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Book Review: THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE by Alex Pavesi

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once worked out the four rules of a murder mystery, and then wrote seven detective stories to illustrate the rules. Thirty years later, an ambitious editor named Julia intrudes on Grant's secluded life on a remote Mediterranean island with hopes of republishing his book. As the two revisit the old stories, Julia discovers that there is more hiding in Grant's past than his willing to tell.


THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE by Alex Pavesi is a treasure trove of mysteries. Not only is there a single story that weaves through the entire book, there are seven short mysteries stories intertwined within the pages that makes this book feel like a cornucopia of dark tales. The seven stories themselves are masterful examples of all the possible permutations of detective fiction. Flowing between each story is the main plot, featuring Julia and Grant.

The cat-and-mouse attempts to uncover some hidden truths on the part of the editor and the writer's attempts to avoid and evade are intriguing as the deeper mystery behind the stories is revealed. Both Julia and Grant are well-developed characters that evolve over the course of the book. Although the characters in the short stories are less developed and a bit two dimensional, this fact does not interfere with the broader plot.

One word of warning for readers: the books starts off a bit slow, which gives you a sense that it is just a book of short mystery stories. Don't let that stop you. Press on. You will be rewarded for your persistence.

THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE is an original, clever, and complex. Even when you think the curtain has fallen on the final twist, you're pleasantly surprised by one final shock.


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