A collection of famous mathematical puzzles, taken from a popular newspaper column, features the"writings" of the fictional author, Malba Tahan, who describes different mathematical puzzles and solutions applied to real situations.
Puzzle books can be tedious (unless you like that sort of thing), but not this one. First published in Brazil in 1949 by the mathematician Julio de Melo e Sousa (Tahan is the imaginary Arab author he claimed to have translated), it is a series of delightful ``Arabian nights''-style tales, with each story built around a classic mathematical puzzle. The puzzles fit into the stories so naturally that they are a necessary part of the fantasy. The hero is a Persian mathematician and mystic named Beremiz who uses his powers of calculation like a magic wand to amaze and entertain people, settle disputes, find justice and, finally, win the heart of a beautiful princess. Reading the stories is as much fun as trying to solve the puzzles. For adults and children.-- Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll. Lib., Durango, Col.