The Truth about Archie and Pye

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

This is so good. Funny, exciting and a real page turner.  So much goes on in this book, a little slow to start but it just gathers momentum as goes along to a stunning ending, where all is revealed. Just fun
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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.
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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.
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" ... 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??
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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!
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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.
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Really enjoyed this book. I would most definitely recommend. Would like to read more by the same author
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an entertaining book about murder and two people trying to solve the murde. Andeverything with the h elp of math. This is something new and interesting to read. there are some more books like this in this series.
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I thought this was a great read. Who knew math could be so thrilling and entertaining! Even though there was a lot of math stuff, I didn't feel overwhelmed or dumb. Nice mystery and characters were fun!
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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.
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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!
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I wanted to like this SO MUCH, but it just fell flat for me.  I loved the premise and the opening bits were great (hence 3 instead of 2 stars) - quirky, snarky, unusual... I had very high hopes, particularly when I saw a number of reviews talk about how funny it was (I even wound up in a fascinating chat with another reviewer about the dearth of funny, non-rom-com stories). As a result of all of that, I was expecting Rob Dirckes' Tesla books; I found a rather odd, convoluted tale of murder, secrets, and mayhem that never quite hit the mark for me. There were some funny bits, but they were buried in what felt like an unnecessary meandering tale about the most hapless of characters - so hapless he wasn't funny (even slapstick funny) so much as depressing. I just couldn't find my way to feeling much of anything at all for Tom except irritation. The supporting cast had a lot of potential - crazy genius twins, a long-lost love interest, conspiracy theorists and Belarusian gangsters and impatient girlfriends - but ultimately wasn't enough to make this one a hit for me.
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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.
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It must be extremely challenging for aspiring mystery writers who are looking for a fresh approach to the genre-----but, there is no doubt that Jonathan Pinnock has found that "out of the box" approach to contemporary detective fiction. 

A mathematical mystery is novel in itself and his guileless anti-hero is definitely not main-stream.  I loved the concept of the book, and enjoy some humor with a mystery, but I had difficulty bonding with the protagonist in this book. Perhaps it is because we shared a career in the public relations field---I hated to think that anyone could be moderately successful and be that lame.
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Mathematical Mayhem

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.
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This is a book that has been built around a mixture of a few things-Maths, mystery and humour. Oddly I did enjoy this book even though I don't really like maths.
Thank you to Farrago and NetGalley for my ARC . My review is unbiased and honest.
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Entertaing funny a mystery a quirky puzzler.So enjoyable  so much fun to read a mystery a mathematical puzzle looking foward to the authors next book.#netgalley #farragobooks
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When I saw this title, I expected the book to have in it math problems to solve much like the crossword puzzle mysteries and sudoku mysteries have puzzles to solve embeded in the text. The Truth about Archie and Pye is nothing like this. There are mathematical elements, but no one needs to know any math to read this book. That means it could be enjoyable for anyone, not just math nerds. I, however, found that a bit disappointing as I had hoped to work through more of the mystery myself with paper and pencil at hand.

Archie and Pye were identical twins that had died (one murdered, one suspected suicide) ten years earlier. Because they were mathematicians working on some of the unsolved problems, a mythology grew up about what they might have discovered. The remaining brother of the twins was quite protective of their papers but finally allowed an author to see them and write a book about them. George Burgess had a manuscript in his briefcase which he left on a train after talking to Tom (our protagonist) in a rather obscure way about his project. Tom picked it up and when going to return it, learned that George had been murdered. One death leads to another and Tom realizes he could also be in trouble. Things go from bad to worse in his life. He looses his job, his company car, the briefcase, he witnesses a kidnapping, his girl friend kicks him out of their apartment. No, it's a pretty bad week for old Tom. And somehow a Belarusian mafia is part of it all! Yep, pretty wild and certainly keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next.

The story was certainly creative and well written. There were times I had to laugh at the situations - some of which were completely absurd! Comments the characters made were funny. I enjoyed that part of the book immensely. 

What bothered me, and the main reason for the 3 stars, was the language that was used, sadly, rather frequently. The author used the "f" word so many times there was no way to count the number of usages. That alone will keep me from reading a sequel.

The characters were well defined. I could imagine each one acting as described. I especially liked the Zumba instructor.

I will miss reading further adventures of Tom and Dorothy, but there are many books out there that are also entertaining that do not have the language problem and those are the ones I will chose to invest my time in.
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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.
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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.
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