a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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A Calculated Demise (2007)
Robert Spiller
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A high school math teacher, Bonnie Pinkwater, solves the mystery surrounding the murder of a PE teacher, a student, and the family of the boy suspected in the killing.

This sequel to The Witch of Agnesi is actually a prequel in that it takes place prior to the earlier novel. (It is always interesting in these mystery series to see how many murders can take place around one amateur sleuth over their career without anyone becoming suspicious that they must somehow be involved!)

Like the earlier novel, the biography of a famous female mathematician serves as an inspiration for Pinkwater in solving the mystery . In this case, it is the Greek mathematician Hypatia whose murder in 415 AD is vaguely related to the problem. In addition, Venn diagrams are utilized and vague mathematical analogies involving the "squeeze theorem" in analysis are mentioned.

Unlike the previous novel, this one is not marketed as being for "young adults". And, it certainly is not as sexual innuendo and drug references are not only frequent but integral to the plot. Again, I consider this to be a solidly written book which will likely appeal to fans of the mystery genre who enjoy seeing a bit of math in what they read. The plot is arguably as good as the one in "Witch of Agnesi", although I think the writing was perhaps a bit rougher. And, as if in response to my request, it was a bit more mathematical. Two more books are planed for the series. I look forward to reading them and -- of course -- hope for even more math.

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Works Similar to A Calculated Demise
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Irrational Numbers by Robert Spiller
  2. The Witch of Agnesi by Robert Spiller
  3. The Square Root of Murder by Ada Madison
  4. The Case of the Murdered Mathematician by Julia Barnes / Kathy Ivey
  5. The Square Root of Murder by Paul Zindel
  6. The Sudoku Murder by Shelley Freydont
  7. The Three Body Problem by Catherine Shaw
  8. The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis
  9. Murder, She Conjectured by Alex Kasman
  10. In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff
Ratings for A Calculated Demise:
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)

MotifReal Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians, Romance,

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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)