Review of

**L. A. Math: Romance, Crime and Mathematics in the City of Angels**, by James D. Stein, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2016. 256 pp., $24.95 (hardbound). ISBN 9780691168289.

This is a book
that teachers of mathematics from middle school through college will find
useful. Stein uses the always interesting private investigator context to
present a series of 14 problems in basic mathematics. Each is wrapped within a
reasonable and believable scenario that all people will be able to understand.

As is usually
the case with investigators there is a main character with a sidekick, Freddy
Carmichael is an investigator and Pete Lennox is the sports addicted sidekick
that knows a great deal of mathematics. In general Freddy takes the case, hears
the situation and then Pete asks one or two critical questions and provides the
solution with mathematical justification.

Topics of the
investigations include what is known as the Monty Hall problem, why going up
20% and then down 20% does not get you back to start, why going 40 mph one way
and 60 mph the other way is not an average of 50 mph overall, the consequences
of compound interest, basic game theory and fundamental counting principles. A
small, separate appendix containing additional information about the underlying
mathematics is included for each of the 14 problems.

With the math
within reach and the presentation wrapped in a bit of entertainment, these
problems are both a way to make math learning fun and also a partial answer to
the common question, “What is math used for?”

This book was made available for free for review
purposes

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10559.html

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10559.html

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