Magazine Feature / People

Statistics professor pens ‘whodunits’ after class

When Anthony Hayter teaches his statistics students about the hypothesis theory, he asks them to think of it as a murder trial. The students might think it is out-of-character for Hayter, professor and chair of the Department of Statistics and Operations Technology at DU’s Daniels College of Business, but he is used to murder mystery.

He has published five detective novels all set in the Japanese city of Okayama. Hayter speaks Japanese and writes the stories as if his main character, Inspector Morimoto, is traveling the city in real time.

“The trains in Japan run exactly to the minute,” Hayter says. “It’s perfect for planning the plot for a book because I know exactly how long it will take Mr. Morimoto to make the connections.”

Yumiko Ueyama, who works for the city of Okayama, says Hayter describes the city almost better than she can and he does a great service of describing the Japanese culture to Westerners.

“It’s our honor that Hayter wrote his books about Okayama,” Ueyama says. “It has a great meaning to introduce our city to the world.

Ueyama also say she and her friends are attracted to Hayter’s characters, who seem like real people.

“Inspector Morimoto is not a superman but a middle-aged guy who sometimes tells jokes,” she says. “We, readers are attracted by those lovely characters made by Hayter’s sense of humor.”

Hayter also writes the novels like riddles or puzzles where the reader can figure out the culprit if he or she reads carefully.

“I wanted to respect the reader,” he says. “I wanted to give them a chance to figure it out through plausible, solvable, logical deduction.”

Hayter describes his main character as a kind, soft-spoken man who is bored with routine crime, but loves solving difficult cases. It seems Inspector Morimoto and Hayter have a lot in common.

Born in England, Hayter graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in math and then received his PhD in probability and statistics from Cornell University three years later.

He is well known in his field for proving a statistics method called the Tukey-Kramer conjecture before he graduated from Cornell. According to fellow statistician Tetsuhisa Miwa, who heads the Ecosystem Informatics Division of Japan, it was an impressive discovery and one often used in the field.

Miwa is also a fan of the Morimoto series.

“I like the Morimoto books because the writing style is classical like Sherlock Homes books,” he says. “All the evidence is given to the readers and we can enjoy solving the problem with Morimoto and his assistant Officer Suzuki.”

After college, Hayter quickly moved up in his professional and academic fields and when he felt it became routine, like Morimoto, he began writing fiction.

“It was very enjoyable to explore a different skill,” he says. “I hope the people who read the books like them and appreciate Okayama and the Japanese culture.”

Hayter’s books are written under his pen name Timothy Hemion. It was chosen because Hemion is an anagram (a word rearranging the letters) of his wife’s maiden name and Timothy has the same number of letters as Anthony.  In addition, the pen name keeps his true initials.

Hayter publishes his books through iUniverse and are available for purchase on

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