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The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martínez

The Oxford Murders (2003)

by Guillermo Martínez

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,179629,999 (3.16)77
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English (55)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Apenas me gustó. Tiene buen ritmo, supongo que si no hubiera sido por eso, probablemente la hubiera abandonado, o no me hubiera gustado ni siquiera un poco.

No pude conectar nunca con el estilo de escritura. Prácticamente todos los diálogos me parecieron inverosímiles (¿quién dialoga con el tono/lenguaje/vocabulario que se dialoga en este libro?). Muchos de los diálogos en donde se traen a colación cuestiones matemáticas me parecieron además forzados.

Por otro lado, para mi suma mucho en la ficción el desarrollo de los personajes, y siento que esta novela tiene muy poco de eso. No llegás a saber practicamente nada de ninguno de los personajes en cuanto a como piensa, su historia, sus motivaciones, su trasfondo, sus emociones. Una novela narrada en primera persona ya impone dificultades en este sentido, obviamente, pero ni siquiera puedo decir que el relato me permitió conocer al protagonista (nuestro narrador).

Pero la historia está buena, y como mencioné al principio tiene muy buen ritmo, lo cual la termina salvando. Apenas.
( )
  chaghi | Oct 15, 2018 |
I found this short mystery fascinating due to its cerebral nature. Joining serious mathematics with murder made this novel unique in my experience.

When an Argentine math student at Oxford (presumedly based on the author's own experience) discovers the smothered body of his landlady, conventional wisdom points to a family member with the most prosaic of motives. However a famous logician, Arthur Seldom, and author of a book on the mathematics of serial killers, shares the appearance of a strange note in his mailbox. The murder may be the first of a series linked by a mysterious pattern. More bodies pile up, apparently of natural causes, but each paired with a message bearing a new arcane symbol. Arthur and his student ponder whether the deaths are innocent or the subtle, "imperceptible" homicides of a madman seeking to match wits with the great logician, and they rack their brains to decipher a pattern behind the signs before another corpse turns up.

The author, Guillermo Martinez, is a novelist with a Ph.D. in mathematics. His writing style, while conventionally elegant, is enhanced with brief disquisitions on Gödel's theorem, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Wittgenstein's paradox, which demonstrates "the impossibility of establishing an unambiguous rule." While the math may not be essential for solving the crimes, it creates a curious context for the author's exploration of a fundamental mystery theme—how we impose meaningful patterns on the confusing evidence of reality and are in turn misled and blinded by those patterns. The combination of math and mystery works very well in this interesting and intriguing novel. ( )
  jwhenderson | Dec 21, 2017 |
A nicely-written book that does not demand much of its readers, despite its supposedly-intellectual source material. While some modern mathematicians creep in from the sides, this is a book that leans all the way back on Pythagoras and the cult built up around the Greek - a shame, as it seemed unnecessary for Martinez to go that way with his ideas. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Sep 13, 2017 |
The mathematics behind a serial killer. This is one of those murder mysteries where the clues don't add up to the crime. When an elderly woman is found dead everyone presumes a family member committed the crime for the money. The woman was going to die of cancer anyway. Someone just couldn't wait for the inheritance. But, enter world renowned logician Arthur Seldom, author on the mathematics of serial killers, who describes a note left for him indicating this murder is only the first one. There will be more. The curious thing is each subsequent murder victim was already dying of an ailment and every death is accompanied by a strange series of mathematical symbols. It's up to an Argentine math student (loosely based on the author) to crack the case. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Apr 13, 2017 |
The main problem I had with this book is that I found it difficult to believe that the murderer isn’t discovered sooner. It is true that the novel takes place in ‘93, so the police had less gadgets than they have now, but they seem to be rather incompetent even when it comes to the most simple tasks, like watching someone. Also, although it is not impossible to believe the plot, lots of things have to go wrong (or right, depending on the point of view) for the killer’s plan to work. There are also some coincidences that can’t be planed but are important parts of the plot. I can’t say much more about this without revealing too many spoilers though.

A good thing is that the different mathematical theories that are mentioned in the book are explained in a way that anybody with high school knowledge of Math can understand them. This is important because while the main characters know the subject very well, most readers will probably need these explanations. ( )
  Hellen0 | Jun 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
The mix of mathematics and murder mystery makes for a powerful cocktail. The Oxford Murders is not the first thriller to combine the two, but it is one of the first to do it successfully.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guillermo Martínezprimary authorall editionscalculated
Soto, SoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Now that the years have passed and everything's been forgotten, and now that I've received a terse e-mail from Scotland with the sad news of Seldom's death , I feel I can break my silence (which he never asked for anyway) and tell the truth about the events that reached the British papers in the summer of '93 with macabre and sensationalist headlines, but to which Seldom and I always referred - perhaps due to the mathematical connotations - simply as the series, or the Oxford series.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
An intellectual mystery in which mathematical symbols become clues in a sequence of murders.

On a summer's day in Oxford, a young Argentine mathematics student finds his landlady — an elderly woman who helped decipher the Enigma Code during World War II — murdered. Meanwhile, leading Oxford logician Arthur Seldom receives an anonymous note bearing a circle and the words, "the first of the series."

Murders begin to pile up — an old man on life-support is found dead with needle punctures in his throat, a percussionist at Blenheim Palace dies before the audience's very eyes — seemingly unconnected except for notes appearing in the math department, for the attention of Seldom.

Seldom guesses that the murders relate to his book about the parallels between investigations of serial killers and certain mathematical theorems. As he and the young student are drawn further into the game, it is up to mentor and student to solve the puzzle before the killer strikes again.

Haiku summary
A series of crimes:
are they related, and are
they indeed all crimes?

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014303796X, Paperback)

Two mathematicians must join forces to stop a serial killer in this spellbinding international bestseller

A paperback sensation in Argentina, Spain, and the United Kingdom, The Oxford Murders has been hailed as "a remarkable feat" (Time Out London) and its author as "one of Argentina's most distinctive voices" (The Times Literary Supplement). It begins on a summer day in Oxford, when a young Argentine graduate student finds his landlady-an elderly woman who helped crack the Enigma Code during World War II -murdered in cold blood. Meanwhile, a renowned Oxford logician receives an anonymous note bearing a circle and the words "the first of a series." As the murders begin to pile up and more symbols are revealed, it is up to this unlikely pair to decipher the pattern before the killer strikes again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

On a summer's day in Oxford an old lady who once helped decipher the Enigma Code is killed. After receiving a cryptic anonymous note containing only the address and the symbol of a circle Arthur Seldom, a leading mathematician, arrives to find the body.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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