The Fatal Equilibrium

Marshall Jevons

Published by The MIT Press, 1985
ISBN 10: 0262100320 / ISBN 13: 9780262100328
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The Fatal Equilibrium is a mystery novel that provides a grasp of basic economics on the way to finding out whodunnit.

Dennis Gossen is dead, a career in economics cut short by the Harvard Promotion and Tenure Committee and an apparent suicide. When two members of that committee are killed, Gossen's fiancee, Melissa Shannon, finds herself indicted for murder. Once again, Henry Spearman, Professor of Economics at Harvard, finds himself on the track of a murderer and once again Marshall Jevons presents his readers with a captivating murder mystery riddle.Was it Morrison Bell, mathematics star, inventor of devices to defeat the squirrels in his birdfeeders? Or was it owl-like Oliver Wu the distinguished sociologist who harbors deep resentments? Was it Valerie Danzig, supposedly former 'item' with Dennis Gossen? Or maybe Foster Barrett, gourmet Harvard classicist? What about Cristolph Burckhardt, infatuated employer of Gossen's fiancee? Or Sophia Ustinov, Russian emigre, lover of American poetry and Borzoi hounds? Three lives come to an end. And when Spearman begins to piece it together, the murderer and Henry find themselves face to face on a luxury liner in a storm at sea in the fourth and final Fatal Equilibrium.For the reader who follows the clues, the solution to this conundrum is, as usual in the best of this genre, elementary. The difference in this case is that it is elementary economics. The Fatal Equilibrium is a mystery novel that provides a grasp of basic economics on the way to finding out whodunnit. Its predecessor, Murder at the Margin, has already achieved a cult following. In a review of Jevons' earlier book, The Wall Street Journal remarked that "if there is a more painless way to learn economic principles, scientists must have recently discovered how to implant them in ice cream."Marshall Jevons is the pseudonym for the team of William Breit, Professor of Economics at Trinity University and Kenneth G. Elzinga, Professor of Economics at The University of Virginia.

From the Inside Flap: At Harvard, tenure decisions are a matter of life -- or death.

For Dennis Gossen, the economics department whiz kid currently being considered for tenure, it's definitely death. When he's turned down by the high-and-mighty Promotion and Tenure Committee, Gossen commits suicide.

A Question of Cost Accounting...

Or does he? It's hard to imagine why a young man with a brilliant scholarly future -- at Harvard or not -- would come up with an equation in which the opportunity cost of killing himself (a high price, considering his potential earnings) would be outweighed by the emotional cost of failing to receive tenure.

... Or Utility?

Then two members of the P and T Committee are murdered, and it becomes clear to Professor Henry Spearman of the Economics Department that the killer must be on the committee. But which of his illustrious colleagues would have significantly increased his -- or her -- utility (i.e., happiness) by murdering a faculty member or two? Or three?

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Fatal Equilibrium
Publisher: The MIT Press
Publication Date: 1985
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New
Edition: First.

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