The Eighth Detective: A Novel

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The Eighth Detective is set on a Mediterranean island, home of Grant McAllister. In the early 1940s, Grant published a private collection of seven short mystery stories in a book called The White Murders, presumably a reference to Elizabeth White who was strangled on Hampstead Heath in 1940. Julia Hart arrives on the island to help prepare Grant’s stories for a second edition. Each of the stories is fascinating in its own right, but it’s what connects them that makes this novel so extraordinary. Based on his research paper entitled The Permutations of Detective Fiction, Grant appended a mathematical framework to the first edition that captured all possible structural variations of mysteries. Each of the seven stories illustrates one permutation. That’s not all. Julia spots a minor inconsistency in each story. Grant acknowledges them but offers no explanation other than to say he doesn’t remember, causing Julia to become suspicious and start probing Grant’s past. The Eighth Detective stands as a unique contribution to the mystery genre. It makes the reader think more generally about mysteries and their structure. And it offers seven mysteries wrapped up in an even bigger mystery. Either component would make this a worthwhile read; both together make it an outstanding one.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date 2020-08-04
ISBN 9781250755933 Buy this Book
Issue October 2020
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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