Thirty years ago, Grant McAllister was a professor of mathematics who aspired to be a detective story writer. He even crafted rules for the detective stories. Professor McAllister has written a research paper which is titled, “The Permutations of Detective Fiction,” to explain the mathematical structure of murder mysteries and set the specific rules. This may sound funny to most people, but his arguments make a lot of sense. There should be a victim, at least two suspects (otherwise there would be no mystery left), a killer, and a detective. The detective may be the killer. Thirty years ago, he wrote seven detective stories –The White Murders. After publishing them, he moved to a remote Mediterranean island, where he plans to live till his last day. Nobody knows why he has moved to such a remote place all of a sudden.
The first story in “The White Murders” is set in 1930s Spain. When Bunny is found stabbed to death, she was alone in the house with Megan and Henry. There is no question of an intruder as the windows and doors are locked and sealed. Megan and Henry accuse each other of the murder, although they both know who the murderer is. In another story, a restaurateur tells customers in a sad voice that “there has been a death on the premises.” Miss Garrick is alone to protect the crime scene. Professor McAllister never thinks of his book any longer. He has even forgotten about it.
But Professor McAllister is surprised when Julia Hart, an enterprising editor, knocks on his door. Julia tells him that she wants to republish his book — The White Murders — but she wants to revisit those old stories together with him. The question that is agitating Julia’s mind is why he is hiding from his past. Julia thinks that the answer to this question will better understand him and his stories. But, instead of solving all those mysteries, Julia ends up with a mystery of her own to solve. The Eighth Detective is an original mystery novel that stands apart from other mystery novels. It is enchanting and entertaining. Pavesi is amazing in his grasp of the psychology of crime. Pavesi has an impeccable writing style that distinguish him from other contemporary mystery writers. It is a spellbinding whodunnit.