Monday, 16 February 2009

The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez

A South American student of mathematics arrives in Oxford and boards with a Mrs Eagleton but he does not get to know her well she is soon murdered. He discovers the body in company with Arthur Seldom a professor of logic who tells the police that a piece of paper was left in his pigeonhole at the college with a symbol and the message "The first of the Series" and the time 3:00pm.

We do not have long to wait for the next mysterious death with also a note and symbol posted on the college door. The problem of solving the next in sequence is that according to the Austrian logician Godel not every statement can be proved true.

The start of the book is OK but I found the expositions rather clunky and slowed down the narrative. Once we got rid of those the plot rolls on quite nicely. The descriptions of Oxford from an outsiders point of view are quite well done but the problem is it reads rather like a film exposition rather than a fully fledged novel. It has recently been turned into a film with Elijah Woods (as the student) and John Hurt as the professor but I have not seen it on general release.

The book won the Spanish Planeta Prize so maybe they saw something in it that I did not.

Verdict - A short quick read.

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