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The Bangalore Detectives Club (2022)
Harini Narendra

On the first page of this mystery set in 1920's India, a scrap of paper identifies the person a desperate character seeks:

(quoted from The Bangalore Detectives Club)

MRS KAVERI MURTHY, Mathematician and Lady Detective.

The rest of the novel is a flashback which mostly focuses on how she came to be a "lady detective".

The mystery itself is quaint and old-fashioned, despite its 21st century viewpoint on issues like gender equality, caste, and colonialism. Kaveri's husband -- a doctor whom she married when she was a young girl but has only recently moved in with -- is a kind and forward thinking individual who respects her intellect and desire to find the person responsible for a series of horrific attacks. By the end of the novel, after the reader has been introduced to a variety of suspects (and recipes), Kaveri does find the guilty party and hence becomes a detective.

However, in this novel, she really does not earn the title "mathematician". We only learn that she is the daughter of a math teacher and was a talented student of mathematics herself:

(quoted from The Bangalore Detectives Club)

It was her mother-in-law's nap time, i.e. the perfect time for Kaveri to take an algebra lesson.

Ten minutes later, she was deep in thought and frowning over a question at the kitchen table.

If 9 lbs of rice cost as much as 4 lbs of sugar, and 14 lbs of sugar are worth as much as ½ lb of tea, and 2 lbs of tea are worth as much as 5 lbs of coffee, what is the cost of Il lbs of coffee if 2 ½ lbs of rice cost 6 ¼ d?

She hummed as she worked. All those hours of leaning against her father's knee as he marked his students' calculus papers had certainly paid off, Kaveri thought smugly. She had been as good as any boy in class - in fact, why be modest, better - and it was not for nothing that she topped the exam in her school every year. But now she was a married woman, there were no more term-times, no more calculus papers and no more matriculation. If she wanted to study, she would have to do so on stolen time.

She wished her mother-in-law was more supportive of her passion for mathematics, so she would not have to study in secret like this, furtively, like a criminal.

She later says that her goal is to get a degree in math and teach at a women's college. But, aside from that, math is barely mentioned again.

There is one paragraph which suggests that solving a murder mystery differs from mathematics where the questions are all clear and straightforward, like "2+3". I disagree with that statement, and hope that in future books in this series, Kaveri earns the title "mathematician" and also learns that the questions in math research can be as enigmatic as the ones encountered by a detective.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to The Bangalore Detectives Club
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Murder at Queen's Landing by Andrea Penrose
  2. The Three Body Problem by Catherine Shaw
  3. Flowers Stained with Moonlight by Catherine Shaw
  4. The Body Outside the Kremlin by James L. May
  5. Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher Mystery) by Kerry Greenwood
  6. An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson
  7. Murder in the Great Church by Tefcros Michaelides
  8. Spherical Mirrors, plane murders by Tefcros Michaelides
  9. The Beekeeper's Apprentice: Or the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie R. King
  10. The Fall of Man In Wilmslow by David Lagercrantz
Ratings for The Bangalore Detectives Club:
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:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

GenreHistorical Fiction, Mystery,
MotifFemale Mathematicians,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)