The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is a story within many smaller stories (all fictional), exploring the different components of a murder mystery novel.
The main story follows an author and his editor. She’s visiting the author’s estate on a mysterious island as they prepare to publish seven short mystery stories the author wrote years ago. These stories lay out different possibilities of the author’s mathematical “formula” of what makes up a satisfying murder mystery story.
The main narrative is sandwiched between each of these seven short stories, after which the author and his editor discuss each story. And of course, there’s another intriguing mystery running through the main thread, too.
*I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher (Henry Holt) in exchange for an honest review.
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The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi: My Thoughts
You know how so many books claim to have an “Agatha Christie-esque” feel? Well, this one truly delivers on that. I loved the gothic undertones, especially in the ‘Trouble at Pearl Island’ story.
The plot may sound a bit complex at first glance, but it was actually pretty easy to sink into the story once I got used to how it was structured. Each of the short stories were entertaining in their own right, and the main narrative tied it all together.
Another thing I loved: setting. Each story brought us somewhere new, and the atmosphere was always on point. I think the Mediterranean-style remote island of the main story was my favorite of all. Salty air, lemon groves, and crystal clear water? Sign me up!
I really enjoyed this book, but I do think with the way it was structured, I had some trouble really connecting to any of the characters. They were each unique and interesting, but sometimes there wasn’t enough for me to get emotionally invested. Still, I never wanted to stop reading!
Overall, this was a unique, narrative-hopping mystery that continues to intrigue until the last page. Definitely recommended!
Rating: 4.25 (out of 5) stars
(Publication date: August 4th, 2020. Thank you to Henry Holt for the review copy!)