This is a fascinating detective novel, particularly if you know and like Oxford, or if you know and like the world of mathematics and logic. If is just as fascinating if you are not especially up on these things, because the story swings between head and heart and concludes in an intriguing twist.
Martinez has graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a thesis in algebraic topology and has a scholarship to Oxford. He moves into quarters in the house of an old professor’s wife, and her granddaughter, Beth. During his first two weeks he meets the famous Arthur Seldom, one of the leading minds in logic. Seldom pays a visit to Martinez’ apartment, because he has received a message announcing “The first of a series”, with the address of Mrs. Eagleton, and a time of arrival. What he walks in on is an old lady, murdered in her chaise longue. Further discussion with the police reveal Seldom’s message had included a perfect circle, or symbol, similar to symbols he had used in his own book of philosophy, which had a chapter on serial killers.
This book continues, as you can imagine, with more symbols, and more murders. But there is a surprising connection between Seldom, and the beautiful granddaughter, which is itself linked with the murderer’s convictions. It keeps you guessing til the end.
Review by Anne McDougall