Move over, Sherlock and Watson--the detective duo to be reckoned with. In the entertaining short-story collection L.A. Math, freelance investigator Freddy Carmichael and his sidekick, Pete Lennox, show how math smarts can crack even the most perplexing cases. Freddy meets colorful personalities throughout Los Angeles and encounters mysterious circumstances from embezzlement and robbery to murder. In each story, Freddy's deductive instincts--and Pete's trusty math skills--solve the crime. Featuring such glamorous locales as Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Malibu, and Santa Barbara, the fourteen short stories in L.A. Math take Freddy and Pete through various puzzles and challenges. In "A Change of Scene," Freddy has to figure out who is selling corporate secrets to a competitor--so he uses mathematical logic to uncover the culprit. In "The Winning Streak," conditional probability turns the tables on an unscrupulous bookie. And in "Message from a Corpse," the murderer of a wealthy widow is revealed through the rules of compound interest. It's everything you expect from the City of Angels--A-listers and wannabes, lovers and lawyers, heroes and villains.
Readers will not only be entertained, but also gain practical mathematics knowledge, ranging from percentages and probability to set theory, statistics, and the mathematics of elections. For those who want to delve into mathematical subjects further, the book includes a supplementary section with more material. Filled with intriguing stories, L.A. Math is a treat for lovers of romance, crime, or mathematics.
James D. Stein is emeritus professor in the Department of Mathematics at California State University, Long Beach. His books include Cosmic Numbers (Basic) and How Math Explains the World (Smithsonian).
PREFACE: L.A. Math ix MATHEMATICAL TOPICS BY CHAPTER xv CHAPTER 1. A Change of Scene 1 CHAPTER 2. The Case of the Vanishing Greenbacks 11 CHAPTER 3. A Matter of Time 21 CHAPTER 4. The Worst Forty Days since the Flood 31 CHAPTER 5. The Accidental Guest 40 CHAPTER 6. Message from a Corpse 50 CHAPTER 7. Animal Passions 60 CHAPTER 8. Nothing to Crow About 69 CHAPTER 9. The Winning Streak 78 CHAPTER 10. One Long Season 88 CHAPTER 11. The Great Basketball Fix 97 CHAPTER 12. It's All in the Game 106 CHAPTER 13. Division of Labor 115 CHAPTER 14. The Quarterback Controversy 123 APPENDIXES: Continuing the Investigations 1. Mathematical Logic in "A Change of Scene" 137 2. Percentages in "The Case of the Vanishing Greenbacks" 143 3. Averages and Rates in "A Matter of Time" 148 4. Sequences and Arithmetic Progressions in "The Worst Forty Days since the Flood" 153 5. Algebra, the Language of Quantitative Relationships, in "The Accidental Guest" 161 6. Mathematics of Finance in "Message from a Corpse" 166 7. Set Theory in "Animal Passions" 175 8. The Chinese Restaurant Principle: Combinatorics in "Nothing to Crow About" 184 9. Probability and Expectation in "The Winning Streak" 189 10. Conditional Probability in "One Long Season" 198 11. Statistics in "The Great Basketball Fix" 202 12. Game Theory in "It's All in the Game" 213 13. Elections in "Division of Labor" 219 14. Algorithms, Efficiency, and Complexity in "The Quarterback Controversy" 225 An Introduction to Sports Betting 231 Notes 235 Index 239