The Truth about Archie and Pye
(A Mathematical Mystery Book 1)
by Jonathan Pinnock
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Pub Date 4 Oct 2018 | Archive Date 21 Dec 2018
Something doesn't add up about Archie and Pye ...
After a disastrous day at work, disillusioned junior PR executive Tom
Winscombe finds himself sharing a train carriage and a dodgy Merlot
with George Burgess, biographer of the Vavasor twins, mathematicians
Archimedes and Pythagoras, who both died in curious circumstances a
Burgess himself will die tonight in an equally odd manner, leaving Tom with a locked case and a lot of unanswered questions.
Join Tom and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations, involving internet conspiracy theorists, hedge fund managers, the Belarusian mafia and a cat called µ.
Praise for Jonathan Pinnock:
‘Lovely stuff.’ Ian Rankin
‘He makes funny and self-deprecating company.’ The Herald
‘Jonathan Pinnock writes compelling tales with a deliciously wicked glint in his eye.’ Ian Skillicorn, National Short Story Week
‘Jonathan Pinnock is Roald Dahl’s natural successor.’ Vanessa Gebbie
Average rating from 29 members
This is probably one of the funniest and unique mystery books I've read in a long time.
The mixture of mystery, mathematical concepts and humour is a perfect combination to get anyone, of any age, to enjoy this book. Even for children who are always saying that 'math is boring', this may give them a funny approach to it, albeit in a fictional and pretty incredible plot.
I'm very interested in reading the next book in this series.
Disclaimer: I was provided this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, and all opinions are my own.
Very clever. Tom did not expect to find himself trying to solve the mystery of the death of George Burgess- who he's just met- much less the death of the Vavasor twins. For those who are mathphobes- don't worry- this is not intimidating and actually quite fun. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
This book is very funny, paradoxal, entertaining and well written.
That means it's a very enjoyable read and I hope this is a series so there's going to be another instalment.
Many thanks to Farrago and Netgalley for this ARC
A mathematical murder mystery that took me back to my student days of learning and understanding complex equations!! Disillusioned and just about to be sacked PR executive Tom Winscombe finds himself sat on the train next to a very strange character. George Burgess has been recruited as biographer of the famous mathematical twins Archimedes and Pythagoras Vavasor who both died in mysterious circumstances ten years ago. Then Burgess himself is murdered leaving Tom with a securely locked case and a whole load of problems. Inside a week Tom's life has been turned upside down as he is reluctantly thrown into a murky world of wonderful bizarre characters including a fair amount of input from the Belarusian mafia. Rumours and conspiracy theories abound in the Vavasorology forums and just in time he receives much needed help from an old school friend. m, p, e and i all add up to a wickedly clever story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Glad to see that further adventures are on the way!
Tom is a PR guy who's had a terrible day. On his way home, he meets a stranger on the train who has some crazy theories about a pair of deaths that took place a decade ago.
From that moment on, Tom's life will change for ever in ways noone could imagine.
I loved the story, the mystery and the math!
This story does not disappoint!
Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of this book!
I enjoyed The Truth About Archie And Pie. It’s a comic mystery which is actually funny and which has some genuine content to it as well.
Be warned, the plot is bonkers. Tom Winscome, a rather smug pillock in PR (who narrates the book) comes into possession of some mathematical manuscripts, and as his life then comes apart he finds himself in the middle of murder plots, possibly being threatened by the Belarusian mafia and so on while having to solve some mathematically-based mysteries to find out what is going on and save himself and his friends. Put like that, it sounds pretty terrible, but it’s well written, witty enough to make me laugh out loud several times, the maths elements are enjoyable and simply explained, and it has a plot which is just (just!) coherent enough to make a decent mystery.
Jonathan Pinnock has an easy, readable style with neatly-painted (if sometimes absurdly extreme) characters, like the vicar who “had a plummy, earnest voice that managed to sound sympathetic and judgemental at the same time,” and he gets Tom’s hopeless lack of self-awareness very well. I liked this little line after he has been a pain to his girlfriend who has left him a note saying that she has gone out with Samantha to discuss man problems: “Samantha’s boyfriend was an arse, so I wasn’t a bit surprised by this.” Tom does develop a little during the book, which is also a good aspect.
Pinnock also takes some neat, humorous swipes at a lot of modern idiocies, like
‘What if he’s got a gun?’
‘We’re in Hoxton, Tom. If anyone found a gun in Hoxton, they’d use it in some kind of post-ironic artwork.’
OK, it’s an easy target, but it’s nicely done and there’s plenty of enjoyable stuff in the same vein about internet behaviour, conspiracy theories, absurd corporate language and so on.
This isn’t a comedy classic for me; I couldn’t quite give it five stars because I felt it could do with a little tightening up in places, but it’s a very enjoyable read and I will be looking out for the sequel.
(My thanks to Farrago for an ARC via NetGalley.)
This was such a funny book! My mind keeps trying to go to similar books, and I know I've read some, but I can't remember any for the life of me right now. But once you start reading it, you'll know the kind I mean. It's fast, it's hilarious, it's got a ridiculously incompetent main character who is still quite likeable, despite being either a major dick, or just a big doofus - interchangeably (think of a main character from an urban fantasy, for example.) It's good evening entertainment, nothing short of watching a spy or con men movie, and it will deliver.
One more thing - little mathematical details are sprinkled all over the plot - but they're not as difficult as to go over your head, they are explained and they certainly set a nice tone to the story. If you've ever been a maths dork (like me!), this will be an added bonus.
Despite the mystery the main character is chasing in this book, there's still a hanging thread that remains after everything seems to be solved - which makes me happy because that means there's will be a part two. Can't wait to read it!
I thank Farrago and Prelude for the review copy in exchange to my honest opinion. This has not affected my review.
After a chance encounter with eccentric author George Burgess on a train, Tom Winscombe learns that he has been murdered. Tom thinks that the murder must be linked to Burgess’s work on the mysterious mathematician twins Archimedes and Pythagoras Vavasor, who died some years ago in suspicious circumstances. Their deaths and their unfinished work are the subject of almost cultish speculation.
Tom decides to investigate Burgess’ murder, not least because he has time on his hands. He has just sabotaged his own career via an unfortunate outburst on social media and his girlfriend’s attention seems to be elsewhere.
What follows is a fun, entertaining caper which takes Tom through internet forums, catnapping, maths-themed mutilations and a burgeoning interest in Belarus.
I enjoyed the mathematical elements of the story, but don’t be put off if you find the idea daunting. Tom doesn’t know anything at the start so the reader learns as he does. And if you’re not up for equations, there are plenty of odd characters, fun set pieces and Tom’s unerring knack for walking into trouble.
This is the third novel from the Farrago imprint which I’ve read and enjoyed. They have quite a distinctive list of ‘fiction to make you smile’ – and right now we can all do with a bit of that.
Take an ordinary bloke on the verge of a meltdown. Let's face it, it is questionable if he's even terribly likable. Nor is his girlfriend. Now, introduce him to madmen and spies and the Belarusian mafia. Throw in a heavy dose of irrational and transcendental mathematics, a few car chases, tracking devices, bombs, assorted horrendous puns and similar humor, and this thriller cum Holy Grail gradually comes to full-blown, screaming-but-funny, life. After a slightly tepid start I found myself electronically flipping pages ever faster to see what new mess had befallen Tom. Slowly he begins to solve the mysteries with the help of a woman from his past. Also, there is a lovable cat called µ.
This was a funny mathematical murder mystery. Truly delightful and one of the funniest books I have read in a while. I never knew math could be fun! Thanks to Farrago and to NetGallry for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
This book was so much fun to read! I'm not normally one for murder mysteries, they're just not my thing. But with a cast of likeable characters, a swirl of conspiracy theories, a lot of fun and several Gordion knot solutions, this book was a wonderful exception to the "no mysteries" rule.
Tom was immediately the kind of character you can relate to and empathize with. Even just his trying to get a quiet moment on the train and ultimately failing despite the multiple "quiet car" signs was all too familiar. You really get the sense of him as the underdog so it's very easy to cheer for him as he progresses through the story. And yes he does genuinely mess up a couple things (and maybe a few more) but the other characters are quick to call him out on it and he learns his lesson pretty quickly.
As is the nature of conspiracy theories, they make so little sense from the outside. Pinnock does a wonderful job of making the intertwined theories more and more comprehensible as Tom delves deeper into them. It gets to the point where the even some of the most seemingly random things actually make perfect sense.
And if you're worried there's too much math involved, don't worry. Pinnock does a great job of explaining what math there is and keeping it as simple as possible. Seriously, the figuring out of Burgess' combination was equal parts educational, fun and absurd. I loved that entire scene.
If you're looking for a funny mystery novel, if you're the type of person who thought The DaVinci Code would've been good if it hadn't taken itself so seriously, this is a wonderful book for you to pick up. Pinnock's characters, circumstances and humor are definite winners. 4.5 hoots!
It took me a while to get into this book. I found the first quarter, or there abouts, which was mainly scene setting, quite slow and uninteresting, but once it got going it was a ripping yarn. The main protaganist, while never being over stuffed with ideas, does, with the help of a friend, manage to solve the mystery and stop the deaths. It was nice to see, at the end, that the story will continue.
Laugh out loud funny once it gets going.
If there is an award for the funniest book ever then I am pretty sure that this book is going to win! Hilarious, Quirky and Informative, this book has it all! Every paragraph has something funny to offer to the reader. Dorothy's explanation of Euler's formula and Tom's confusion about the value of pi were hilarious. The story, on the whole, was engaging, interesting and riveting.
Mathematics is one of my favorite subjects and that made me like this book even more. The mystery behind the murder of Vavasor twins was intriguing. The Reimann hypothesis was a nice touch to the story. And how can I not mention the names of the twins - Archimedes and Pythagoras! How cute is that!
My favorite character is Tom. I mean, it has to be him! Funny, a tad bit imbecile-like, and as curious as a cat. The conversations that he had in his head when his ex-girlfriend - Lucy (she's not his ex when the story begins) was hilarious... and, can I say relatable? When the person sitting in front of you starts a boring conversation then the mind just drifts away to something else and I call it - group discussion with self! And that is what Tom was doing when Lucy was going on and on, yada, yada, yada.
Arkady was another such character that I found funny. Arkady. Is funny. Is Interesting. And Tom's 'Neeooo Gegooo' had me literally ROFL.
I recommend this book to one and all. You don't have to be a math lover to like this book. You don't have to know Euler's formula either. All you have to do is sit, read and laugh out loud while reading this book.
Heading home on the train after a career-ending bad day at work, Tom Winscombe isn't really in the mood for social chitchat but gets drawn into conversation with the guy sitting next to him - George Burgess, an author of 'conspiracy' books, currently working on a biography of mathematical geniuses Archibald and Pythagoras Vavasor, who died in suspicious circumstances ten years ago. Getting off the train, Burgess leaves his case behind, and Tom decides he'll return it the next day. Before he has chance to, Burgess is killed, and Tom finds himself holding documents that people are willing to kill for. Very soon he finds himself pulled into the murky world of conspiracy theories, murder, mathematics and Belorussian mafia.
If you like your thrillers a little quirky and off-beat, this is the book for you. Basically the story is one of slightly irritating but still like-able guy drawn into the realm of ruthless killers, through no fault of his own except maybe a certain innocent gullibility - Tom is the sort of guy who rushes in where cautious folk fear to tread, who hearing howling noises from a lonely deserted house would go to investigate, and wonder why he stumbled on a crime scene straight out of a horror story. Don't expect a serious Nordic Noir style thriller but something more the style of a Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently novel with the added frenzy of a Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film. It's fun, fast-paced and full of intrigue, and I loved it!
Also, don't let the subtitle 'a mathematical mystery' put you off. While it's the basis of a lot of in-jokes, the reader doesn't need to understand the finer points of maths, any more than you need to understand astro-physics to watch The Big Bang Theory - it's enough to know that someone somewhere is willing to murder to obtain the Vavasors' notes.
The Truth About Archie and Pye is the first of a series, and I for one am eagerly anticipating Book 2!
" ... revenge, served piping hot, on Wedgewood bone china with a silver service ..."
The storyline rumbles along like a proverbial train wreck - you want to look away but can't - as what begins as a paradox soon develops into a workable probability theory as events triangulate towards their inevitable conclusion.
Enough of the mathematical hypotheses - our disgruntle narrator Tom Winscombe finds himself drawn to the mysterious murders of the enigmatic Vavasor twins - Archimedes and Pythagorus, after a chance meeting on a train sets off the chain of events which are at times almost - dare I say it - Mr Beanish. Who is behind the mysterious deaths; who wants the mystery to remain just that, a mystery; how are the Belarusan mafia connected; what secrets does a locked briefcase hold - if only Tom could open it.
Escapism for the mathematical inclined ... is that an axiom I hear you ask??
This is a strikingly good tale about twins, murder, betrayal, mathematical codes, financial survival and human nature in general that begins with PR man Tom Winscombe’s fateful train ride and his chance encounter with a bizarre author whose latest work examines the decade old deaths of twin mathematicians Archimedes (Archie) and Pythagoras (Pye) Vavasor.
The meeting is brief and when, on the following day, the author turns up dead our protagonist goes to the dead man’s home, becomes involved in an unusual situation and decides that something just doesn’t add up. With his PR career in the dumper, his girlfriend seeking greener pastures and having nothing better to do with his time, our amateur Sherlock decides to take a shot at murder investigation utilizing, among other things, internet forums inhabited by conspiracy theorists and the talents of an old college chum.
The cast of characters takes on intriguing nuances as Johnathan Pinnock satirizes situations while providing a tale with more than its share of suspense due in large part to additional murders and the appearance of the Belarus mafia. Challenging the reader’s notions about everything from mathematicians to computer geeks, Pinnock lifts a superficially superficial cast out of the trivial and endows them with some emotional complexity before ripping the rug out from under them.
A good light read - a couple of math nerds try to solve a math nerd murder mystery. i wasn't sure Id enjoy it at the beginning, but it's catchy, and by the end I'm looking for more.