
Adventure of the Final Problem (1893) 
 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

This first Sherlock Holmes story about Professor Moriarty (later to be
viewed as Holmes' arch enemy) introduces him as a professor of
mathematics who won fame as a young man for his extension of the
binomial... (more) 


The Adventure of the Russian Grave (1995) 
 William Barton / Michael Capobianco 

Even in the old Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock Holmes' archnemesis was a mathematician. Moriarty was said to be a math professor who (when he wasn't being evil) worked on the binomial theorem and... (more) 


The Adventures of Topology Man (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

Parody is easy....topology is hard!
In this short story, I made use of (and made fun of) the classic superhero comic book genre to illustrate some ideas from topology. So, we end up seeing a battle... (more) 



Bianca (1984) 
 Nanni Moretti (director and screenplay) 

A math teacher (played by Nanni Moretti himself) has odd obsessions and compulsions in this film, including his crush on colleague Bianca. Although his antisocial behavior seems to be destroying his... (more) 


The Big Short (2015) 
 Charles Randolph (writer) / Adam McKay (writer and director) 

Although I did very much enjoy this creative fictional adaptation of Michael Lewis' nonfictional account of mortgage induced US housing price collapse, I did not initially include it in this database.... (more) 


The Bird with the Broken Wing (1930) 
 Agatha Christie 

The Harley Quin stories (this collection, plus two later stories) are amongst the most peculiar mysteries ever written. (They certainly are Dame Agatha's most peculiar. They were also her personal... (more) 


The Bishop Murder Case (1928) 
 S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright) 

Our hero, Vance, says at the end of this mystery novel: "At the outset I was able to postulate a mathematician as the criminal agent. The difficulty of naming the murderer lay in the fact that nearly... (more) 


The Body Counter (2018) 
 Anne Frasier 

Detective Jude Fontaine must stop a pathological killer whose murder sprees are dictated by the Fibonacci sequence.
Fontaine is known for her ability to read people. (She often can tell when people... (more) 


Brain Dead (1990) 
 Charles Beaumont (writer) / Adam Simon (director) 

A nightmarish, reality bending horror movie about a brain surgeon whose services are obtained to retrieve corporate secrets from the mind of a mathematician who has become a homicidal maniac.
(more) 


La Conjecture de Syracuse (2008) 
 Antoine Billot 

Although in reality the Collatz Conjecture remains unresolved, in Billot's novel the problem was famously solved by Etienne Thèseus, who figured out the solution while he fought for France in Algeria... (more) 


Dear Abbey (2003) 
 Terry Bisson 

This novel, which has not received many good reviews and appears only to have been published in Britain, involves a math professor who is a terrorist for environmentalist causes. (That the author chose... (more) 


The Devotion of Suspect X [Yôgisha X no kenshin] (2005) 
 Keigo Higashino 

Reclusive high school math teacher Tetsuya Ishigami is "devoted" to two things: his math research and his neighbor, Yasuko Hanaoka. When Hanaoka and her daughter kill her abusive exhusband, they are... (more) 


The Distant Dead (2020) 
 Heather Young 

When a boy named Sal discovers the burned body of his middle school math teacher, two amateur sleuths try to determine who killed him. One of them is Jake, the volunteer fireman to whom Sal initially... (more) 


Doctor Who: The Algebra of Ice (2004) 
 Lloyd Rose (pseudonym of Sarah Tonyn) 

Lloyd Rose (pen name for Sarah Tonyn) has a “Doctor Who” book called “The Algebra of Ice”. It describes the attempted invasion of our universe by mathematical beings from another... (more) 


The Eighth Detective (2020) 
 Alex Pavesi 

Many years ago, math professor Grant McCallister published a paper mathematically analyzing the structure of murder mystery fiction. He even selfpublished a collection of short stories illustrating several... (more) 


Elementary (Episode: Solve for X) (2013) 
 Jerry Levine (director)/Jeffrey Paul King (screenplay) 

In this episode from the second season of Elementary featuring a modern version of Sherlock Holmes with a female Watson, the duo discover equations in invisible ink on the walls in a murdered mathematician's... (more) 


The Facts of Death (1998) 
 Raymond Benson 

Would you believe...James Bond battling a mathematical cult bent on world destruction? (It could happen.) In this latter day Bond novel, the villian is a dynamic leader of a cult who bases his teachings... (more) 


Fermat's Room (La Habitacion de Fermat) (2007) 
 Luis Piedrahita / Rodrigo Sopeña 

In this Spanish thriller, four mathematicians are invited to a booby trapped room where they must solve mathematical puzzles to prevent the walls from closing in and crushing them. This leaves them little... (more) 


The Flight That Disappeared (1961) 
 Reginald Le Borg (Director) 

An unsuspecting mathematician and some scientists are taken to another dimension where they stand trial for their involvement in the creation of horrible weapons. Perhaps during the Cold War and before... (more) 


Furuhata Ninzaburô (Episode 13) (1995) 
 Kôki Mitani 

In the last episode of the first season of this popular Japanese detective show, the inspector must solve the mystery of the murder of an awardwinning mathematician. It turns out that the murderer was... (more) 


Ghost Dancer [a.k.a. Dance of Death] (2006) 
 John Case 

The blurb on the cover describes antihero Jack Wilson as a "brilliant mathematician" and also a "diabolical madman" in this thriller based on the popular conspiracy theory claiming that Nikola Tesla is... (more) 


Hidden in Glass (1931) 
 Paul Ernst 

A murder mystery involving a mathematical physicist. One Professor Brainard, who is claimed to have mastered "the secret of the fourth dimension" (haven't they all in the pulps?), has a serious professional... (more) 


Homage (1995) 
 Ross Kagan Marks (director) / Mark Medoff (screenplay) 

This film (and the 1994 play "The Homage that Follows" on which it was based) explores the mind of a murderer, who in this case happens to be a man with a Ph.D. in mathematics. He turns down a position... (more) 


Imaginary Numbers (2020) 
 Seanan McGuire 

Sarah Zellaby, a running character in McGuire's InCryptid books, is featured prominently in this entry from the series. Sarah's species evolved from insects in another dimension but look essentially like... (more) 


Immortal Bird (1961) 
 H. Russell Wakefield 

Professor Brandley, a "young" man of 53, wants nothing more than to attain the position of Regius Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Metropolitan University in London so that he could train "disciples... (more) 


The Incredible Umbrella (1979) 
 Marvin Kaye 

An English professor, one Mr. Phillimore, finds a magical umbrella which can whisk him away to fictional worlds. Deux ex Machina, and thence, a series of adventures follows, ending in Flatland.
The... (more) 


Inflexible Logic (1940) 
 Russell Maloney 

There is a famous example of probability which (in one of its many
forms) states that six chimpanzees randomly typing at six typewriters
would eventually reproduce all of the books in the British museum.... (more) 


The Integral: A Horror Story (2009) 
 Colin Adams 

This story, which he claims is an attempt to emulate Stephen King, is different from many of Adams' others. This may explain why it was published for the first time in his 2009 collections Riot at the... (more) 


The Invention of Zero [Die Erfindung der Null] (2020) 
 Michael Wildenhain 

This German novel records a "game of cat and mouse" between a prosecutor and a suspected murderer, who happens to be a mathematician. The young prosecutor tries to prove that Martin Gödeler, who holds... (more) 


Killing Time (2000) 
 Frank Tallis 

In this noir thriller, a British math grad student discovers antique lab equipment which allows him to see into the past and winds up murdering his girlfriend. Sex (explicitly described) and interpersonal... (more) 


Kim Possible (Episode: Mathter and Fervent) (2007) 
 Jim Peronto (script) 

This episode of the Disney animated TV series "Kim Possible" is a comic book parody featuring a mathematical villain.
As an English assignment, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable have to write a paper... (more) 


Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Episode: Inert Dwarf) (2004) 
 Renee Balcer (story) / Warren Leight (script) / Alex Chapple (director) 

The collaborator of a worldfamous, wheelchair bound mathematical physicist is murdered. When the detectives investigate, suspicion falls on the mathematician's wife/nurse who appears to be abusing him.
Like... (more) 


The Madness of Crowds (2021) 
 Louise Penny 

In Penny's 17th murder mystery featuring detective Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Sûreté du Québec, a statistician with a controversial political philosophy speaks at the local university, resulting... (more) 


Magpie Lane (2020) 
 Lucy Atkins 

This wonderful novel is difficult to describe, somewhere between literary fiction and a procedural mystery with the atmosphere of a supernatural thriller. The book is narrated by Dee, a nanny who is being... (more) 


Mailman (2000) 
 J. Robert Lennon 

The title character, called Mailman, is a mentally ill mailman
with criminal and deviant behavior with respect to the mail that
he handles. It turns out that Mailman had once been a mathematics
graduate... (more) 


The Mathematician (1967) 
 Will Manson 

Despite the title, there is almost no math in this pulpy spy story. Its Cold War nationalism and sexism date it somewhat, but it is fine as light entertainment, with danger, romance, and a "twist ending".
The... (more) 


Moriarty by Modem (1995) 
 Jack Nimersheim 

A cyberversion of Sherlock Holmes is created to track down an accidently
released cyberversion of Moriarty. The big clue involves both the binomial
theorem and binomial variables.
Published in... (more) 


Murder by Mathematics (1948) 
 Hector Hawton 

The chair of the mathematics department at a British university and a shady bookseller are the victims in this "whodunnit"
published by Ward Lock & Co. (London and Melbourne) in 1948.
It was thanks... (more) 


Napier's Bones (2011) 
 Derryl Murphy 

In the fantasy/SF world of this novel, numerates are special people who are aware of the fact that numbers themselves are alive and can be coaxed or controlled into doing seemingly magical things for them.... (more) 


The New Warriors (Issue #4) (1990) 
 Fabian Nicieza (writer) / Mark Bagley (artist) 

The New Warriors were a team of Marvel superheroes whose enemies included the psychic mathematical genius known as Mathemanic. Mathemanic first appeared in issue #4 (October 1990) but also appeared in... (more) 


Nuremberg Joys (2000) 
 Charles Sheffield 

A mathematician is on trial for war crimes, regarding
his role in developing an absolutely horrendous killing
weapon based on sophisticated new physics. Guilt or
... (more) 


Nymphomation (2000) 
 Jeff Noon 

A math professor's theory of ``nymphomation'' (described in the book as a way for numbers to mate) is used to develop a lottery game called "Domino Bones" that entirely takes over the city of Manchester,... (more) 


Powerball 310 (2007) 
 K.T. Reid 

The premise of this amusing crime caper is a gang of experts who pull of a successful theft of a $310 million Powerball lottery jackpot by generating a winning ticket just after the numbers have been... (more) 


Prime (2013) 
 Steve Erickson 

Because he is jealous of the relative success of colleagues he considers his intellectual inferiors, a mathematician kidnaps a celebrity to learn the numerical secret of fame.
The kidnapper in this... (more) 


Prime Suspect: The Anatomy of Integers and Permutations (2019) 
 Andrew Granville / Jennifer Granville / Robert J. Lewis (Illustrator) 

In this graphic novel, the surprising coincidences between complete factorizations of integers, permutations, and polynomials is presented as if it were the discovery of a forensic team investigating seemingly... (more) 


Professor and Colonel (1987) 
 Ruth Berman 

In this unusual story, we get to see another side to Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy, the brilliant but evil mathematician Professor Moriarty. Here, rather than perpetrating a crime, Moriarty is merely visiting with his brother, discussing the significance of his research into asteroid dynamics. (See also Asimov's take on this same subject.) (more) 


Quaternia (2015) 
 Tom Petsinis 

Ivan, the main character in Tom Petsinis' Quaternia, is a fictional teenager who spends a lot of his time and energy on playing video games. Ivan goes beyond merely devoting so much time to this hobby... (more) 


Reading by Numbers (2009) 
 Aidan Doyle 

Elementary number theory and some superstitious numerology underlie this story, which appeared in the November 11, 2009 issue of the online Fantasy Magazine (though I would never describe this story as... (more) 


Secrets to the Grave (2011) 
 Tami Hoag 

Mathematician Zander Zahn is suspected of having murdered an artist in this followup to the novel "Deeper than the Dead". Almost no mathematics is actually discussed, not even the tiny amount one often... (more) 


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) 
 Guy Ritchie (director) 

There is not much actual mathematics in this sequel which, like its predecessor, features a version of Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. as more of an action hero than the one in Sir Arthur... (more) 


The Square Root of Murder (2002) 
 Paul Zindel 

A murder mystery written for a middle school aged audience in which a calculus professor is found pinned to a chalk board by a bolt fired from a crossbow. A formula on the board turns out to be an essential clue (though it involves only elementary arithmetic).
This novel for young readers should not be confused with the adult mystery novel with the same title by Ada Madison.
(more) 


Straw Dogs (1971) 
 Sam Peckinpah (Director) 

Dustin Hoffman stars as an astrophysicist in this violent
Peckinpah film. Before the violence starts, Hoffman's wife plays a
trick on him by changing some signs (+/) in an equation he is working
with.... (more) 


Strip Search (2007) 
 William Bernhardt 

A detective is aided by an autistic child in capturing a serial killer who leaves equations written in the blood of his victims at the scenes of the grisly crimes.
In your MathFiction entry for William... (more) 


The Thousand (2010) 
 Kevin Guilfoile 

Two competing Pythagorean cults (one "fundamentalist" and the other believing in "further revelations") are behind worldwide disasters such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hurricane Katrina in this conspiracy... (more) 


Three Days and a Child (1970) 
 Abraham B. Yehoshua 

Dov, an Israeli mathematics graduate student, watches the young child of a woman he knew at a kibbutz. He alternates between loving the child as he still loves the woman and intentionally endangering... (more) 


Threshold (1997) 
 Sara Douglass 

This is another fantasy book in which mathematics is seen as a sort of magic, but in this one it is specifically a particularly evil, cold and inhuman form of magic, in contrast to other less formulaic... (more) 


TouchMeNot (2010) 
 Cynthia Riggs 

In this installment of a series of mystery novels set on Martha's Vineyard, an electrician accidentally murders an employee who was blackmailing him and then is killed himself. Throughout most of the... (more) 


Twisted Seduction (2010) 
 Dominique Adams (writer and director) 

A man with a PhD in mathematics and a master's degree in psychology kidnaps a woman he has determined mathematically and scientifically to be an ideal match for him, with the intention of forcing her to... (more) 


The Ultimate Crime (1976) 
 Isaac Asimov 

We all know that Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy was a mathematician,
right? (If not, check out Sherlock Holmes.)
In fact, his second famous paper was on the dynamics of an asteroid.
Now, you may ask,... (more) 


The Valley of Fear (1916) 
 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Having introduced Sherlock Holmes' most famous enemy, Professor
Moriarty, as a mathematician in an earlier
story, Doyle provides us with just a small glimpse of his
mathematical genius (as opposed to... (more) 


Verrechnet (2009) 
 Carl Djerassi/Isabella Gregor 

With the help of playwright/director Isabella Gregor, Djerassi updated his play Calculus (Newton's Whores). The plot still revolves around the question of priority on the invention of calculus, and especially... (more) 
