[Photo of Norbert Weiner, who as far as I know didn't say the above, copyright RLE at MIT]
You will no doubt remember my post about "The Pythagorean Murders" by Tefkros Michaeledes.
It was the one about the mathematicians who got reincarnated as beans.
I mentioned I'd started reading the book. Now I've finished it. I'm sure that you are all really eager to know what happens. Well, you might be, and I'd hate you to be lying on your deathbeds (hopefully many years from now), wondering.
I'm going to reveal the answer, so if you think that you're ever likely to read this book, read no further.
All still with me? Good. Actually if the book becomes available in English, or Spanish or whatever, I wouldn't recommend it. Stick with Agatha Christie.
Unfortunately, it wasn't really a "Whodunnit". After all, it's a mathematical murder mystery and the only person at all interested in maths apart from the victim (and Picasso, but I think we can discount him), is the narrator.
He even gets arrested, tried and found guilty (the narrator, not Picasso). All the evidence is against him. But he's freed on appeal, because they can't work out a possible motive for why he killed his best friend. His friend that he loved and had absolutely no wish to hurt.
Of course, the reason is to do with maths. His friend has been looking for a mechanical means to prove theorems. This, our hero realises, will take all of the fun out of the subject (do you remember the fun you had with maths at school?). His friend announces that he's solved the problem. Our hero has a look, can't find any flaw in his reasoning, and murders him so that maths will still be fun.
For some strange reason the police and the lawyers overlooked that motive. I thought of it on the second or third chapter, and decided that it was just too implausible. But then what would I know? I did train to be a maths teacher, but then saw sense.
So our "hero" gets released from prison, and goes home with the feeling that although he's killed his friend, it's for the greater good. Then he reads an article by Goedel in a maths journal. In it Goedel proves that the problem cannot be solved. So somewhere in the 15 pages crammed with equations his friend made a mistake. Our hero writes his confession and kills himself. The End.
So the victim was killed because of a mistake in his maths. Maybe he left out a minus sign or something. When your maths teacher was lecturing you about the importance of accuracy, perhaps that's what they meant...