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The Eighth Detective

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  5,560 ratings  ·  1,274 reviews
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 wa ...more
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  5,560 ratings  ·  1,274 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is FAN-TAS-TIC!

7 different murder stories with Christie-esque vibes, smart mind games, a grotesque, claustrophobic, extremely witty world building and high tension, slow burn mystery with more than one twists and shocking ending(s)

A murder needs: victim-perpetrator and a detective! Julie Hart is sharp minded, extremely smart editor who can easily read the messages hidden behind the lines and her detail oriented mind helps her to extract the secret essence of the stories and discrepancies a
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Alex Pavesi writes a fascinating, smart and imaginative novel that examines and analyses the murder mystery genre with author and Mathematics Professor Grant McAllister, with its echoes of Agatha Christie. Now an elderly recluse living on a Mediterranean island, many years ago he wrote a collection of seven murder mysteries under the title, The White Murders. In a research paper in 1937, The Permutations of Detective Fiction, he theorises that there are rules for murder mysteries, calculating th ...more
Chelsea Humphrey
What a clever and complex story this was! I have some much respect for the author in creating this ambitious tale within a tale, and will surely be looking out for their future work. As a fan of "old timey" crime fiction, the mysteries set inside the modern day narrative was a really nice touch, although I did find myself almost wanting to rush through them to get to the present mystery at hand. The ending did feel a bit lackluster after all the build-up, but that perhaps was due to the fact tha ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Remember that I’ve rejected the view of detective stories as logical puzzles, where the clues define a unique solution and the process of deriving it is almost mathematical. It’s not, and they never do. That’s all just sleight of hand.... [T]he central purpose of a murder mystery is to give its readers a handful of suspects and the promise that in about a hundred pages one or more of them will be revealed as the murderers. That’s the beauty of the genre.... It presents the reader with a small, f
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is a clever, original mystery. A mathematician wrote a book of murder mystery short stories in the 1930s. The book was meant to outline the necessary rules for a mystery. ”The number of suspects must be two or more, otherwise there is no mystery, and the number of killers and victims must be at least one each, otherwise there no murder...Then the final requirement is the most important. The killer must be drawn from the set of suspects.”
Now, years later, a small publishing company is looki
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Former Maths Professor Grant McAllister writes a paper ‘The Permutations of Detective Fiction’ in which he demonstrates that crime fiction comprises of four ingredients:- Suspects, The Victim, The Detective, The Killer(s). He then writes seven short stories collectively known as The White Murders in which he demonstrates his theory which are published many years ago. He now lives in seclusion on a Mediterranean island where he is visited by editor Julia Hart with a view to republishing the stori ...more
The Eighth Detective is not quite the "thrilling, wildly inventive nesting doll of a mystery" it'd be promised to be. I approached this novel hoping for something in the realms of Anthony Horowitz. Sadly, The Eighth Detective seems closer to The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, in that both novels are hellbent on 'confusing' the reader with 'shocking' reveals. Similarly to Horowitz's Magpie Murders, The Eighth Detective introduces to the work of a fictitious writer of detective fiction. In Alex P ...more
Grant McAllister is a retired mathematician living on a remote island in the Mediterranean. Over twenty years ago he wrote a collection of mystery stories and had a meager publishing of them. Julia Hart is an editor representing a small publisher who found a copy of the book and wants to republish the collection. She arranges a meeting and they read and discuss each story methodically, fitting them into his carefully designed mathematical theory of mystery construction.

I don’t want to say much
Sep 29, 2020 rated it liked it
,This is a short story collection inside a novel. “The Eighth Detective” is about a book editor who wants to publish an obscure novel of short story mysteries. The obscure novel was written by a mathematician who intends to prove that all mysteries follow a mathematical formula. This mathematician, McAllister, had written a research paper entitled “The Permutations of Detective Fiction” stating that specific criteria must be adhered to for a murder mystery. For example, there is the whole set of ...more
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it

This novel harks back to the very early days of detective fiction, when crimes were usually solved by observation and deduction rather than forensics.

The story: Grant McAllister, a retired mathematician from Scotland, now resides on a beautiful Mediterranean island.

In 1937, when McAllister was a graduate student, he wrote a research paper called 'The Permutations of Detective Fiction', in which he posited that every detective story has characters in four categories: victim(s), suspect(s), detec
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"An argument had been building between them all afternoon, ever since Bunny had brought their lunch to a sudden end." Why did he invite Henry and Megan to his house in Spain in 1930? "...a pointing finger of blood reaching from below Bunny's door...Bunny facedown, on the sheets-a knife handle emerging from his back". Upon further inspection, all windows and doors were locked. "If there are only two suspects, then both of them know who is killer is". This story was written twenty-five years ago b ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a slow burn for me that kept getting better and better as I read it. It was well written and very original! The stories (it's a tale within a tale) have an Agatha Christie like feel to them.

The Eighth Detective is a fascinating puzzle with eight murders involved. If you are a fan of old-time murder mysteries, you are in for a treat! It was genuinely a joy to read and I would recommend it, no consider it a mandatory read, for any mystery reading enthusiast!

I would like to thank Net
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Man am I the odd man out with this 1?! So as I trudged through the 7 “short stories” that make up a good part of this book, I realized it was taking effort.. I was bored. But I kept on.. Thinking that it must all be worth it when I get to the end, or the point, or whatever. But no.. In my humble opinion, it wasn’t worth it. There aren’t any real characters to get attached to, or even to be interested in.. So I think it really comes down to whether you enjoy the stories, & to me they were obvious ...more
In the 1940s, a professor of mathematics named Grant McAllister wrote a book titled "The White Murders" demonstrating the rules of murder mysteries in a collection of seven golden age murder mysteries. He also published a paper on his mathematical theory of the genre showing there are only four components to a murder mystery (victims, suspects, detectives and killers) and that the number of permutations was small and could be demonstrated by the seven stories in his book. Not long after publishi ...more
4.5 stars -- Wow. This was a slow burn that got better and better as it went, which I honestly find to be somewhat of a rarity in whodunnits. To level set, this is basically a set of interconnected short stories that has an interstitial framing narrative that pops in from time to time. The framing device seems to be set approximately in the mid-1960s, but all the short stories are set in 1930s & 40s England, and each short story plays with different sub-tropes of golden age whodunnits. At the be ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grant McAllister, a former professor of matemathics, wrote a paper called "The Permutations of Detective Fiction", in which he establishes the rules for murder mysteries and its four main ingredients: the Suspects, the Victim(s), the Detective(s) and the Killer(s), and to illustrate his work he published a collection of seven short stories under the title "The White Murders".

Thirty years later he's retired in a Mediterranean island until Julia Hart, an editor, shows interest in republishing his
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars!

I've been going back and forth on how I wanted to rate this for a few days now. I ended up going a bit higher that my gut says because I applaud authors for going for the gusto. This is one of those stories. It is so unique (which is good, but can also frustrate others and turn them off), but I live for these books! I really appreciate authors who make risky decisions and think outside the box. The Eighth Detective definitely does that.

So, what's it about? Well, this is a short story co
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn by the synopsis of this debut novel by author Alex Pavesi.

A young editor named Julia Hart travels to a remote village in the Mediterranean hoping to convince a writer to republish his collection of detective stories. On meeting him she realises there are bigger mysteries than the detective stories.

The rules for murder mysteries are there must be a victim, a suspect and a detective made up of changes to make the story. Thirty years ago Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics calc
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Julia Hart is an editor who visits Grant McAllister, the reclusive mathematician, with an offer to republish his sole book of short stories. The stories are mysteries that Grant wrote about 30 years ago as illustrations of his theory of mysteries. This book consists of alternating chapters. Each of the short stories is followed by a chapter in which Julia and Grant discuss the story and she tries to ferret out hidden meaning in the story and details of Grant’s life

This is a case of a blurb prom
Dannii Elle
Grant McAllister is a professor of mathematics who used his expertise to plot the trajectory of events in quite a different field - crime fiction. He penned a series of short tales with thrilling and murderous twists that each divulged and depicted the secrets of this genre. And then he disappeared. Decades later and he has been tracked down by Julia Hart, an editor seeking to anthologise and publish his previous work.

I did not anticipate quite how extraordinary this was going to be. The plot s
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an ingenious, intelligent and totally inventive mystery. Be warned: do not read this book when you are in the mood for a mindless thriller. This book will make your brain WORK for the cookies. You’re gonna have to look for clues and details, interpret new theories about mysteries, and even do some math. But lord it is fun.

This book is about a mathematician who has a long-forgotten book of short mysteries rediscovered by a modern day publisher. Through their discussions, we learn he has a ma
Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
Such a clever and unique story!

Multiple detective stories with an Agatha Christie vibe. The murder mystery rules. Grant McAllister wrote 7 stories, hiding the secrets in them. Only those with a super keen eye will find them.

30 years after they were first published, Julia Hart tracks the author down with a view to re-publish them. But she believes that the clues in the story link to a true crime case.

This is a much talked about book and I couldn't wait to read it. The story was interesting and v
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, mystery, crime

In even the most innocent scenes, there is darkness to be found at the corners…

The Eighth Detective is a clever, ingenious and refreshing suspense/mystery full of puzzles, clues and twists. It is a mystery within mysteries. Stories within a story.

Years ago Grant McAllister wrote “The White Murders”, a book consisting of 7 unique detective stories. The book wasn’t a success and soon was forgotten.

Until now.

Julia Hart is an editor who is charged with interviewing Grant for the purpose of re-pu
You know when you’re relieved to have finished a book that it wasn’t a good experience. The premise of this book is that a young female editor visits an elderly author who lives on a Mediterranean island to edit a collection of murder mysteries he wrote decades beforehand. She reads each out loud to him before they discuss it. The author of the stories had also written a research paper on the mathematical definition of the components of the classic murder mystery. You might think this would resu ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
Briefly - Christie esque detective fiction (or is it...!) - I found this entertaining.

In full
Many years ago Grant McAllister, a professor of Mathematics, came up with rules applying to murder fiction. He then wrote seven stories that were perfect examples of this to him. The book had little interest and he now lives on a Mediterranean island in peace and seclusion. His peace is disturbed by the arrival of Julia Hart, an editor, whose publisher wants to reprint the book. Julia reads each story t
Ova - Excuse My Reading
3.5 stars. Reminded me a bit of Sophie Hannah in the way mysteries plotted.
Rachel Hall
I was intrigued by this debut novel purely because of the premise which sounded so clever but the reality couldn’t have been more different for me and I found it boring and hugely unrewarding. I suspect part of this was down to the fact that the book features seven very average short stories and my reading preference is always for the continuity and depth of a full length novel.

Grant McAllister was formerly a Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University and in an attempt to provide a mathema
Liz Barnsley
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book and read it pretty much in one sitting.

Titled "The Eighth Detective" in the UK this is a Christie-esque puzzle that offers not just one crime tale but several, as an editor works with an author on a book of short stories...these stories all together offer up a particularly intelligent formula that doesn't show it's true face until the end. Eight Detectives is clever, involving and has a practically styled prose that keeps you immersed throughout.

What DOES make a good crime nov
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This gets a top rating from me for the intricate layering that Pavesi accomplished using a fictional book entitled "The White Murders" as a centerpiece. Really impressive considering this is a debut novel. If you are a mystery lover and a lover of discussing books (like I am), then this is a must read for you. The setting on a remote island adds to the Agatha Christie vibe as do the tropes used in the stories. Full of surprises and unexpected content that keeps your mind occupied to the end. If ...more
Louise Wilson
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grant McAllister is a math teacher. He's written out the rules for murder mysteries: a victim, suspect and a detective.

Julia Hart is an editor who travels to a remote island to talk to the author of a book of short stories that had been written thirty years ago. She wants to republish the book to gain a wider audience. Grant McAllister was the author of the book.

Grant McAllister tells Julia he can't remember much about the stories, so she reads them out to him. But whilst reading them, she not
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Alex Pavesi lives in London, where he writes full time. He previously worked as a software engineer and before that obtained a PhD in Mathematics. He enjoys puzzles, long walks and recreational lock picking. The Eighth Detective is his first book.

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