MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Barking Clock (1947)
Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Tuddleton T. Trotter, author of a book which claims that all criminal mysteries can be solved mathematically, has only hours to save Joe Czeszczicki, a death row inmate soon to be electrocuted for the death of a state attorney.

In many ways, this book is similar to Keeler's The Murdered Mathematician. Both books involve unbelievable coincidences. Also, in both, the detective hero must solve the crime using mathematics. This time, it is not in order to obtain an inheritance (although another character's inheritance does depend on the outcome), but because the publisher of his book, Mathematics versus Crime, insists that he demonstrate the principle before they will print it. [Note added later: The preface to Keeler's The Case of the Flying Hands explains that the cases of "barking clock" and "the murdered mathematician" were originally conceived as two of four mathematical mysteries that the protagonist of that novel was supposed to solve in that book, but were pulled out to form The Murdered Mathematician and this novel. This at least partially explains their similarities.]

However, there is quite a bit more mathematics in The Murdered Mathematician. So, if you are at this website because of your interested in mathematically flavored fiction, I recommend you start with that other book and then, if you absolutely love this author's wacky style and want more, move onto The Barking Clock.

(BTW His wife is listed as co-author because she wrote one chapter of the book, which is presented as an unrelated short story that one character in the novel uses to pass information to another.)

(quoted from The Barking Clock)

"Good, Joe. Very good. For this reason: an analysis of your case from a new angle -- yes, mathematics - would only rivet your guilt on you tighter if you were guilty. Mathematics never lies, Joe. Never! But, if you're innocent an analysis along new lines never before followed might -- should turn the whole construction around. But even a mathematically arrived at hypothesis has to be proven..."

More information about this work can be found at www.ramblehouse.com.
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to The Barking Clock
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Murdered Mathematician by Harry Stephen Keeler
  2. The Case of the Flying Hands by Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
  3. And Be a Villain by Rex Stout
  4. The Mathematicians of Grizzly Drive by Josef Skvorecky
  5. A Killer Theorem by Colin Adams
  6. A Frayed Knot by Felix Culp
  7. Cardano and the Case of the Cubic by Jeff Adams
  8. Mangum, P.I. by Colin Adams
  9. 1 to 999 by Isaac Asimov
  10. Naked Came the Post-modernist by Sarah Lawrence College Writing Class WRIT-3303-R / Melvin Jules Bukiet
Ratings for The Barking Clock:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreMystery, Humorous,
Motif
Topic
MediumNovels,

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)