant mathematicians who work together to solve a murder using their mathematical theorems? Really?
Bayneeta
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patricia
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the main plot but there was too much extraneous maths for me. One for the Charity Shop!
Jan C
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: england, mystery, 2019
I enjoyed this. Unfortunately I had it on the shelf for a while. I picked it up yesterday and realized I just had 40 pp left. So I finished it today.

It was on the shelf too long - I had to return to the beginning to refresh my memory about it.
Lorenzo Berardi
Jul 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
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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
KL Caley
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, I am surprised this book I only 3 stars on Goodreads. There is very little to dislike about this book. It is a strange mix of mystery and mathematics which may seem a little heavy going at first (but stick with it people), you soon get loads of twists and turns that will keep you guessing all the way through which for me is the best bit about a mystery novel.

This story follows a young mathematician who having won a scholarship has relocated to Oxford. Soon after his arrival, his landla

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Roisin
Mar 26, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Fiona
Guillermo, Guillermo, Guillermo. There is a long and illustrious history of fictional policemen running round Oxford after serial killers, and none of them sound like that.

Also I am 30 pages in and it is clearly your man the pathologist. Nobody can pinpoint time of death that accurately, while still at the crime scene, unless they're the one that did it. Just saying.

Now that I've finished it:

Let's face it. This is not a great crime novel. It falls into all the traps - Detective Inspector Unprofe
...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

Other books in the series

Los crímenes de Oxford (2 books)
  • Los crímenes de Alicia

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