a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Who Killed Professor X? (2010)
Thodoris Andriopoulos / Thanasis Gkiokas

The famous mathematician Professor X (not to be confused with Charles Xavier) is found dead before his presentation to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900, and this graphic novel puts you there to help solve the mystery. However, this book is not just another mathematical murder mystery; it is actually two other things as well.

First, it is a collection of mathematical exercises. Motivated by a desire to solve the mystery, the reader is asked to work out some mathematical puzzles. The concept that evolved into this graphic novel actually began as an interactive project designed for the classroom, one that won 3rd place in the 6th Microsoft European Innovative Teacher's Forum.

Moreover, it is also an extended metaphor for the shocking developments in the philosophy of mathematics that took place in the early part of the 20th century. That the victim was a keynote speaker at the 1900 ICM and that another main character is named "Kurt" are probably enough clues for anyone with a knowledge of the history to figure out where it is going long before the big reveal.

Some readers really seem to love this book, but mathematical comic book author Marco Abate gave it a rather negative review in the Mathematical Intellgencer (Volume 39, Number 1, 2017), criticizing its mixing of falsehoods with true anecdotes and its failure to make full use of the graphic format. You can probably get a good idea of whether this book would be to your taste by looking at the video preview that was posted on YouTube.

Originally published in Greek by Ellinoekdotiki and more recently released in other languages by Birkhäuser Basel.

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Works Similar to Who Killed Professor X?
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
  2. Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] by Davide Osenda
  3. Pythagorean Crimes by Tefcros Michaelides
  4. The Shackles of Conviction by James R. Meyer
  5. A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  6. Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery by Arturo Sangalli
  7. Shakespeare Predicted it All by Dietmar Dath
  8. La formule de Stokes, roman by Michèle Audin
  9. A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos by A.K. Dewdney
  10. Freud's Megalomania: A Novel by Israel Rosenfield
Ratings for Who Killed Professor X?:
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GenreHistorical Fiction, Didactic,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Gödel,
TopicLogic/Set Theory,
MediumComic Book,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)