Sunday, December 21, 2008

Against a pearl-gray sky

As 8" of snow piled up outside and the neffy crawled happily around the Christmas tree, I settled down to read The Oxford Murders. I love a good mystery, and this one was good. Because it involved mathematics and symbols and mentioned a secret society, I feared that it might be some weird Da Vinci Code rip-off; luckily, it wasn't.

An Argentinian graduate student at Oxford (we never learn the narrator's name) becomes involved in solving a series of mathematics-related murders: the murderer leaves a note and a symbol before every death, in a cat-and-mouse game with a math professor.

Sadly, if I can figure out the explanation for a mysterious series of symbols tied to murders, the symbols aren't that difficult. Just sayin'. What was more interesting were the tangential monologues about cause and effect and alternate possibilities in both ethics and mathematics. I guessed half of it, so it's obvious the answers themselves weren't the key -- the proofs were. Ho, ho, little math joke there...

In the end, without giving anything away, the plot and its resolution were just one big mind game. Definitely enjoyable!

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