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A Deadly Indifference: A Henry Spearman Mystery [Paperback]

Marshall Jevons
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 16 1998 0691059691 978-0691059693

Harvard professor Henry Spearman--an ingenious amateur sleuth who uses economics to size up every situation--is sent by an American entrepreneur to Cambridge, England. Spearman's mission is to scout out for purchase the most famous house in economic science: Balliol Croft, the former dwelling place of Professor Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes's teacher and the font of modern economic theory. A near miss for the American entrepreneur and the shocking and bizarre murder of Nigel Hart, the master of Bishop's College, soon make it clear that the whole affair is risky business. When a second corpse turns up, Spearman is jolted into realizing that his own life is in peril as he finds himself face to face with the most diabolical killer in his experience.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Distinguished Harvard economics professor Henry Spearman, who can hold his own against the academic backstabbers at Cambridge University, proves he can also survive among more literal killers. Set in 1965, his third appearance (after The Fatal Equilibrium) finds Henry and his genial wife, Pidge, in Cambridge. He's there to advise Chicago businessman Morris Fain in the purchase of Balliol Croft, the historic home of the great economist Alfred Marshall, to provide housing for visiting American scholars. Events go awry with alarming speed. The house is sold to another bidder, Cambridge economist Nigel Hart. An attempt is made on Fain's life, and Hart is murdered in a particularly bizarre fashion. Then a young actress is killed. Spearman, an engaging pedant who applies his favorite economic theorems to every phase of life (romance; map reading; car buying) ultimately uses some complex variations of supply and demand to find an extremely devious killer. This lively, carefully crafted mystery surely offers the greatest good to the greatest number of readers.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Readers will find themselves effortlessly picking up the economic principles strewn about by the authors as clues.... The corpse, when it appears, is a show stopper."--Deborah Stead, The New York Times Book Review

"This lively, carefully crafted mystery surely offers the greatest good to the greatest number of readers."--Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Serial Thriller! April 7 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A Deadly Indifference is a well written book. The logic used by Henry Spearman is superb. I am a student enrolled in an economics class and all of the economic facts used in the book are true. This book has more twists and turns than the Texas Tornado.
The book is not dull and boring like most other books are. This allows the reader to become one with the story. Every move, every thought. Henry Spearman is a world-class sleuth. Buy this book! Even if you don't have to do a report on it!
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. Besides being an enjoyable read, it also teaches some basic economic concepts. Taking place in England in the 1960's, the book has an enjoyable feel.
Perhaps the highest praise I can say for it is that I have read it 3 times. Something I generally never do with murder mysteries.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A short review Dec 25 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is a good, clean murder mystery with economics lessons thrown in. The setting is very nice in the universities of Cambridge, England. The characters are developed well, and there are not too many to keep track of. A surprise ending. Worth reading.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A great mystery!!! July 23 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Mixing economics and murder supplies great entertainment! Jevons is a master storyteller, and I'd like to read even more from this writer(s)!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Serial Thriller! April 7 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A Deadly Indifference is a well written book. The logic used by Henry Spearman is superb. I am a student enrolled in an economics class and all of the economic facts used in the book are true. This book has more twists and turns than the Texas Tornado.
The book is not dull and boring like most other books are. This allows the reader to become one with the story. Every move, every thought. Henry Spearman is a world-class sleuth. Buy this book! Even if you don't have to do a report on it!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great mystery!!! July 23 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mixing economics and murder supplies great entertainment! Jevons is a master storyteller, and I'd like to read even more from this writer(s)!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A short review Dec 25 2003
By "daveg41" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a good, clean murder mystery with economics lessons thrown in. The setting is very nice in the universities of Cambridge, England. The characters are developed well, and there are not too many to keep track of. A surprise ending. Worth reading.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MURDER: NOT MEANS AND MOTIVES, BUT GAINS AND LOSSES April 3 2006
By Michael JR Jose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Set in 1965, Henry Spearman is a Harvard professor of economics who travels to Cambridge, England, to negotiate the purchase of the house of the famous economist Alfred Mashall on behalf of his foundation. While he is there he delivers a witty and insightful lecture in free market economics and with masterful insight predicts the demise of the Communist system. The house sale does not go according to plan, but shortly after he is enjoying the civilised surroundings, when a gruesome and baffling murder takes place in a nearby college. The house sale is turning out to be more complicated than anyone imagined, even for a brilliant economist. Henry Spearman is forced to turn detective, and a formidable analyst he makes.

Although it may sound unlikely, the authors of this book (Marshall Jevons is a pseudonym), make a series of mini-lectures and debates from the lips of the professor into both an entertaining way to learn some principles of economics and an undeniable tool for solving crime. Written in 1995, this book is the third in the Spearman murder series, and is an impressively improved model over the first which was written in 1978. The prose is OK, the descriptions are kept under control, the cut-and-thrust of debate has some real flashes of humour and wordplay. The lessons in economics (for you are indubitably to be enlightened as well as entertained), are generally well integrated into the proceedings, helped by the fact that it is set in Cambridge, which is full of intellectuals and uni-types (not the same thing), who like the flashing blade of debate. And, for the murder mayhem mystery addict (I am more of a `Dirty Harry' type myself - I read these things for the Economics 101), there is enough by way of twists of the plot and a fair sprinkling of red herring to make it worth your while. And, if this has not already been made into a film, it would make a decent thriller sans the mini-lectures, but keeping the Communista-free market debate and the cocktail party.

OK, no plot spoilers, so what lessons in econs can u get here? (and I had to read this book twice to winkle these out, so heads up) -

1. Adverse selection in situations of buying used cars and insurance policies, asymmetry in information theory

2. The economic notion of why people buy anything - utility

3. Love considered as an `interdependent utility function' [I kid u not]

4. Intro. to some famous names: Marshall, Pigou, Keynes, Adam Smith

5. Elasticity of demand and tax

6. No such thing as a `fair' price - the `right' price according to interacting factors.

7. Why Communism Will Fail - Humpty-Dumpty theorem of instability - the critical factor of systemic information summarised by rapidly flexible market prices as opposed to slow inflexible planned prices [r u keepg up w this?] Natural selection can only act if there is variation: communism/socialism deludes itself into thinking that this reality does not constrain them. Eg, Communist cold cream versus Revlon and Helena Rubenstein cosmetics.

8. Q: If Communism is so obviously going to fail, why does it appeal to intellectuals? (A: they think that because they are so clever, they will be in charge in such a society - socialista paternalism! Ooo - does that hurt?)

9. Price effect of supply and demand of joint products, eg straw and wheat, beef and leather

10. Banana split versus fruit cocktail: theory of (psychological) indifference in economic choice [ignores radomicity and free will, too simple model, nature abhors a deadlock]

11. Appendectomy and the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.

12. Economics of running a stables by `Hobson's Choice' (historical example)

13. Efficient allocation of scarce resources by price/most valued use

14. Why have economic theory? Analogy of the map as guide to reality, not reality itself [did they get this from `Mere Christianity' by C.S. Lewis, theology as a map to God?]

15. Contrast between deductive and inductive reason

16. Competition bids up the price

17. Contrast value in use and value in exchange

This is the sort of book that sets you thinking and the lessons do outweigh the novel itself. If you want to track a bit more economistic fiction I also recommend `The Choice' by Russell Roberts: the English economist David Ricardo is summoned back from the grave to comment on international free trade versus protectionism in twentieth century America. Very well written, high level of integration between the morals, the economics, the politics, and the pure political theory. For a good all-round introduction (by an ex-Marxist) try `Basic Economics' by Thomas Sowell, no maths required. Enjoy!
2.0 out of 5 stars A Deadly Indifference April 7 2013
By Alexander Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is more for economists who are interested in being glorified as classy professionals. There's nothing really special about it other than it's a book about a detective/economist. The plot seems to be focused around the idea that every chapter is a lecture on economics and not necessarily about good or even interesting plot, but if lecture is what you want, it's lecture you'll get here.
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