a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Fall of Man In Wilmslow (2009)
David Lagercrantz

Before he gained fame in the US as the Swedish author taking over the mystery series featuring the fictional heroine Lisbeth Sander, David Lagercrantz wrote this novel about the death of mathematician Alan Turing. The story follows not Turing himself but the detectives investigating his suicide.

As the detective character comes to better understand his society's unfair treatment of homosexuals, he also becomes obsessed with the role that the liar's paradox plays in Alan Turing's work. He eventually is able to work out Turing's role in the war, thereby getting himself into trouble. In a cheerful epilogue, we see the positive changes that this investigation have made in the detective's life and he speculates about how happy Turing would have been to know how it all turns out

The ingredients of this story are well-known to many by now: questions at the foundation of mathematical logic (e.g. computability), top secret programs to break the Nazi Enigma code, early digital computers, a brilliant and bluntly honest homosexual mathematician, and a homophobic British society. In this version, however, rather than being presented in a linear or chronological fashion, because the pieces are put together by a detective investigating Turing's suicide, they come out very slowly and in a strange order, mixed with occasional misinformation. I imagine that might work well for someone learning about Turing's life and achievements for the first time, but I am afraid I found it rather frustrating.

Published in Swedish in 2009. An English translation by George Goulding first appeared in 2016.

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Works Similar to The Fall of Man In Wilmslow
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Imitation Game by Morten Tyldum (director) / Graham Moore (screenplay)
  2. Lovesong of the Electric Bear by Snoo Wilson (playwright)
  3. Enigma: La strana vita di Alan Turing by Tuono Pettinato / Francesca Riccioni
  4. Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore (playwright)
  5. Enigma by Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard
  6. The Auden Test by Lawrence Aronovitch
  7. Murder at Queen's Landing by Andrea Penrose
  8. The Fourth Quadrant by Dorothy Lumley
  9. Murder in the Great Church by Tefcros Michaelides
  10. Spherical Mirrors, plane murders by Tefcros Michaelides
Ratings for The Fall of Man In Wilmslow:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)

GenreHistorical Fiction, Mystery,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Turing,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Logic/Set Theory,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)