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Bad Day in Minsk by Jonathan Pinnock

Title: Bad Day in Minsk ( A Mathematical Mystery #4)

Author: Jonathan Pinnock

Published on: 8th April 2021

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Humor

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wackalicious, Quirkalicious, Math-a-licious, Bad Day in Minsk is a must-read-a-licious. Okay, I got a little carried over back there but seriously, go right now and grab a copy of this book! What a fantastic, mind-blowing and completely entertaining story!

Tom Wiscombe, our hero (ahem!) has an itch he cannot scratch – he got involved in the missing Vavasor papers (The Truth about Archie and Pye, the first book in the series). Three books later – which involved the travelling alpacas, jumping from an exploding helicopter (The Riddle of the Fractal Monks), jumping off a sinking ship (A Question of Trust) and whole lot of chasing, stumbling, tripping, stumbling, tripping… um, Tom is in Belarus.

Our evil Mary Poppins (Helen Mathieson) sends Tom on a mission-of-a-lifetime; or in Tom’s case, his fourth mission-of-a-lifetime. For your kind information, Tom is no Agent 007 – but we do have a lot of numbers here, plus Euler’s theorem, probability, cryptocurrency and whatnot. Where there is chaos, there is Tom. Where there is Tom, there is chaos.

When Tom reaches Minsk, he is kidnapped and is taken to a Chernobyl exclusive zone. He spends days there, impersonating a renowned mathematician (Oh, boy!) – all this when Tom doesn’t understand the difference between Euler (pronounced as Oiler) and Broiler! The one person who could save him is not talking to him.

As we all know, some equations are tougher than the others; we see Tom trying to solve it all – addition where multiplication is to be used, subtraction where division is to be used and finally the bugger ends up diving everything by zero! (I am talking about the oopsie that Tom does !) Arkady (Tom’s ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend; lots of Xs here), Katja and Balvinder also play a major role in the story.

I don’t think I have come across a story that is as wacky, quirky and hilarious(in a weird way) as this one. Bad Day in Minsk is a new favorite in the series. I absolutely enjoyed reading every bit of this story. There’s something for everyone here – we have math, adventure, fun, burglary (tense music), alpacas, peeling potatoes and drinking vodkas that burn your stomach, and much more.

Jonathan Pinnock is a master storyteller. The mystery behind the missing Vavasor papers (on which the series is based) is well-maintained until the end. The ending is mind-blowing; without giving away spoilers, I would say – as the story ends, you will want to kiss Tom as well as slap him… at the same time! My god, this guy! Uff!

This is THE kind of book one must read – a complete entertainment package! Humor, wacko characters, adventure, action, an agent on a mission (ahem), math and tech stuff (theorems and cryptocurrencies), stunts on helicopters and a free (visual) visit to the Chernobyl exclusive zone – go on, chop chop, read the book!


Many thanks to Duckworth Books/ Farrago Books and NetGalley for the ARC.

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