Mathematics & Murder!
Whoa! What a combination!
To the common mortals, Mathematics is THE Murderer. Who (except those thick-spectacled geeks) is not afraid of Mathematics in their school days?
But to speak the truth, Mathematics is THE Truth itself. Nothing in this Universe is beyond the clutches of Mathematics. It is the Language of God (or Nature, if you are an atheist) through which man can communicate with the Nature. But to relate Mathematics with a series of murders is definitely an entirely new concept, even in the new genre of scientific who-dun-it stories. Conundrum, the latest murder-thriller by the eminent author Dr. Aniruddha Bose perfectly deals with this bizarre combination of Mathematics and serial murders.
A serial murderer is on the prowl in the urban set-up of the crowded megapolis of Kolkata, and a number of apparently motiveless murders are taking place in the city, and to cap it all, there is another bizarre mystery – the murderer is informing every murder in advance to a brilliant Professor of Statistics working in the world famous Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. The victims, both men and women, are from different strata of the society without any apparent connection to each other. Police is at a loss as there is a total lack of motives and patterns in the murders, especially the types of murder-weapons which are as bizarre as they are unique, but the most baffling mystery is why the professor is being dragged into the scene.
I can’t divulge the secret here, though I’m tempted enough, but a murder mystery should remain as such, to be explored and discovered by the readers. All I can say here is that this is a completely new type of who-dun-it story, and the final twist with the introduction of a famous Mathematical sequence as the key to the understanding of the mystery of the serial killings is a novel concept on the part of the author, a real life Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon who has come up with new ideas in his novels so far.
I’d like to conclude this short introduction with one final word - though this novel deals with higher Mathematics and Chemistry, yet there is nothing to be afraid of regarding the scientific parts, especially the Mathematics, as it is explained in such a way that even the most Mathematics-phobic person like me can understand clearly every scientific theory presented quite easily.
I sincerely hope for a wide circulation of Conundrum, not only for its brain teasing approach, but also for its novelty in merging mystery with Mathematics with a dose of human psychology as well.
5th August 2018 Dr. Asis Kumar Chatterjee
Hardbound, 256 pages, 450 gms
Price: Rs 400/- US $20/-
Keywords: conundrum, mystery, thriller, statistics, Aniruddha, Bose, novel, smriti, publishers, computers, brain, programming
Review of Conundrum
I must say your thrillers are very racy-chasy. James Hadley Chase would've lost the race while trying to decipher and unravel your morsels of not-so-morose Morse code. Laughed my way through your CONUNDRUM! Now I'm awaiting FEMALE KILLS VIA EMAIL, where your front-page credit lines must sing fulsome paeans of my praises. Srimati Lal as the Spine-tingling Chiller Muse. You provide jolly good competition to boring old Dame Agatha. You prove that Calcutta is racier and chasier, from Southern Avenue to ICCR and Newtown, than New York or London.
Review of Aniruddha Bose’s CONUNDRUM
Conundrum is a scientific English thriller par excellence. The author has used a rarest of rare skill of presentation of a riddle with pun and dreadful formidability that caused the death of thirteen otherwise innocent lives. The cause of such death remained unexplored to normal purview of the investigation of police. The question is, what good enough reason work as inputs to perpetuate such heinous crime? The experts in the research field opine chronic constant anger due to turbulent past might be the trigger of a revenge or it can be due to a manifestation of micro-psychotic episode causing Borderline Personality Disorder. The people with Borderline Personality Disorder often has a high IQ and a gage of wits than the usual motive. The bouts could convert the person to a serial killer than specific motive for a particular crime. According to sustained research findings, the present generation of humankind in some form reveal such behaviour trait and show an intrinsic disorder with varied manifestations. Often, they’ve unstable intense interpersonal relationships alternating to extremes - from idealisation or over-idealisation to devaluation. They might have chronic feelings of emptiness. The crucial feature is affective instability.
The author in this thriller has made this scientific finding very clear with observation that “Marked shifts of the baseline mood to depression, irritability, anxiety marked reactivity of the mood which we term as dysphoria. It could range from a few hours to days. A feeling of guilt often subconsciously works. It might lead to transient paranoid ideation or dissociation”. To make it clearer the author maintains “that in ideation or dissociative state, that's off the normalcy, there could be a transient phase, where out of anger to whatever reason, might lead to the assailant to commit these heinous deeds. This might be from stress due to whatever reason, from a feel of void”
The author with acute acumen ship very logically brings a Professor of Indian Statistical Institute working in a higher mathematical domain who could utilise his intellect and knowledge of psychiatry in order to make a deadly assemblage confronting one with the triple-bundled action for reaching out the solution. In such an endeavour Prof Summit needed stringent impute for self-realisation, being a fellow falling under the group of resistant obsessive persona, though he is a topper, end to end in his academic journey that ordained him to obtain a PhD from a foreign country in Statistical Research.
Conundrum being a scientific English thriller does not fall under the category of general genre areas for multiple reasons. As a physician par excellence and a person of highest intellectual and literary faculties, he highlights an age-old tradition of masculine promiscuity, repressing the feminine lust in socio-cultural and religious fetters, resultantly causing backlash with evolution, female multitude trailing the masculine attributes. When it boils the personal definition, it's ‘No… no’. I as a male child could fool around but you as my wife can't. With this conviction, he justifies deep-seated hypocrisy in maintaining the relationship between a male and a female.
In the novel author has very logically portrayed a character having supremacy over others for which he referred to the dominant personal attributes as that of a character Chitrangada in the epic Mahabharata. The author spares not himself to educate the readers about the use of the Fibonacci system of sequencing the murders that make this thriller highly engrossing. “In mathematics, sequence of numbers surprisingly useful applications in botany and other natural sciences. Beginning with two 1’s each new term is generated as the sum of the previous two: 1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8,13… The 13th century mathematician Leonardo of Pisa (c1170 – after 1240) also known as the Fibonacci discovered the sequence but did not explore its uses which have turned out to be wide and various. For example, the number of petals in most types of flowers and number involved in branching and seed formation patterns cause from Fibonacci sequence”. The Fibonacci system originated in India from the works of Pingala (200 BC) on itemising possible patterns of poetry from syllabus of two lengths, especially Sanskrit prosody known as ‘chandas’ in the Vedic verses. It had extensive use in Vedic literature (700 BC) Vedanga verses.
Ardent readers highly appreciate the language used in narrating the storyline of this unique thriller from beginning to the end and the author’s visualisation of nature on appropriate occasions, make depicting characters incisive and lively.
The cover page of the book commands attention of the readers.