Economist, mystery author to speak at ACU

Posted September 30, 2015

With Halloween lurking around the corner, Abilene Christian University will host a unique guest who specializes in economics – and mystery.

Dr. Ken Elzinga, the Robert C. Taylor Chair of Economics at the University of Virginia, will speak to business and creative writing students as well as address a special Chapel at 11 a.m. in Chapel on the Hill a day before the spooky holiday. He also will speak at two faculty sessions in the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence at noon and 1:30. A session devoted to mystery writing will convene at 3:30 p.m. in the Administration Building Room 103. It is open to everyone.

“Dr. Elzinga is one of the most talented people I know,” said Dr. Darryl Tippens, ACU’s University Distinguished Scholar of Faith, Learning and Literature. “It’s difficult to categorize this multi-talented man. He is one of America’s great university professors.”

Elzinga has authored more than 110 academic publications but is known for his mystery novels co-authored with William Breit, a late Trinity University professor, under the pen name Marshall Jevons. The two chose their pseudonym by combining the names of Alfred Marshall and William Stanley Jevons, two influential 19th-century economists.

“I wanted a book that taught economics. Bill wanted a book that was a good mystery,” said Elzinga in an interview with UVA Magazine.

The two reached a happy medium and wrote The Mystery of the Invisible Hand, The Fatal Equilibrium, Murder at the Margin and A Deadly Indifference, taking Elzinga’s knowledge of economics and Breit’s knowledge of what makes a good mystery to create a four-book series in which Henry Spearman, based on legendary economist Milton Friedman, utilizes economic theory to solve crime.

Aside from authoring novels and academic publications, Elzinga has received a number of awards for teaching, including the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

Elzinga earned a bachelor of arts and has an honorary doctorate from Kalamazoo College as well as a doctorate from Michigan State University and has been at the University of Virginia since 1967.

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