Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules.

Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories.

An author, hiding from his past, and an editor, probing inside it.

But as she reads the stories, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are parts that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder.

One that’s remained unsolved for thirty years . . .

If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary.

But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .

There is a huge buzz around this book at the moment and it’s certainly a well deserved one! Eight Detectives is a wonderfully unique and enjoyable book that is unlike anything I’ve read before whilst still being a brilliant homage to the crime novels of old. You will recognise the nods to the best crime writers of the past so if you are a fan of Christie, Highsmith etc then you are going to absolutely love this book.

The plot takes place on an island in the Mediterranean where editor Julia has gone to meet Grant McAllister, the man who says he worked out the mathematical pattern of all murder mysteries and has previously written a book containing all the elements needed to commit the perfect crime. The book is to be republished but as Julia goes through each individual story with Grant in preparation for this, something appears very out of place…

I thoroughly enjoyed the different short stories that Julia was reading through with Grant, whilst all the while wondering how they were connected and why. This is such a clever concept for a book and I bow down to the genius of Alex Pavesi who has managed to deliver his idea perfectly with a stylish narrative and intriguing storyline. I was looking for clues throughout but really I should have just sat back and enjoyed the journey as the finish line was an absolute joy to reach. That was when everything came together and I had to give a little excited round of applause to say “Bravo!” I had that same feeling I had at the end of my first experience of The Mousetrap at the theatre-thrilled to see how everything had come together but with an added smug satisfaction that now I knew the secrets that others were still to uncover.

Eight Detectives is a gripping tale of love, loss and murder. I loved it’s originality and it’s theatrical confidence whilst still maintaining its conventional roots. Definitely one of the books of 2020.

Alex Pavesi lives in London, where he writes full time. He previously worked as a software engineer and before that studied mathematics to PhD level, during which time he worked as a part-time bookseller. Eight Detectives is his first novel.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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