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The Mystery of the Invisible Hand:
A Henry Spearman Mystery
Marshall Jevons

Hardcover | 2014 | $24.95 / £16.95 | ISBN: 9780691163130
352 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400851959 |
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Henry Spearman, the balding economics professor with a knack for solving crimes, returns in The Mystery of the Invisible Hand—a clever whodunit of campus intrigue, stolen art, and murder. Having just won the Nobel Prize, Spearman accepts an invitation to lecture at Monte Vista University. He arrives in the wake of a puzzling art heist with plans to teach a course on art and economics—only to be faced with the alleged suicide of womanizing artist-in-residence Tristan Wheeler. When it becomes clear that Wheeler had serious enemies and a murderer is in their midst, Henry Spearman is on the case.

Was Wheeler killed by a jilted lover, a cuckolded husband, or a beleaguered assistant? Could there have been a connection between Wheeler’s marketability and his death? From the Monte Vista campus in San Antonio to the halls of Sotheby’s in New York, Spearman traces the connections between economics and the art world, finding his clues in monopolies and the Coase conjecture, auction theory, and the work of Adam Smith. What are the parallels between a firm’s capital and an art museum’s collection? What does the market say about art’s authenticity versus its availability? And what is the mysterious “death effect” that lies at the heart of the case? Spearman must rely on his savviest economic insights to clear up this artful mystery and pin down a killer.

Marshall Jevons is the pen name of Kenneth G. Elzinga, the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia. Elzinga, along with William Breit of Trinity University (1933–2011), has written three other Henry Spearman mystery novels under the Jevons pseudonym: The Fatal Equilibrium (Ballantine), Murder at the Margin, and A Deadly Indifference (both Princeton).


"The twists and turns of the plat make for great fun as well as for an enjoyable way to learn economics. . . . The Mystery of the Invisible Hand reveals clearly that, while economics can only sometimes help to piece together clues to an unsolved murder, it is utterly indispensable for making sense of the world."--Donald Boudreaux, Wall Street Journal

"Jevons combines entertaining economic lessons with a crafty whodunit in his excellent fourth Henry Spearman mystery."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[F]or anyone wanting to nail down some basic principles of economics, and have fun doing it, it's a 'rational solution.' It would make superb supplementary reading for an introductory econ course."--Brenda Jubin,

"The way that Spearman uses economics as a lens through which to view the ambitions and rivalries of academics is absolutely riveting. Like Freakonomics, this proves that the much-dreaded 'econ' can provide useful entertainment."--Booklist, starred review

"[I]t's a very enjoyable romp--campus novel meets detective novel meets economics primer. . . . As a way to bring some basic economic concepts to life for students, this is an excellent series."--Enlightened Economist

"It's hard to imagine how a short, balding Nobel Prize winner from Harvard could use economic theories to help solve mysteries, but Jevons manages it, with a sense of humor and a whole lot of economics."

"This is an old-style academic mystery such as we have not seen in this country since the days of Michael Innes. . . . [C]ompletely unlike any other crime fiction being published at present. I loved it."--Jessica Mann, Literary Review


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Table of Contents:

1 Spearman Meets the King 1
2 A Nobel Invitation 5
3 No Coase for Concern 11
4 Investigation of a Theft 19
5 Visiting Professor 29
6 West to Texas 37
7 An All-Nighter 43
8 The Artist Has a Visitor 47
9 The Scene of the Crime 57
10 Spearman Gets the News 73
11 The Academical Village 97
12 Dining Protocol in the Academy 107
13 A Doctor's House Call 119
14 A Conference of Detectives 133
15 Art and Economics 141
16 It All Began with Adam... 161
17 Office Hours: In Three Acts 179
18 The Hiring Squad 201
19 Surprise at Sotheby's 217
20 Trip to the Travis 231
21 Class Action 249
22 An Artist's Eulogy 259
23 Lost & Found 269
24 An Arresting Development 277
25 The Death Effect 281
26 The Bell Curve 297
27 A Late Night Visit 309
28 Doing Good by Doing Well 317
Acknowledgments 341

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Marshall Jevons:

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      File created: 3/10/2015

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