The Mathematics of Murder (Michael Gilbert)


Although apparently set in the 1990s (references to mobile ’phones), the mood suggests the mid-1950s, and are not far removed from Wade or Rhode.  (P. 229 strongly suggests post-war period—maybe 1970s at latest?)  For instance, “The Mathematics of Murder” echoes the opening of Death in the Tunnel; “The Good Shepherd” is an Erskine Childers tale of boating and skulduggery (smuggling, albeit of pornography); and “On a Dead Man’s Chest” is about the identification of a body from dental records (à la Sayers’s “In the Teeth of the Evidence”, or even Freeman).  However, most of these stories are rather dry and lawyerish.

I was amused by the line (p. 232): “Great-aunt Beatrice?  She’s supposed to be a witch.”  Given that this is a school story, and the speakers are boys, could this be a nod to Gladys?