This novel is a combination of historical fiction and a murder mystery, with literary ambitions. The narrator is a former math student who is sent to an island prison in the early days of the USSR. There he is ordered to help a retired detective find the killer of a common acquaintance, an art restorer working on icons at the island's former monastery.
The narrator's crime was to have owned a book of Plato's philosophy in German, which he brought out after lecturing to his college friends about nonEuclidean geometry. Later, he mentions nonEuclidean geometry again in the context of a discussion of whether logic is helpful in solving murder mysteries. And, various descriptions of objects, places, and scenarios are also given in mathematical terms. But, the fact that he was a mathematician does not otherwise seem especially relevant to the plot.
The narrator, at least initially, is portrayed as being naive and inexperienced. Perhaps those are part of a stereotype of a math student, but the more noticeable stereotypical traits of mathematicians in fiction are not present here.
So, unlike most of the other works listed in this database, there really is not much to say about the math in this book. It is a nicely written piece of fiction in which the main character just happens to have studied math.
