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Eight Detectives Reviews

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

Eight Detectives

Alex Pavesi

3.57 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Michael Joseph Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 20 Aug 2020
ISBN: 9780241433560


3 stars out of 5
12 Sep 2020

"As homage, the stories are entertaining enough, and at times capture the deadpan surreality of the early 20th-century whodunnit"

A set of seven golden age-style mysteries with an abundance of brutal slayings in genteel surroundings are rendered in a heightened pastiche of the form. These are nested within a greater narrative where their fictional author, Grant McAllister, discusses his own set of rules for the detective story with an editor, which leads to an eighth murder mystery. This metafictional conceit has much potential, but Pavesi doesn’t quite pull it off. Much is made of his author’s theories, but they seem rather banal and offer no real or relevant challenges to the protagonists. And Pavesi himself breaks the golden rule of the form by concealing much crucial information until the last minute.


5 stars out of 5
Joan Smith
23 Aug 2020

"one of this year’s most entertaining crime novels"

Alex Pavesi knows the genre inside out and cleverly recreates it in his terrific first novel, Eight Detectives (Michael Joseph £14.99). It’s three decades since a mathematician, Grant McAllister, published a collection of seven stories that supposedly illustrate the rules of the Golden Age detective novel. Now a bright young editor has turned up at his home on a Mediterranean island, wanting to republish the book and suggesting they should read the stories aloud together. The old man is unfazed by this strange request, but he doesn’t seem to remember key details in each of the stories. It gradually becomes evident that something sinister is going on, relating to a real murder...

2 stars out of 5
Mark Sanderson
8 Aug 2020

"Alex Pavesi is a lively writer"

This is not the first time the genre has been turned inside out. Alain Robbe-Grillet did it in the 1950s and, more recently, Gilbert Adair’s trilogy featuring Evadne Mount deconstructed Golden Age novels with wit and affection. Alex Pavesi is a lively writer, but most readers will probably skip the eight “conversations” highlighting narrative discrepancies and simply read the somewhat gory and perfunctory tales. However, Eight Detectives has zero emotional impact. It feels like a game of Clue-do-ku.