a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Maid of Murder (2010)
Amanda Flower

Like the author of this murder mystery, protagonist India Hayes is a librarian at a small midwestern college. Presumably unlike the author, Hayes must prove the innocence of her mathematician brother when he is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend before she marries another man.

There is not much math to discuss here. The brother displays signs of being a typically insensitive and obsessed mathematician on the very first page when he calls his sister at 6AM on the morning of July 4th to ask her to look up Yang-Mills Theory for him.

This one reference is the only mathematical detail. Otherwise, we hear repeatedly how the brother became interested in mathematics in college as a way of getting over his love for the woman who is later to become the murder victim:

(quoted from Maid of Murder)

[He] comforted himself with the black-and-white world of mathematics and dedicated the same obsessive energy he had in pursuing Olivia to solving story problems I had no way of deciphering.

Despite his apparent effort, he is unable to complete his PhD thesis and so becomes a perennial graduate student. Eventually, we learn that he does not actually like mathematics:

(quoted from Maid of Murder)

That was my first thought, thank God. Because the next day I knew that I wouldn't have to go back to the hole in the basement of Dexler or pound equations into apathetic freshman heads or create some useless theorem so I could publish my dissertation.

So, though this book may be fine as a mystery, the author really has no particular appreciation for mathematics and nothing to say about it beyond making use of the negative stereotypes of the field and its practitioners.

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Works Similar to Maid of Murder
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Death of an Avid Reader: A Kate Shackleton Mystery by Frances Brody
  2. Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
  3. Trueman Bradley: Aspie Detective by Alexei Maxim Russell
  4. The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman
  5. In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff
  6. The Body Counter by Anne Frasier
  7. The Distant Dead by Heather Young
  8. Los crímenes de Alicia [The Alice Murders / The Oxford Brotherhood] by Guillermo Martinez
  9. No One You Know by Michelle Richmond
  10. Lewis (Episode: Reputation) by Russell Lewis (Story) / Stephen Churchett (Screenplay)
Ratings for Maid of Murder:
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)

MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Academia,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)