Marshall Jevons is the pseudonym for the team of William Breit and Kenneth G. Elzinga. The two friends and former faculty colleagues at the University of Virginia teamed up for their first murder mystery in 1978, Murder at the Margin, after Breit mentioned his idea of writing a detective novel with an economist-sleuth to Elzinga. According to Breit, the team “plunged right in,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Murder at the Margin was followed by three more installments in the series, The Fatal Equilibrium (1985), A Deadly Indifference (1995), and The Mystery of the Invisible Hand (2014). Henry Spearman, the protagonist of all four novels, is a Harvard economist who uses economic theory to solve crimes. Both entertaining and educational, Marshall Jevons’ mysteries are regularly used as teaching tools in college-level economics courses.
The penname Marshall Jevons is derived from two nineteenth century economists, Alfred Marshall and William Stanley Jevons. The first mystery, Murder at the Margin, was published without referencing the true identity of its writers. Instead, a fictional biography was created for the author:
Marshall Jevons is the President of UtilMax, Inc., an international consulting firm headquartered in New York City. A former Rhodes Scholar, he holds advanced degrees in economics, biochemistry, and oceanography. Mr. Jevons is an Olympic medal holder in kayaking whose hobbies now include rocketry and the futures market in cocoa beans. He is a native of Virginia but prefers to call ‘home’ the Queen Elizabeth 2. This is Marshall Jevons’ first novel.