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Summa Mathematica (2002)
Sean Doolittle

Not really a mystery, but more of a "crime drama" in which a former math professor gets two offers he can't refuse: one from a crime boss who wants to hire him as his accountant and another from the police who want him to spy on the crime boss.

The protagonist lost his job as a math professor after becoming interested in gambling and misusing some research fund and ends up working as a short order cook at a fast food restaurant. He also has developed a mental disorder which prevents him from being able to do math anymore. There are many mathematical metaphors (none so good that I think they need to be repeated here) and a surreal dream sequence in which guns fire mathematical symbols.

This short story appears in a collection called Best American mystery Stories of 2002, but I personally cannot see what would qualify it as one.

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Works Similar to Summa Mathematica
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Case of Lies by Perri O\'Shaughnessy
  2. Qui perd gagne! by Laurent Bénégui (Director)
  3. Without a Trace (Episode: Claus and Effect) by David Amann (writer) / Alicia Kirk (writer) / Bobby Roth (Director)
  4. The Case of the Flying Hands by Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
  5. Powerball 310 by K.T. Reid
  6. The Fractal Murders by Mark Cohen
  7. The Devotion of Suspect X [Yôgisha X no kenshin] by Keigo Higashino
  8. The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman
  9. Elementary (Episode: Solve for X) by Jerry Levine (director) / Jeffrey Paul King (screenplay)
  10. Mangum, P.I. by Colin Adams
Ratings for Summa Mathematica:
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:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)

MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)