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Martínez was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina. He gained a PhD in mathematical logic at the University of Buenos Aires.Bahía Blanca mathematical logicUniversity of Buenos Aires

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The Oxford Murders (Crímenes imperceptibles, 2003) — novel The Oxford Murders The Immortality Formula (La fórmula de la inmortalidad, 2005) — essays The Book of Murder (La Muerte Lenta de Luciana B, 2007) — novel Gödel (para todos), 2009 — essay

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Regarding Roderer (Acerca de Roderer, 1993) — novel Vast Hell (Infierno grande, 1989) — short stories The Woman of the Master (La mujer del maestro, 1998) — novel Borges and Mathematics (Borges y las matemáticas, 2003) — essays

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His most successful novel has been The Oxford Murders, written in 2003. In the same year, he was awarded the Planeta Prize for this novel, which has been translated into a number of languages.The Oxford Murders

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Title: The Oxford Murders Author: Guillermo Martínez Genre: Novel Written: 2003 (Eng. 2005) Length: 197 pages Original in: Spanish Availability: The Oxford Murders - US Crímenes imperceptibles - US The Oxford Murders - UK The Oxford Murders - Canada Mathématique du crime - France Die Pythagoras-Morde - DeutschlandThe Oxford MurdersCrímenes imperceptiblesThe Oxford Murders Mathématique du crimeDie Pythagoras-Morde

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The Oxford Murders (Spanish: Crímenes imperceptibles; Imperceptible Crimes) is a novel by the Argentine author Guillermo Martínez, first published in 2003. There is a 2005 translation by Sonia Soto.SpanishArgentine Guillermo Martínez2003Sonia Soto The story tells about a professor of logic, who, along with a graduate student, investigates a series of bizarre, mathematically-based murders in Oxford, England.logicgraduate student OxfordEngland

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In this thriller, mathematical symbols are the key to a mysterious sequence of murders. Each new death that occurs is accompanied by a different mathematical shape, starting with a circle.mathematical symbols murders circle

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"The Oxford Murders is comfortably short enough to be read in a single evening, and the plot rattles along at an efficient pace (.....) The prose is straightforward but has some nice touches" - Thomas Jones, London Review of Books

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This pure mathematical form heralds the death of Mrs Eagleton, the landlady of a young Argentine mathematician who narrates the story. It appears that the serial killer can be stopped only if somebody can decode the next symbol in the sequence.Argentinemathematician serial killer

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The mathematics graduate is joined by the leading Oxford logician Arthur Seldom on the quest to solve the cryptic clues. The book explains how hard it can be to solve math in a cryptic form.Oxford

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The Oxford Murders is narrated by an Argentinian maths student, describing events that took place when he went to Oxford on a scholarship in 1993. He only tells the story years after the fact,

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After hearing of the death of one of the people he knew there; clearly the truth -- or at least the whole story -- about the 'Oxford Series' of murders that happened that summer did not come to light at the time.

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Back then the narrator has arranged to room at the house of Mrs. Eagleton while at Oxford, a woman confined to a wheelchair living with her orphaned granddaughter, Beth.

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A few weeks after his arrival, Mrs. Eagleton is murdered. The narrator, along with Arthur Seldom, a "legend among mathematicians" -- indeed, "one of the four leading minds in the field of logic" -- finds the body.

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When they find the body, Seldom reveals that he came to the house because of a note he had received, announcing: "The first of the series", along with Mrs. Eagleton's name and address, a time, and a symbol drawn on it -- "a neatly drawn circle".

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It does turn out to be the first in a series: first there's another suspicious death -- in conjunction with another note --, followed, eventually, by two more occurrences that are obviously continuations of the series.

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Several of the key figures in the novel are mathematicians, and the main lead -- the pieces of paper with different symbols on them -- suggest a mathematically based progression.

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Among the clever ideas utilised by Martínez is Wttgenstein's finite rule paradox: that for any series you can always find a rule justifying any continuation of the series ("The series 2,4,8, can be continued with the number 16, but also the number 10, or 2007"). And Gödel is, of course, also invoked.

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As long as they have only the first murder, message, and symbol they have no idea what comes next. Once there's a second symbol, they can make an educated guess -- and once there's a third they can feel fairly certain about what to expect next.

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But Wittgenstein's rule means there's no certainty. The way that Martinez applies these ideas is particularly inspired, making for the very neat idea that underlies the whole plot -- but it still makes for a somewhat awkward murder mystery.

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Part of the problem is in the focus on the characters: there's a curious lack of interest in many of the characters, and an evenness of tone as if Martinez did not want to favour one over another (especially among those who are to be seen as suspects).

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The failures of presenting the characters fully are most noticeable in the case of the inspector and Beth, but there are several others who are also too briefly and simply presented -- suggestively pushed centre-stage as potential suspects, and then shoved into the background again.

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On the other hand, what Martínez does very nicely is to insert smaller stories in the narrative, allowing characters to reveal themselves --

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Seldom, in particular, is allowed to open up several times, and these are among the best parts of the book. The narrator's Oxford life is also fairly well presented, including the love affair he embarks on.

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The maths is well integrated into the book, and doesn't overwhelm it. This is also the summer of Andrew Wiles solving Fermat's theorem, and Martínez manages to use that fairly well as well.

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There's a leisurely pace to the book, but events still unfold too quickly -- the rich material deserves considerably fuller treatment.

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THE END

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