When a professor of mathematics writes eight individual murder-mysteries with factors surprisingly similar to that of a real crime, can it just be a coincidence? Julia Hart is determined to find out, locating him in seclusion on a Mediterranean island she tries to get to the bottom of his secrecy.
For what feels like the first time in a long time, I bought new books (I know, I have a lot of books, but mostly they're gifted!) and this had to be on the list. 'Eight Detectives' was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 so I wanted to squeeze it in right at the end.
Despite knowing that this book would be based around eight stories a fictional author has written, I was initially very thrown off when the beginning of the book started with a murder. I thought it would be more embedded in the narrative than one chapter is a story, the next is a discussion about the story. I was honestly disappointed by the presentation of the story on a whole, it felt like I read one story and had a book group chat about it afterwards, moving onto another once we'd wrapped that up, I'd like to have seen it intermingled a bit more.
Up until the unsolved murder is mentioned (about 60% of the way in) this isn't that interesting, Julia tries to rile some more conversation but Grant (the author) doesn't engage. Whilst I now appreciate why it still didn't make for interesting reading, and the basic concept of the 'mathematics of a murder mystery' was very interesting to me, once it started getting more technical I was just left confused and feeling a bit stupid.
Generally, the eight stories tell the reader the do's and do not's of writing murder mystery novels (a sly dig at Christie is in there for good measure), but, Pavesi then keeps a big reveal right up to the end bringing in new information we couldn't have possibly known, which surely the most annoying habit of murder mystery writers? Individually I really enjoyed the eight stories, they were complex enough to be engaging without distracting from the main plot, but the main plot wasn't for me.
This novel felt heavily reliant on the individual stories connecting to the unsolved murder with not much effort put toward the Julia & Grant timeline. Only at the end did anything get revealed, at which point I was reading for a necessity to find out the truth, not from enjoyment.