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Quick on the draw

De
212 pages
A theft and a hold-up, an impostor trying to collect an inheritance, the disappearance of a lab mouse worth several hundred thousand dollars, and a number of other cases : these are the investigations led by Maurice Manori, a police inspector known for being quick on the draw. He owes his reputation to his highly effective (but very unconventional ) methods. His secret weapon ? Graph theory. In search of the truth, Inspector Manori draws graphs that will introduce you to the ins and outs of a mathematical discipline with countless handy applications.
This novel provides the layperson with an excellent breakdown of a science that's not very well known, using it to model a wide range of everyday situations. Thanks to its fun approach, it's great for both Sudoku and logic puzzle lovers and for math and science students and teachers.
Bad guys take note : Manori is watching, and he's quick on the draw !
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ALAIN HERTZ
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CRIMEBUSTING WITH A MATHEMATICAL TWIST
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Translated by Andrea Zanin
ALAIN HERTZ QUICK ON THE DRAW CRIME BUSTING WITH A MATHEMATICAL TWIST
Quick on the Draw: Crime-busting with a Mathematical Twist
Translation of:L’Agrapheur – Intrigues policières à saveur mathématique  by Alain Hertz
Cover page: Cyclone Design Translation: Andrea Zanin Layout: Martine Aubry Editorial coordination and production: Luce Venne-Forcione
For information on distribution and points of sale, see our website: www.pressespoly.ca E-mail Presses internationales Polytechnique at: pip@polymtl.ca
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for our publishing activities.
Government of Québec — Tax credit for book publishing — Administered by SODEC.
All rights reserved. © Presses internationales Polytechnique, 2012
This book may not be duplicated in any way without the express written consent of the publisher.
Legal deposit: 2nd quarter 2012 Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec Library and Archives Canada
ISBN 978-2-553-01626-4 (printed version) ISBN 978-2-553-01644-8 (pdf version)
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Printed in Canada
To the memory of my mother, Irène-Reiz bat Yéhouda (zal). Your shining joy was contagious. Your star still sparkles in the sky and in my heart.
Yéhouda ben Yossef
To the four other women who light up my life, Muryel, Anaëlle, Sarah and Céline.
Alain
TABLEOFCONTENTS
Prologue........................................................................... vii
Chapter IRespecting the Rules ..........................................1
Chapter II................................15The Villas of the Bellevue
Chapter III.........................33The Case of the Missing Files
Chapter IVThe Case of the Hidden Inheritance ...............61
Chapter VThe Unhappy Employee..................................85
Chapter VI107The Case of the Runaway Mouse .................
Chapter VIIThe Case of the Hooded Man ..................... 129
Chapter VIIIThe Getaway Car......................................151
Chapter IXThe Sudoku Apprentice ...............................171
Author’s Notes................781..............................................
Bibliography.................................................................1.59
Acknowledgments.................................................197........
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PROLOGUE
My name is Maurice Manori. I’m a police inspector with the Sûreté du Québec, more specifically in the Montréal forensics office. While I’ve lived in Québec for some thirty years, my origins are Italian, from Belfiore in the Veneto region in the province of Verona. I was six years old when my parents decided to move to Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where I pursued my studies until I earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics. Diploma in hand, I packed my bags and decided to try my luck in Québec. Two months later, I met Isabelle, a Québécois woman from Alma in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region. Today she’s my wife, and she’s given me two beautiful children, Samuel and Julie, who are 26 and 33 years old respectively. A few of my friends sometimes call me by the nickname Momo, and my work colleagues just call me Manori. But I know that behind my back, some of them call me “quick on the draw.” I’m guessing you think I’ve got an itchy trigger finger. ActuallyI never carry a gun, and I’ve never shot anyone. No, my nickname comes from the fact that I always carry a pen and a notepad in the inside pocket of my jacket, and I often pull them out to use them for my investigations. I draw pictures that some people might find a bit strange, but really, they’re just graphs— mathematical objects that I’ve made my specialty, and that I use for my work. Yes, it’s true that I’m quick on the draw. I draw my graphs quickly, and they help me understand the relationships between all the factors in each case. The word “graph” has a number of meanings. For instance, we’ve all had to draw graphs for functions when we were in elementary or high school. Those aren’t the graphs that interest me. The ones I use for my investigations are mathematical objects whose origins date back to the work of Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler at the St. Petersburg Academy in 1735. A graph is a very simple structure that you can build without knowing anything about math. Take a sheet of paper, choose a few spots
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viiiPrologue
and mark them with little circles or the like, and add a few lines between various pairs of spots. The spots you chose, the little circles on your page, are called “vertices,” and the lines you drew to link one vertex to the next are called “edges.” The lines can be straight or curved; the important thing is whether or not there’s a line between two vertices. So, for example, the following drawing is a graph with 29 vertices and 27 edges.
I discovered graphs when I was studying at Neuchâtel, and I madeit my specialization when I did my master’s degree in applied mathematics. This very basic structure, something a five-year-old could draw, is an extremely powerful modelling tool that makes it possible to represent a huge number of everyday life situations in really simple terms. By applying this theory in my investigations, I have sometimes been able to point to the culprit in situations that my colleagues couldn’t manage to figure out. Over and over, I’ve been able to show that it’s totally possible to identify the guilty party just by using a piece of paper, the end of a pencil, and a bit of logic. Right now, I’m on an Air Canada flight, heading to Geneva. I’m going to Switzerland to attend COPS, which is the COngrès international de la Police Scientifique, or international forensic police conference. Every year, forensics officers from all over the world get together to talk about the most recent discoveries and technological advances that can help perfect methods for identifying people and searching for physical evidence at crime scenes. This year, the conference takes place in the charming city of Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, about 35 miles from Geneva. The first COPS conference was in Brussels fifteen years ago, and the forensics office delegated me to go learn about the latest scientific discoveries that might help us in our investigations. I haven’t missed a single one since. Every time, I come back with a ton of new knowledge, and that has proved to be very profitable for our police services. The conference runs from Monday to Wednesday of this week. I decided to arrive in Switzerland on a Sunday morning
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