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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

This is an engaging and quick read, and the old-fashioned mystery stories within the story are intriguing.

Alex Pavesi's The Eighth Detective is appealingly old-fashioned. The murder mystery stories were written decades before the book's present-day events take place and are clever; they feel deliberately, self-consciously constructed.

There's a book within a book here, and the fictitious author of the stories has approached the murder mystery genre as a mathematician, exploring every different permutation of the elements of victim/detective/suspect and their overlapping Venn diagram possibilities and combinations.

The stories aren't connected by characters or settings, and they vary in their setups. The premises and details are examined at length as the recluse author explores with his new editor the oddities and inconsistencies within each story. Does he recall his intentions? Are the strange components intentional? Are they connections to a real-life murder from the past? And are either the author or editor reliable protagonists, or are they each hiding something while trying to uncover the truth of the other?

I was hooked enough that the ending left me wanting to go a little deeper with the implications and realizations at a pivotal moment--or to at least prolong the scene a little bit.

I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and Henry Holt and Co. in exchange for an unbiased review.

What did you think?

This is an engaging and quick read, and I enjoyed knowing something more was going on while I tried to figure out what it was. The mystery stories within the story are intriguing, and I loved paying attention to their varied structures as well.


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